All week Edinburgh has been celebrating our favourite bard Robbie Burns. Whenever I see him listed as bard, my mind drifts to D&D, damn you decades of roleplaying. He would be a pretty epic level one though by game standards.
I snapped a few pics in passing, it is giving the whole place a vibe I really like. I walk up through Rose Street every day and all this week the dozens of businesses, pubs and restaurants that line it have been putting up the red, red rose logo. Really nice and something I haven’t seen before in all my years living here.
On the pavements too
Tourist season is pretty much over now in Edinburgh, New Year is well and truly passed and the Fringe drama and comedy festival hasn’t started yet, so this is something done by locals for locals. Tourism is a massive part of the Scottish economy, I say roll out the red carpet for them but at the same time we shouldn’t forget the people who live here and this was really for them.
Robbie Burns, like a lot of national characters, has been dragged into the independence debate. Robert the Bruce has a descendent, alive and well today and still owning considerable land, who said he was voting to stay in the Union and that his ancestor would be proud. Sean Connery essentially said it was Scotland’s destiny to be independent (even though he lives in a mansion in California…). Stephen Hawking wrote an open letter begging the Scots to reject independence and how the union was good for science on both sides. Famous historian Tom Devine was pro independence, equally popular historian Neil Oliver was totally against it. Stand up comedian Kevin Bridges was for separatism whereas Billy Connolly was against it. So yeah, everyone famous, alive or dead, seems to get dragged into this and old Robbie Burns is no exception.
Whether unionist or separatist though I think we can all put politics to one side and raise a glass to one of the most successful Scots who is still fondly remembered to this day.
I’ve been reading the first Discworld book, The Colour of Magic. I have read quite a few of the Discworld novels but out of order and scattered over the last few years. Now I want to read them start to finish and in order as well. It will be a labour of love though, they are great books with a dry wit I find endlessly amusing.
The start of the book was such a huge gambit. By now the disc, held by four elephants on the back of a giant turtle is an iconic and established image. I can only imagine though when this first came out, by an unknown author, it would have struck a lot of people as very weird. The first page starts describing the bizarre scene of a giant turtle flying through space. I can only imagine the advice he would have got not to do that, it would turn people off, they wouldn’t understand it. It was brave of him to start the book that way. So while no doubt a lot of people did set it down after the first page, others would click with the instant weirdness and that would build into his dedicated fanbase.
It shows that while people can offer advice on writing (my blog is full of it), every rule can be broken and nothing is set in stone.
Would I start a novel in such a weird way? No, I wouldn’t, the risk of putting off new readers is too great for me. But he did, he rolled the dice and it paid off.
Dedications for someone who writes primarily horror can be a tricky thing.
On the one hand, I want to show gratitude to the support I have received. However the content of these stories can clash a bit with that. A dedication in a romance or drama can be sweet and appropriate. Less so in my favourite genre.
Dedicated to my fiancée…a story about a blob that dissolves helpless innocents on an oil rig.
Dedicated to my best friend…a story about an adulterous, sociopathic scumbag who rips off a bank.
Doesn’t really click, does it?
No real answer to this one haha, I generally prefer to dedicate my books to horror fans in general.
As always, have a great weekend folks.