Barry Graham the Scrivener

BarryGrahamAuthor

The Woodside Inn, Glasgow, seen from outside at night

I fired a shotgun twenty years ago. The ricochet hit me today.

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(from Get Out As Early As You Can)

All I had to do was cut his face.

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(from Scumbo: Tales of Love, Sex and Death)

I know people who like being at home when it’s raining. Sitting in front of a fire, dry and warm as the rain throws itself against the windows in spiteful frustration.

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Drawing of old woman in chair knitting

Tam was always afraid of ghosts, but he didn’t want to hide from them.

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(from Scumbo: Tales of Love, Sex and Death)

“I don’t know

How it’s going to end

But I hope that we

Can meet again”

—Shonen Knife

I waited outside the theatre, but they didn’t show up. I was a few minutes late, but I’d have expected Andy to wait for me. It would be at least another thirty minutes before the movie started. Maybe Leanne had gotten impatient and dragged him inside.

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I don’t use Ggl, or any of its products, so I wasn’t aware — until a friend gleefully emailed to tell me — that it describes me as a “British author.”

I’m a hard person to insult. There’s not much you can say about me that would bother me, but this one infuriates me. I don’t accept there is a nation called Britain. I’m Scottish, not British. The fact that Scotland is colonised by England, under the aliases “Great Britain” or “the UK,” doesn’t make me British. I reject all “British” authority, and, though not a nationalist, I’m an active member of the SNP. While I have no grudge against English people, or any other people based on their citizenship, I loathe England/Britain as a political/cultural entity, and resent being mentioned in the same sentence as it, never mind identified with it. My only interest in “Britain” is in helping Scotland separate from it.

One more reason you can’t trust Ggl.

#britishimperialism #scottishnotbritish #scottishindependence #nationalidentity #barrygrahamauthor

—Barry Graham

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Bob Dylan

“Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re trying to be so quiet?

We sit here stranded, though we’re all doing our best to deny it”

—Bob Dylan

“A strange young man called Dylan with a voice like sand and glue”

—David Bowie

For a few weeks in the summer of 1988, in a bedsit on Woodlands Road, Glasgow, I spent my nights hacking at a manual typewriter, writing a horror novel, which would be published by Bloomsbury the following year. While writing, I listened to one album on repeat: Desire by Bob Dylan. One song in particular, “Isis,” affected me profoundly with its line, “I came to a high place of darkness and light,” so much so that I used the last four words of it for the book’s title.

I was 22, and had been under Dylan’s spell for about three years. That spell has still not been broken. I’m one of many writers who applauded when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and I can’t imagine my poetic or intellectual landscapes without him. There’s nothing I can say about him that hasn’t been said already, and better, by others, so today, on his 80th birthday, I’ll just say I’m grateful.

#bobdylan #music #poetry #barrygrahamauthor

—Barry Graham

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