Saturday 30 July 2011

Drive! - Soon Available On Kindle

Soon available on Kindle - Drive! by Andrew McCallum Crawford.

"Drive! - packed with incidents which develop as the story unfolds...the great achievement of the book is its depiction of the pub and club-centric music scene in Edinburgh in the 80s...anyone who was there is sure be enthralled by this fascinating debut novel." --The Skinny, December 2010

Andrew McCallum Crawford's short stories have been published in places as diverse as Ink Sweat and Tears, McStorytellers, Weaponizer, New Linear Perspectives, Spilling Ink Review, Drey 2 (Red Squirrel Press), The Legendary and the Midwest Literary Magazine. Drive!, his first full-length novel, is set in a 1980s Edinburgh full of errant sons, unforgiving fathers and deluded rock musicians. For those who like their humour Scottish.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Advice For Aspiring Writers From Slim Scotchboy, Hero

Mr Scotchboy had been invited to the Writers’ Group to critique their short stories. Andrew had him down as a total charlatan. The use of different typefaces within the covers of the same novel was something that Andrew could stand, almost. Slim Scotchboy was wont to use four different typefaces within the confines of the same word, even if that word contained only four letters. Especially if that word contained only four letters, Andrew mused. Complete wank, as Slim might have put it. Though not in reference to his own work, of course.
‘When ye’re writing a short story,’ Slim instructed them, ‘keep it flowing. There’s no time for flashbacks. Ye start at a point in the past and tell the story. Here’s an example. It’s from, eh...’ He tried to get to grips with a large piece of cardboard on the table. One of Colm Beattie’s storyboards. Colm was trying to break into scriptwriting for Thunderbirds, bravely choosing to ignore the fact that they had stopped making the show in the late 60s. Slim scanned the front of the board, and tried to turn it over, but it was too cumbersome. He read the first line of bumf.

‘ “Lady Penelope was sitting in the back of her chauffeur driven limousine. She had just come out of the hairdresser’s.” .’

All eyes on Colm, whose face was pink.
Slim cackled. ‘I mean, come on, people, why not just begin with “She came out of the hairdresser’s and got into the car”?’
Like everyone else, Colm was taking notes. His pencil, however, was in danger of going through his jotter and leaving scratch marks on the table.
‘Look, everybody,’ said Slim. This caused an outbreak of fidgeting. Slim Scotchboy was the hottest thing in Scottish fiction, and when he said ‘Look!’, it was a very foolish scribbler indeed whose eyes, head and neck didn’t start jigging round the room to find it. The guru was about to impart Wisdom. This unconditional respect was something that Andrew found sickening. Their awe for The Scotchboy spawned merely from the fact that some hipster in London had chosen to flood the market with paperback versions of the drivel he churned out. Nothing more.
Slim inhaled deeply. ‘Avoid the pluperfect,’ he said.
There was a hiss as the massed pencils skidded to a halt, accompanied by a grating noise; someone had hit wood. People were leaning over, looking at their neighbours’ notes. God, thought Andrew. What a performance. Slim, it had to be said, was playing a blinder. They were lapping him up. Andrew coughed. ‘Pure pish,’ he said. Gasps. Colm Beattie managed a wee grin. ‘Mr Scotchboy,’ Andrew continued. ‘You didn’t come all the way from Glasgow to give us a grammar lesson, did you?’

Tuesday 26 July 2011

from Slim Scotchboy, Hero

‘Ye working?’ said Slim.
‘Aye,’ Dug trembled. ‘I’m teaching in a Primary School.’
‘So ye’ve been to Uni, then?’
Dug hesitated. How would the information about his halcyon University days sit with someone who had carved out a semi-autobiographical niche in tales of rock concert-goers and drug-taking tramps? ‘Aye,’ he said, eventually. ‘The University of Scotland. Philosophy.’
‘That right?’ said Slim. ‘I was there, too. Contemporary Scottish Literature.’ He sniffed. ‘First Class Honours, like.’
There was a crash as the barman fumbled a wet beer glass, though it could just as easily have been the sound of Dug’s illusion shattering. Andrew was surprised, too. And more than a little delighted.
‘What?’ said Slim. ‘D’ye no think that squares with yarns about sleeping rough?’
Dug picked up his glass. He didn’t drink anything. He laid it heavily on the table and stared at it.
‘Oh, here we go,’ said Slim. He yawned, and looked at his watch. ‘Ye know how many times I’ve had this conversation? It’s a pain in the slats. I’ll put it this way. There’s a grain of truth in the fiction, right? ‘Grain’ being a measure of something really small. And fiction being, well, fiction.’
‘I sense disappointment radiating in waves,’ said Andrew.
‘Anyway,’ said Slim, and slapped his palms on his knees. ‘That’s me. Got to get back up the road.’ Deirdre Boyce approached the table and handed him a wee brown envelope.
‘That’ll be your bus fare,’ Dug pouted.
‘Aye,’ said Slim. ‘Beats putting the bite on cunts outside supermarkets, eh? Nice meeting ye, Andrew. Come through the Third Eye next week, I’m doing a thing with Jimmy Kelman and Norman MacCaig. Should be good.’
‘I’ll check my diary,’ said Andrew.
Slim scouted the bar for autograph hunters. Someone at Deirdre’s table waved to him. He was there in a flash.

Sunday 24 July 2011

A Wee Fiction: Walter's Therapy

Walter’s therapy consisted of twice-daily ritual humiliation in four inches of lukewarm water that Nurse Buckle had measured out with her truncheon; there were special notches cut into it. There was no verbal or physical abuse per se. There was no need. Lying bollock naked in a leather sling with a woman standing over him licking her lips was more than enough to bring him back to his senses. He enjoyed going up and down on the wee crane, though, but kept it to himself.
They kicked him out after a week, on the Friday morning, after his usual soak.
‘Do I not get to dry off?’ he said.
The door crashed shut in his face. Nurse Buckle blew him a silent kiss through the window.

Sunday 17 July 2011

A Wee Poem: Social Intercourse

Social Intercourse

Her name is Susie.
'I'm from Manchester,' she says,
her top lip trembling;
she's hoping she can get away with it.

Her accent is pure
Moscow, or
Kiev, or

'Which part?' I say,
like the bastard I am.
The quivering stops -
she's up for the challenge.
'Near the trains,' she says.

I let it go, even though
no one else at the table
speaks English.

The Joy Of Screech

It starts, as everything starts, with the anticipation. In your mind, you’re going over the procedure: your entrance to the Caff, your seat in the corner, the slight delay while yer man arranges things just so. Then it’s for real. The chilled bottle sweats on the table, the contents the colour of flat lager. Next to it, the other bottle, squat, the one with the bubbles.
You do the magic.
You drink nothing until you’ve written 500 words.
You are counting.
Then it’s time.
It smells of old violins and warm, drunken nights in Thessaloniki.
The first sip.
Savour it.
After that, it’s flowing. Does the alcohol loosen things up? Perhaps it does. But there will be plenty of time for revisions, and sobriety, tomorrow. What is important now is to get the words down, it doesn’t matter how good they are, in fact they probably won’t be any good at all, but it’s the getting them down that matters.
I call it Screech. It’s an acquired taste. However, I feel there will soon be a parting of the ways. It’s turned into a habit.

Friday 15 July 2011

A Wee Poem: Daddy

He hoisted the bike
through the windscreen.

It was his bike, but
it wasn't his car,
even though his daughter
was in it.

Tuesday 12 July 2011


He stares at the floor. The tins are at his feet, Tennent's Lager, two of them, bound together in their plastic collar. A tear rolls down his face and is lost in the jagged pile of the carpet. Everything is suddenly a mess; finished. He has to do it. The next thing he knows he is in her corridor, like he's walking on water. His heart is thudding. He knocks on the door. Silence. Blood pumps through his chest. He is still alive. More than alive. He wants everything to be fine, to be like it was, to be like it should. He knocks again, even though it's clear she isn't there. He wedges a note into the wood, something to do with his past - hopefully, she won't think he's dragging things up. He feels like a criminal. He leaves quickly, the tins of beer gripped in his hand.

Monday 11 July 2011

The Reverend Kinlochleven Debates Theology With Plato

Here's a bit of Drive! Just for the record, the bar they're in may or may not be found down the Cowgate in Edinburgh.


Saturday 9 July 2011

A Wee Poem: Google maps street view

Google maps street view

I'm standing outside your window.
Not your now window -
your now window
doesn't exist
for me.
I'm standing outside your window
back then.
Your then window,
even though it's a recent photograph.

There's a light on in your room.

It's easy to kid myself.

I'm standing outside your window,
stalking my past.