Hello faithful fans and followers,
Book Week Scotland was glorious, but I’m absolutely shattered. I started off at Coltness HS in Motherwell, where I was recognised by Jordan Linden, who is a Youth Minister for the Scottish Parliament. He has vowed to protect funding for the Catalyst Book Award, but I hope he uses his power to protect libraries and school librarians everywhere. He spotted me at the train station in Motherwell – it was my understated Louis Vuitton bag which gave me away! I reached Coltness HS thanks to the fabulous librarian Mrs Leckie and I met up with a gang of cool teens, one of whom read Endless Empress and loved it. Thank God. I don’t know how my ego would react to meeting people who hated my book. I might faint in horror. I used this gig to test Unicorn Of Doom, which is the name of my new book tour. I’m very fond of Coltness HS because it was the first school gig I ever performed, which was April last year…I think…and so I thought it would be nice to start again at that school library for #BookWeekScotland.
Later I travelled to Airdrie Library for another performance of Unicorn Of Doom, and then it was back home to rest and watch Batman. The 60s TV series is such a joy. I swear I never ever noticed Caesar Romero’s painted moustache as a kid. Honestly I didn’t!
Then it was Wester Hailes Education Centre, which is in Edinburgh. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Edinburgh recently, because I concentrated so hard on North Lanarkshire as a result of my Catalyst Book Award nomination, and I feel I neglected other areas of the country. So the last few months have seen me clustered in Edinburgh: word of mouth has spread – the librarians are a close knit community, which I didn’t realise, but they’ve all done so much to help me. I love school librarians. They should not be replaced by volunteers. Such a thing would be a disaster. You do not want to go into a library which runs a terribly amateurish service, and that’s what volunteers will give you.
I was warned that Wester Hailes would not be for me, that my subtle sartorial style would go down very badly with the locals. I responded by dressing in my faux fur coat, toting my Louis Vuitton and Kurt Cobain lunchbox. I ended up asking for directions and I managed to reach my destination. The gig was FANTASTIC. We all had a great time, and do you know what? Never, ever listen to people when they tell you that something won’t work. “Oh don’t go to that place, they won’t get your humour…” etc. People appreciate good stories well told no matter where you go. And weirdly enough, Wester Hailes reminded me of home, that is Cumbernauld where I came from. I was raised by wolves, motherf**kers! I loved it. The librarian was fabulous too and the atmosphere was lovely. Malorie Blackman doesn’t know what she missed!
After Wester Hailes I shot through to Glasgow and Waterstones Argyle Street for a Publishing Scotland panel. A select group met up with me, Keith Charters, Alana The Bookseller, and Lindsey Fraser. I wore gold sequins on my head. Then I was dined by my publisher, which was nice. The Shenaz does lovely chips too. Then next day came Dundee. God, I was up too early. I suffer from insomnia so I end up looking like a deranged panda lord when I don’t sleep; at one point I seemingly mumbled, “I thought you were the prawn cocktail,” during a half-sleep.
Then came Dundee. Four shows. Two school libraries and a public library. “I’m so glad you picked me up,” I said to the librarian who came to fetch me. It turns out the phrase “picked me up” has strange connotations out in Dundee. I ended up in Morgan Academy:
And then I was taken to Harris Academy, which was a laugh and a half. But the real mission came when I decided to track down the world famous Groucho’s Record Shop! And eventually…I found it.
I also made a detour into Waterstones Dundee to sign a copy of my new book, so if you’re in Dundee and you want to buy it, please don’t forge my signature for Wine Of The Year contests or loans.
The panel at Dundee Library consisted of Keith Charters, Emily Dodd and Kathryn Ross AKA Agent Kathryn.
And while they were holding serious discussions about the publishing industry, I was posing:
It was a nice night and my publisher dined me again afterwards, this time at a nice Italian place. I loved Dundee so much I did a little dance on the carpet when a nice librarian asked me to come back for a gig. It was a good dance, which consisted of rolling around on the spot screaming: “THE POWER IS MINE!!!”
Friday was the last day of Book Week Scotland for me. But I ended it at The Mitchell Library, and here I am performing How I Became Kirkland Ciccone, which is my bitchy autobiographical book show I tour around school libraries/theatres/bookshops.
And now I’m here typing away madly, wishing 2015 would come quickly so I can do it all again.
But wait! World Book Day is happening in a few months! And there’s much more to come.