Scotland on Sunday finally got round to running that interview thing they did a couple of weeks ago. So once more ‘She Who Must Not Be Woken Before Nine On A Sunday’ and I tootled off to the wee shop in the nearby village and handed over a shiny new pound coin for a copy. We resisted opening up the thing until we got home and discovered, splattered all over the front page of the Review section was a picture of Lee Hutcheon, all done up to look gritty and filmy (in that he makes film, not that he has some sort of skin forming over the top), complete with sensational, pulp fiction-style title*. Hmm… Just to be on the safe side I started making the scrambled eggs and got ‘She Who Must Be Fed Before Ten’ to read the thing out while I cooked.
All in all, it’s not that bad, I suppose. OK, Aidan Smith – journalist (35) – obviously has a point to prove about how Aberdeen’s nowhere near as scary as Edinburgh, but that kind of “we does stuff much better down south” thing is only to be expected. Just a shame he didn’t try the place on a Thursday or Friday night: I’m sure both Lee and I could’ve thought of a few places that would have frightened the living shite out of him.
The article spends it’s first page talking about Lee’s film and his past, relishing the fact that he couldn’t pick up his Best Drama award from the New York International Independent Film and Video Awards, due to being banged up for four months in Craiginches Prison for assault (I told you he was a LOT more noir than me, didn’t I?). And then it moves onto Yours Truly – a bearded bespectacled IT man with a hacking cough who is ‘unaccustomed to the sun’. Which is fair enough I suppose. To be honest, the interview isn’t bad, some of it’s quite good. Only one bit is taken salaciously out of context from the book, and there’s only one complete and utter lie: when I'm quoted as saying, “The place disna really cut a dash. Silk and suede are no-nos in all that rain.” Now I can assure you – in the same way that I can assure you that Genghis Khan isn’t going to turn up at your hamster’s third birthday party and tell the story of the decline of the Jute mills in North East Scotland through the medium of interpretive dance – that there’s no way in hell I ever said ‘disna’. But then, I does come from up narrrth where we do speak all funny… Ahem.
The parting blow is perhaps the harshest, depending on how you interpret it – “Better known and more accomplished movie-makers and fiction writers may eventually be drawn to Aberdeen, but these two can say with some pride that they were here first.” Hmm, I would have thought Lee winning an international drama film award, then taking his film on to the Cannes Film Festival, was quite an achievement in itself. As for me? Well, I’m just doing my best, I suppose. And who knows, maybe by the time these film and literary giants turn their cumbersome, whisky-blurred gaze north to the Granite City’s sparkling streets, we’ll have made some modest degree of success for ourselves and won’t have to back down into obscurity once more, a-tugging at our forelocks as we go.
But in the end: my book and Lee’s film got a plug and housewives up and down the country got to have their Sunday porridge with our respective photos propped up against the bottle of milk. Which no doubt prompted much hurrying back to bed, clutching grateful husbands ;}# And it’s really not that bad an article. I don’t seem to come across as a bearded arse. And, with the exception of the bit of Cold Granite taken completely out of context, I seem to like Aberdeen – so delaying the witch-hunt by the tourist board until the book actually comes out. End of the day: things could be a lot worse and I have no right to grumble. Some writers never even get the opportunity to make a tit of themselves in the national press. I’m sure there will be times in the years to come when I look back and wish all my interviewers could be so nice.
* I’ll provide a link, if I can find one, after the Scotsman.com website has finished being ‘taken off-line for essential maintenance’. Which is technical parlance for ‘it’s buggered an no one knows what’s wrong with it yet.’