|The Early Days of a Better Nation|
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
A couple of weeks ago I went along to The Golden Hour, the monthly poetry evening at The Forest Cafe, where I heard an electrifying performance from Kei Miller and passed out Human Genre Project bookmarks so strategically that Allan Gillis said it was like getting an invitation to join a cult. I have no shame. On the way over I'd handed one bookmark to a young woman with glasses and a book-bag, and walked off quickly to let her get on with lighting her cigarette. I can spot those intellectuals a mile away.
She turned out to be Peggy Hughes, of the Scottish Poetry Library and West Port Book Festival - I met her again at (well, outside) the Wash Bar on the Mound, venue of the July City of Literature Trust salon, along with her boyfriend Colin Fraser (who is currently hosting a Twitter conversation between the Edinburgh monuments of Burns, Darwin, Hume and others). This particular salon was focused on SF and fantasy, with Scottish fantasy writer Ricardo Pinto as mystery guest, and a very creditable turn-out by the Edinburgh SF mob. I handed out bookmarks to everyone I knew and many I didn't. Stuart Kelly, Literary Editor of Scotland on Sunday, spoke briefly about how SF and fantasy were integral to Scottish and particularly Edinburgh literature.
This month sees the Scottish fantastic variously represented at ongoing fringe events:
Alba ad Astra, an exhibition and book of Scotland's forgotten space programme.
The West Port Book Festival.
The Edinburgh Book Fringe.
Underword - 'Three weeks of subterranean spoken word'.
I'll be the one handing out the black, white and red bookmarks.