Speaking Volume!

26 May 2001

10.00 am - 4.30 pm at The Brunton Hall, Musselburgh.

Witt i Wt ir’ks' it ip pr r it If (ii i into

Anzmrkwfwmwa for writers and readers.

Featuring talks from

Janice Galloway Bernard MacLaverty Alan Spence Judy Moir re ;- i . Shirley Stewart

on how the husiii >ss of writing really virorks.

Tickets are £5 (inc buffet lunch) and are available from the Brunton Theatre Box Office (0131 665 2240) and Library HO on

01620 828 200. East Lothian


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O|4I 429 3838

108 THE LIST 10—24 May 200‘. ricieN JAKE ARNOTT

He Kills Coppers iSceptre EtOi

The feral testimony of Jake Amott's w debut. The Long Fir/n, invented

convict cool and allowed cultural

studies aficronados a vicarious slice of alternative English heritage. Sadly. his

new iio\ el is unliker to do the same.

From its Wincingly natf title

downwards. it smacks of a talent

trying too hard.

Cut-out characters let down

Based on the killing of three unarmed police officers during the suiiiiiiei of England's 1066 World Cup \’|(II()l\,’. the novel attempts a discourse

upon the nature of criminality and causality. identifying various characters

Arnott’s terse writing


Taylor. an ext)er'ieiice-scarred cop; Tom Meehaii, the reporter with a lurid knack for describing gore: Billy Porter, a Malaya veteran now back iii England and examining the ambiguous limits of their actions and acr:ouiitability,

He Kills Coppers utilises these cut-out characters to draw obvious conclusions about institutional corruption and moral relatixity, and the narrative never rises from this grinding. deliberate essay. The novel is occasionally redeemed bx Arnott's terse writing style. He can render action and thought into a series of percussive beats that demonstrate a technical flair which is wasted on such a weak narrative set-up. More often, his lazy tough-talk comes acrt ss as a kind of deliberately casual cockney ventriloguism: Circumstance. Fate billets you where it wants and demobs you without warning. Orders you around the exercise yard

of life.'

Given what we know Ariiott is capable of. do the kindest thing and turn a blind eye to He Kills Coppers. (Bidishal



Stoned (Vintage €7.99) 0...

'He looked at Jagger as Sylvester looks at Tweetie Pie' observed George Melly. 'Oldham was calculatedly VlClOUS. but pretty as a stoat.‘ Of all the twisted characters that hustled for their 'boys‘. Oldham was the closest a manager came to being a pop star in his own right. Or more precisely a film star.

From an early age. the aspiring modernist found boredom could always be allevrated by imagining oneself in a film. Preferably a French New Wave flick in which you had the best clothes. the best girls and the best time. It was a fantasy that Oldham projected onto the Stones with a zeal that turned them from a gang of muso misfits into the biggest and best rock ‘n' roll band of the century. No contest.

Hyperbolic. disturbing. outrageOusly funny, Stoned is a lesson in how a little style and a load of Chutzpah can open all the doors. (Rodger Evans)


A Prayer For Barney Thomson iPiatkus €6.99) 0..

Wanted in connection with 34 murders, Barney Thomson does what any

A Prayer For Barney Thomson

moral man would do: he gives himself up. The police do what any over- worked. under-paid bureaucracy should do: they turn him away. So Barney goes back to what he does best. cutting hair and being mildly depressed in an unremarkable Glasgow suburb.

When more murders hit an increasingly underawed Glasgow. Thomson is the obvrous suspect. Trouble is, he's already on a minibus to

the borders. for a

weekend away wrth Murderers Anonymous and carnage. predictably, ensues. The third outing for Lindsay's cursed even/man and Rangers fan (can he get any unluckier?) sees the return of detectives Mulliolland and Proudfoot. and enough sick jokes to make a seaman spew. The humour is occasionally a

little too broad. but

Lindsay's taste for

wicked banter is

catching, and his characters” pragmatism iii iIl() fzittt2 ()f tlit: grotesque makes this a strangely uplifting novel. (James Smart)


Gary Cooper: American Hero iRobert Hale $3253i .0.

COInCiding With the centenary of Gary Cooper's birth, this hagiographic biography is more enioyable in the margins. Jeffrey Meyers throws in quotes about Cooper ‘being more beautiful than any woman except Garbo'. that the actor had ‘the biggest cock in Hollywood and even claims that he was ‘the greatest actor the screen ever had.’

But it's in the asrles that the book finds the contrariness of its SUbJGCi and the ironies of Hollywood. For the gap between Cooper the private ladykiller and Cooper the icon of integrity in Sergeant York and High Noon became so Wide that he ended up empIOying a public relations firm to the tune of 83000 a month. But at the end of his career rte was aiiowed to pay the seducer in fiiiiis like Love /n The Afternoon when ladies might not have been so keen to have him. (Tony McKibbin)