llavana laugh: Kinky Friedman

'1 just got a letter from George Bush,‘ confides the world’s premier Jewish Texan country ‘n’ western singer turned detective writer. 'Ridiculous! l was never a fan of Senior but I like the kid he's quirky.’

When not receiving unsolicited endorsements from Presidents former and current (Clinton is a big admirer as is Nelson Mandela), Richard 'Kinky Big Dick‘ Friedman smokes the finest in Cuban cigars and fantasizes about who might play his own character come the inevitable Hollywoodisation of his books. The self-styled 'cult fuck' currently favours Lionel Richie but Meryl Streep is another unlikely candidate.

It’s purely a smoke-screen of course. On a recent visit to the White House the Kinkster presented President Clinton with a most ironic gift: a Havana stogie. Slick's thoughts on the matter go unrecorded but Kinky’s words are, as ever, priceless.

'I said: " Remember Mr President, we're not supporting their economy, we're burning their fields".' (Rodger Evans)

I Kinky Friedman (Spiege/nights) Spiege/tent, 20 Aug, 9pm, £7 (£5); Dead Funny: The Art Of Comic Crime (Crime) Gap Studio Theatre, 21 Aug, 1.30pm, £5 3). See Freeloaders, page 17.


A.L. Kennedy

Breakfast with A.L. Kennedy could be an unpredictable affair. She might put salt in your coffee or serve you something that was still alive, just to see your reaction. It's all about the unexpected; the prolific novelist, short story writer, playwright and screenwriter is a mistress not of

fashionable shock tactics, but of genuine surprises. Her turns of phrase wrongfoot you, to charming or menacing effect; her characters are brittle, contrary, eccentric.

50 [Am Glad constructed an improbable love affair between an embittered voice-over artiste and a ghost; Original Bliss married pornography addiction, true romance and self-help books; her latest novel Everything You Need did incest and isolation, grace and grief.

In her events, she will be discussing the global village and communications' networks, read from the work that has established her as one of the most vibrant and original contemporary writers and chat about the art of confessional writing in literature and the media. (Hannah McGill)

I Globalisation: The New Colonialism (Cultural ID) Post Office Theatre, 23 Aug, 7.30pm, £7 (£5); A.L. Kennedy (Scottish Writers For Breakfast) Spiege/tent, 25 Aug, 10.30am, £6 (£4); From Autobiography To Confession (Culture Wars) Spiegeltent, 25 Aug. 4pm, £6 (£4).


Arrogant Asshole? Artistic Ability? Just what does it stand for? If you favour the former, you will no doubt be aching to hear that A.A. Gill's latest novel is a pile of old cack. Sorry to disappoint folks, but he really does have the latter. Starcrossed is an intelligent, witty, good-old-fashioned tragic romance, complete with deception, missed opportunities and the heavy hand of fate. Oh, and a ZOOO-year-old Greek heroine.

John Dart, bookshop assistant and failed poet, finds himself in bed one morning with Hollywood superstar Lee Montana. Against the odds, they embark on a full-time affair which, after a promising start, begins to falter when, in an effort to conquer the theatrical world, she accepts the role of Antigone, a decision which has dire consequences.

Gill successfully takes the elements of ancient Greek tragedy and combines them with those of modern satire to create a highly original and thoughtful novel. (Kirsty Knaggs)

I A.A. Gill (Fiction) Gap Studio Theatre. 25 Aug, noon, £5 (£3).


Freedom is a big thing for Earl Lovelace. In his Commonwealth Writers Award-winning novel Salt, he writes of Trinidad, the country of his birth, and the harsh reality that exists between landowner and slave. Yet, beneath the oppression, there is some hope: ’the sky, the sea, every green leaf and tangle of vines sing freedom.‘ Little surprise then that he should be using his visit to Edinburgh to speak out against the threat of new oppressions in Globalisation: The New

Colonialism. Have we fought against, and largely beaten, the old tyrannies (think of Berlin and Soweto) only to abandon it all for the new dangers posed by rampant commercialism? Lovelace has spent much of his life in Trinidad and Tobago but has had experience of these shores as Writer in Residence for the London Arts Board. It’s all worked out rather well for the man who started off working life as a forest ranger. (Brian Donaldson) I International Writers On Democracy (Cultural ID) Post Office Theatre, 20 Aug, 1pm, £6 (£4); Earl Lovelace (Bigger Picture) Gap Studio Theatre, 22 Aug, 3.30pm, £5 (£3); Globalisation: The New Colonialism (Cultural ID) Post Office Theatre, 23 Aug, 7. 30pm. £7 (£5).


The struggle between good and evil is a battleground much trodden by writers throughout the ages. But not many contemporary authors will have placed this fight in the historical context of the Court of Denmark in the 16205. Still, this is the ambitious setting for Rose Tremain’s forthcoming novel Music And Silence.

Then again, Tremain has previously shown herself unafraid to dip into the past to search for meaning in the present. The Norfolk-based author is perhaps best known for Restoration, her Booker-shortlisted novel set in another Court that of Charles II. The book was turned into a film in 1996 and told the tale of one man torn between the delights of knowledge, wealth and the flesh.

Tremain's work in short stories and novels has been translated into fourteen languages with the French, in particular, suckers for her modern slants on the past. (Brian Donaldson) I Rose Tremain (Meet The Author) Post Office Theatre, 23 Aug, 11.30am, £6 (£4).

POST OFFICE LITERARY LECTURE Edwin Morgan While it is the likes of young

whippersnappers such as Irvine Welsh, A.L. Kennedy and Alan Warner who


grab the headlines when it comes to hot Scottish literary action, they will undoubtedly pass on grudging acknowledgement to Edwin Morgan for the position of Scottish literature in the world.

Renowned poet, translator and commentator, 79-year-old Morgan will deliver this year's prestigious Post Office Literary Lecture on that very same theme. At this time of great change for Scotland, Morgan will argue that looking outwards, as well as within, is crucial for the country’s future development. In that context, Morgan will deliver his lecture on the place of Scottish literature from an international perspective and vice versa.

And maybe he'll squeeze in a plug or two for his new book of poetry from Mariscat Press, entitled Demon. (Brian Donaldson)

I Edwin Morgan On Scotland And The World (Post Office Literary Lecture) Post Office Theatre, 25 Aug, 7. 30pm, £ 7 (£5).

KIDS ROUND-UP Events For Children

The biggest name this week is Shirley Hughes, whose Alfie stories and books of illustrated poems so precisely capture the innocent spirit and wonder of childhood. This magnificent 72-year- old will be talking about how she brings a book together in a session decidedly not for little tots (21 Aug). Fay Presto will be revealing the tricks of her trade in Magic For Kids (21 Aug) while, on the subject of illustrations and illusions, the pop-up king Robert Crowther uncovers the intricacies of paper engineering in an interactive workshop (19 Aug). David Almond explains how the mysterious idea of Ske/Iig, his award-winning book for 11 to 13-year-olds, came to him (25 Aug). Other treasures include Ebele’s Favourite Games, a way of changing negative perceptions of Africa by delving into its heritage and culture (25 Aug); and the enchanting rock pool adventure of Rory And His Shooting Star for wee ones (19 Aug). (Gabe Stewart) . Events For Children, various venues. until 30 Aug.



Author SIgnIngs


on Saturday let August at 3.30pm


on Monday 23rd August at 1.00pm For details or to reserve signed copies contact; Ottakar’s Bookshqg CAMERON Ton. SHOPPING CENTRE 6 LADY RoAI) EDINBURGH EH16 SPB TF1: (0131) 666 1866

19—26 Aug 1999 TIIE U81 81