read. If it's anecdotes you want. Drummond's got them in droves. indeed far too many to mention here. Inevitably there's an element of self-mythologising in 45. something which Drummond acknowledges: revelling in it and being repulsed by it in equal measure.
But the stories are dosed with such self- deprecation that as he stumbles from misadventure to misadventure. you can't help but get sucked into his remarkable and truly insane world.
SHORT STORY COLLECTION
ELSPETH DAVIE The Man Who Wanted To Smell Books (Canongate $28.99) 0...
A man visits the basement of a library to smell old books because reading pages is a sensual experience. with which computer SCreens can never compete. It's a simple image. but one that sums up the spirit of these stories by Elspeth Davie. Her prose is stark. simple, economical, that of a Calvinist. Knoxian Scot. But it also radiates heat. And her narrative attacks life from weird angles. making household objects and everyday experiences shange.
These stories hang on the tension between the old and the new. between nature and technology, romanticism and modernism. They mourn the destruction of forests by urban developers. the replacement of books by computers, the way accumulated possessions can weigh heavin on the psyche.
Tiray shudder at the
impotence of the individual to act against the inevitable onward march of modernity. And they don't forget to cash in on this inevitability. Above all, they make you feel cosy and content.
CRIME DRAMA MINETTE WALTERS
Acid Row (Macmillan $216.99) 000
With her last couple of novels. the prolific Minette Walters has graduated from eerie ‘Big House' whodunnits to grittier works. While her previous yarn featured a racially motivated murder. the plot of Acid Row deals with another up-to-the- minute contemporary conundrum. as an angry mob converge on a paedophile's house in a run-down estate.
Typically. the careful plot construction is the novel‘s strength. The action takes place over the c0urse of a single day. with the focus darting between divergent characters trapped in various stages of the conflict. giving the novel the urgency and excitement of a 70s disaster movie.
Elsewhere. the book suffers from its own ambition. Because of the contentious subject matter. Walters has Created a self-consciously balanced representation of views. meaning that certain characters are mere mouthpieces. Also. crucially, Acid Row lacks a stand-out hero or heroine. which leaves the whole thing looking a bit soulless and clinical. (Allan Radcliffe)
FILM ANIMATION RICHARD WILLIAMS
The Animator‘s Survival Kit (Faber E30 h/b; E20 p/b) 0...
There's something of the dogged need to explain
the animator's craft to fellow animators in Richard Williams' beautifully-produced tome. But fear not. as there‘s also plenty to justify the purchase for lay folk fascinated by the amount of work that goes into producing these kind of films.
You‘ll know exactly why some animation looks sketchy and incomplete or why other animated features show a flexibility missing from the formulaic. Drawing On words of wisdom from such greats as Ken Harris. Art Babbitt and Milt Kahl. you'll find out how these practitioners ‘break joints'. create ‘in- betweens' and work on ‘extremes'.
And in the process you‘ll also discover where animation must be true to life and at what stage it can depart from it. And it's all offered up by a genial master of ceremonies responsible for Charge Of The Light Brigade and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
RA Houston & WWJ Knox eds. The New Penguin History Of Scotland (Al/en Lane E25) Asking and ultimately answering the question: why does Scottish history matter? James Atlas Bel/ow (Faber E 7 6) Affordable paperback of Saul's bumper biog.
Gillian Spraggs Outlaws And Highwaymen (Pim/ico £72.50) Exploring the Cult of the English robber throughout history.
Tim Smit Eden (Bantam £25) The amazing true stOry of land excavation in Cornwall.
Hernando De Soto The Mystery Of Capital (Black Swan 8 7. 99) Discussing why the free market ‘works' in the West and fails miserably everywhere else.
ATLAS NO 1
Dylan Horrocks (Drawn & Quarterly) .00
Like many of his fellow artists. New Zealander Dylan Horrocks is fascinated by the secret origins of cartoonists. Following his Hicksvi/Ie series (see review next issue). Horrocks embarks on a new tale. “Who The Hell Is Emil Kopen?‘. Serialised in Atlas (each issue of which will also feature a guest artist commenting on the world of Hicksvilie). the story begins With a nightmare straight out of the mind Of Franz Kafka. Casting himself as a tOurist in the ironically-named Eastern European state of Cornucopia. Horrocks is arrested and interrogated by the police who want to know why he's interested in the subversive cartoonist Kopen. Intriguing.
DRAWN & QUARTERLY NO 4 Edited by Chris Oliveros (Drawn & Quarterly) 0000
The fourth volume of D&O's multiple award- winning coffee table format anthology of comics and cartooning is international in scope. Among the pen and inked treats Within are ‘The Adventures Of Herge'. a biography of the Belgian creator of
Tintin by the writer- illustrator trio known as Stanislas; Miriam Katin's memoirs of the 1956 Soviet invasion of her native Hungary: and Frenchman Blutch's examination of the sordid history of boxing. 0&0 4 also looks back to Frank King's Sunday newspaper funnies strip “Gasoline Alley'. Oliveros'
selections are guaranteed to enhance your appreciation of cartooning. not least because 0&0 4 is a beautifully produced book. (Miles Fielder)
UH - UNDERWORLD NO 4
Kaz (Fantagraphics) O...
lf Peanuts creator Charles Schultz had been brought up on a trailer park in Utah — calling his Granny ‘Ma' and his mum ‘Sis' and his Grandpappy ‘Charles Manson' — those warm- hearted Snoopy strips would have looked something like this. Junkies. whores and dirty
talking dogs all SCramble from the foetid air of UndenA/or/d. Kaz specialises in the four panel page. which gives his sick comedy an oddly quaint feeling. For the most part this is a darkly funny trip to the bad Side of the tracks. Occasionally. the Jokes cross into the Crumb-like arena of sordid nihilism. Great stuff. (Paul Dale)
THE SURGEON: TIMELINES Edited by Ian Bailey (Rough Cut) 000
The Surgeons are a Super intelligent man-machine hybrid performing gruesome experiments On living human beings as they travel across time. This is a Scottish- produced anthology of three unrelated episodes that involve said creatures. Gory and irreverent. there is a ioy to be found in their naivety and sheer bails; spelling mistakes and poor print quality may put off some but this is part of its charm. like a naughty picture funively handed round at the back of the class. The bloodstained fate of most of the participants are amusing in a similar way to Viz's take on adult humOur particularly the ending of ‘Toby Barstow: Boy Detective'.
I Note to cartooning buffs: local self-publishing comic artist lt/ia/cy Duff is currently exhibiting his work in the Cameo Cinema Bar.
Nicholas Robel’s The Ble
eding Tree, featured in Drawn Ouaterly No 4
15-29 N()\ 200i THE LIST 103