The Early Days of a Better Nation

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The One O'Clock Gun Anthology

The One O'Clock Gun is a familiar fixture of the Edinburgh scene, more regular than clockwork, but that doesn't stop it now and again making visitors to the capital jump out of their skins when they come across it in the pub. I refer, of course, to the free quarterly A2 broadsheet, ingeniously folded, charmingly illustrated (by the internationally renowned artist Lucy McKenzie) and minutely printed. It always made a diverting read on the bus or train home, and for all the days afterwards it took to finish it.

The house style was mannered, sometimes to the point of archness, but the style and substance of the contributions ranged widely, and the contributors came to include many famous names. Now there's an anthology, handsomely produced, of the Gun's first four years (2004 - 2008), from Leamington Books. Readers will differ on which item or items - from obituaries to squibs via short stories and poems - make it worth the tenner, but most will agree that some significant subset does. This is a collection for dipping into and sampling according to mood, like the single malts in a well-stocked bar.

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