I ran into Tam today. I hadn't realised until recently he lived just a block or so from me. Exactly what Tam does I've never quite been able to discern, but he seems to own about five houses scattered around the city. When I first met him through a friend in the early '90's, he looked either like a roadie for the Rolling Stones or a particularly glamorous mugger. Nowadays, he looks like a middle-aged bicycle courier minus the bicycle. He's a very nice chap, but I still can't make out half of what he says, as he has a particular brand of Glasgow accent which is at times a little impenetrable.
The Glasgow West End Festival featured a live Saturday night performance a couple of weekends ago in the Botanic Gardens by Belle & Sebastian. I was in the area during the afternoon and saw the same thing I always seem to see performing at these things - a group of forty or so women bashing away at enormous drums with more enthusiasm than skill. I could go to Alaska, and I'd probably find them performing on an iceberg. Wherever I go, there they are. But I didn't stick around for B&S, having already enjoyed the experience at the Barrowlands a few years before during my days as a reviewer and designer for a music magazine and not being particularly blown away by what I regard as rather over-mannered fey whimsicality.
ALl of which brings me round to meeting Tam later that evening in a bar I have been known to frequent with other writers. He'd been in the park watching the band, and happened to drop in with some friends of his without realising I would be there. I mentioned I lived near him. He said something like 'Ayethasgoodnlldroproonsumtimnseewhatyruptonall' and I said, great.
So he dropped round this afternoon to ask me to give him a hand working a couple of Ikea wardrobes out of his van and into his flat. His flat is legendary, and I'd never seen it before. The front door is hidden behind a vast metal security grille that wouldn't look out of place in Escape from New York. Inside, is a dentist's chair next to the phone, all buried under tons of musty junk. Three thousand moldering copies of 2000AD are piled up on a ledge above the entrance.
In the living room is a Suzuki motorbike, a guitar, a settee dating from the early 80's, and the skull of a Water Buffalo. I learned today that Water Buffalo have very big heads. I was slightly disappointed, since Tam is in the process of doing the place up in order to rent it: I'd heard skulls of various types used to be everywhere in his home, mounted on small custom shelves around the hallway. Still, as skulls go, it was pretty impressive.
I got my first review. It was in a small publication called 'Outland', which is produced by Ottakars bookshops for their branches. In this respect its a slightly loaded review in that they're hardly going to sabotage their chances of selling the book if their reviewer happens to hate it, but at the same time it read like an honest review in that the review - similar to all the other reviews - came across as fair and balanced, rather than false and gushing in order to boost sales. Still. I liked what they wrote well enough to slap a brief quote up here, which you'll see to your right.
Last weekend I also enjoyed the annual Phil Raines and Craig Marnock joint birthday bash. As always it's an affair with an element of dressing up, and as always I turn up looking exactly as I would on any average Saturday night. I hate dressing up. It's just a thing. Still: excellent party.