An Evening with Iain Banks and Iain M Banks

Yes, all in one person like Arthur ‘Two Sheds’ Jackson, ( we went to hear Iain Banks launch his new book, and like Arthur ‘Two Sheds’, he was forced to answer a series of questions about the ‘M’ in his sci-fi name: how it came about, whether it was a real middle initial or a fake one (it is real, apparently, and stands for Menzies, pronounced ‘Mingis’, as we know from that Lib Dem bloke); whether he really wanted to use it for his sci fi books or was pushed into it, etc etc – and all he wanted to do was promote his new book, ‘Surface Detail’:

No, to be fair, he answered all questions with good humour and enthusiasm – in fact, he was highly entertaining, full of self-deprecating humour and energetic movement: he reminded me of a friend I used to have, also Scottish, also called Iain.  We used to work together at Leicester Adult Education College and Iain got into trouble from the students for singing and dancing in his Maths classes.  Iain Banks was also physically energetic, full of movement and vigorous gesture (not the rude kind).  I found it very entertaining in spite of most of the questions being about the ‘Culture’ books.  He was refreshingly frank on the subject of the writing process, and utterly devoid of pretension.  Good stuff.

Iain Sinclair, where are you?

One thing that struck me was how poorly-attended these events are: Iain Banks is a nationally – if not internationally – famous writer, highly successful, and yet the Phoenix was only half-full for this event.  Whereas some tenth-rate Hollywood star would probably fill the Curve several times over.

No fair!

Mark asked a question about ‘Consider Phlebas.’  This is, as of course you will know, a reference to ‘The Wasteland’:

Bong!  In other news…

Oh, wait, there is no other news.

Today we are going to Riverside Festival and tomorrow is Sing for Water.

Kirk out

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