Scottish Book Special

When Stuart met Luke

I Used to be comedians who side-stepped the day

job to churn out novels by the shedload. Now two

ot‘ Scotland‘s most eclectic and exciting musical talents are kick-starting their own bandwagon with literary stabs which are cutting rug alongside the \Varncrs. Welshes and Kennedy's ot' the world.

l.uke Sutlicrland‘s debut novel .lel/y Rn/l l‘ollowed a _ia// band touring the l'ls'. vividly and violently depicting the characters and collisions that a life on the road entails. The book was shortlisted for the \Vliitbi‘cad l’irst .\'ovel Award and his t'ollow-up .S'ii‘t't'mit'ul takes a diverse switch with a tale about mythological symbolism and erotic t'airytclling abounding in a London restaurant.

Stuart David broke his literary hymen with Milt/u .S'iii'il. a Salinger—csque story of alienation within the mind iii a disturbed young man. His second novel. The l)(’(l('()('/\ .lliuii/t'sm. is about a (ilaswegian trying to escape to America and shed his criminal past. only to tall l‘urther into crises ridden with hilarity. disaster and mayhem.

We tied the pair down to their keyboards and got them corresponding about Stephen King. (ilen (‘ampbell and parties in Perth.

The List Have the two of you met? If so, in what circumstances were you introduced?

Stuart David I‘m not sure it we've met. but I saw you

play in Nice ‘n‘ Sleazy"s. Luke Sutherland I saw ,5 Belle & Sebastian play in 5 Perth a good few years ago now. I guess you were still with them at that point. But the only mem- hers I knew a were Richard. a. Mick and the other Stuart. As

N “I


‘Sometimes I see Catcher In The Rye in someone's house and l read the first few sentences. Then I have to read the whole thing again.’

Stuart David



tar as I remember. we weren‘t introduced.

SO I was playing with Belle & Sebastian at that l’crth gig. yes. I remember there was a party at Richard‘s sislet"s afterwards. Were you at that'.’ Richard told tis there would be room for its all to sleep there afterwards. but he lied. There was room tor eyei'yone except me and Stuart. We had to sleep otit in the van on the street. and I think someone tried to break into it during the night.

TL If you had to choose between making music and writing books, what would it be? And why? SD Do you get asked this question ol‘ten‘.’ I get asked it quite a lot. l'sually I say I‘d choose music. ‘causc I started on. doing music when l was fifteen. and didn‘t start writing 'til I was twenty. so I‘ve always thought ol‘ myself more as being a songwriter.

LS I do get asked this question a lot. The circumstances would have to be pretty e\ti'eme bel‘oi'e I‘d choose . . . thumbscrews. guns. acid baths. etc. .\s tar as the practicalities go. I‘d have to opt for music. Being such a solitary occupation. I sometimes lind writing literally maddening. (’onversely. music- making for me. has always been a collaborative process. And I love playing with dil'l‘ei'ent people. Having said that. while I'm writing. I tend to become much more immersed in/al'l'ected by the work at hand. whereas 1‘” reap the hill emotional benelit ol a piece ol‘ music once it’s linished. With regards to the work ol others. the lirst few notes of a track can be enough to get me screaming with delight. while a book might take me a few chapters. |)il‘l‘erent pleasures. but each with equal clout. I guess I'd have to go for the guns and thumbscrews . . .

SD In a lot of ways I prefer the solitude ol' writing to the collaboration of music. But I ol‘ten work on music alone too. I do like that you meet so many people by playing music though. I think you could just be a writer and never meet a single soul through it. Btit when I was fifteen or so I played a few songs at my cousin's party in this pub somewhere. and alterwards one ol‘ his old aunts said to me. Because you can play music you’ll never be lonely”. Which has been true. You meet a great deal of people.

TL When you were writing your latest books, what music were you listening to for inspiration?

SD l was listening to (ilen (‘ampbell because that's what the character is into. I listened to a lot ol‘ (ills and 70s TV themes too. and James Bond music. And Kelis.

LS (ilen Campbell. A man of means. ()ne oi those responsible for dragging country music into the mainstream without compromising his roots or integrity. Already I‘m wondering what this character

Who Manda Scott What No Good Deed Tell me more With hm ' year-old boy after an undercover operation goes ll()rl|l)l/ wrong, t‘.-’:’ Who Christopher Brookniyre What A Big Boy Did It And Ran A's/ii. change of tack for his Sixth book. He says of the hotl; €tllil’.ll;€ii‘:’l characters from my preVious novels. but hey. it's got an exploding z... Who Campbell Armstrong What The Bad Fire Tell me more Ar.“ appear on the surface. The author of the hlgiily-aCClallli(:(l Jig illlb’}, Who James Kelman What Translated Accounts Tell me more of his 1994 Booker-Winning novel How Late /t Was. How Late. Sr," ' from what appear to be translated political documents. Published