Thursday, 20 October 2011

Addendum: "Dead Air", Or: Why It's Not Quite Shite Being Scottish

Almost forgot! (Two posts in one day; aren't you lucky!)

So, I finished "Dead Air" today. I have to say, I was impressed. I've read other reviews that weren't so taken with it, but honestly? I loved it. It follows the trials and tribulations of Ken Nott, Scottish radio DJ and shock jock in London. It follows in the wake of 9/11, which doesn't add to the plot so much as provide a background. Life goes on, even in the developing paranoia and political correctness that was ushered in by the fall of the Towers.

I got this book, along with "Walking on Glass" and "The Steep Approach to Garbadale" from the British Heart Foundation. Now, I'll admit; this was not idle charity. I have a sickness. If I finish a book and have no other book to read, I will buy one- if it is within my means to do so. BHF lies right between my work and the Subway where I get my lunch, so if I finish a book before lunch...Bam; lunch-break buying session. This I couldn't resist though. I'm a huge Iain Banks fan, both with and without the M. I've slowly been building a Mless collection to accompany the fact that I own all of his M books (And have read all of them except Feersum Endjinn). I finished the thing in two days; flew through it on trains and lunch breaks and tea breaks and...You get the picture. My job allows me a good amount of time to read in transit, or waiting to start or in between busy work.

It helps that I agree with a ton of Nott's (and by shredded passport thin author-avatarness those of Banks) views on a lot of political things- dated as they are. I think the datedness helps to put things in perspective. Hindsight being 20-20 and all that. It's a bit like how you understand the emerging shape of the 21st century (one of them at least) in reading Banks' "Transition", the idea of the end of the 20th century being shadowed between the fall of the Wall and the fall of the Towers, and how that affects everything afterwards.

And now to clarify the headline. Part of what I loved about the book was how relatable it is for a Scottish reader. From little things like football, to language and banter; it made me feel a bit at home. (The last page even mentions Renfield Street, which I've crossed- though to the best of my knowledge not holding hands in the rain). It also plays into all the good things that happen to Nott (plenty of bad happens too, but the man has some run of luck with women.)

Trainspotting, it seems, is wrong; though some countrymen reminded me of that point when I quoted at a security guard with a Transpotting t shirt at Sonisphere;

It's not always shite being Scottish.

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