The problem with writing in Glaswegian is that you limit your audience. The advantage is that you write in a vibrant, poetic, exciting language that gives you a feeling for the street, for the everyday speech of an extraordinary people. There will be some people who will not make the effort to read these stories, and that will be their loss. Chris McQueer is a genius at the writing. He has lines like “Look pal, if ae wanted tae hear an arsehole talk…ah wid’vd farted”. How can you not like something that reflects Glasgow pub patter so well. And, if you don’t, take that as fair warning not to read this book. Because the language is far worse than that, as is the everyday language of Glasgow.
These stories have a wonderful logic, of which Myles na Gopaleen and Gerard Hoffnung would have been proud. [And if you don’t know who I am talking about, Google them because I can’t be bothered to explain. Or as Chris McQueer would undoubtedly say “arsed”]. You can feel the characters on a trajectory to, not necessarily, disaster but to a sort of unavoidable future, whether it is Postman Pat, stoned out of his mind, Sammy having been given a samurai sword or Maureen, Annie and Daz ending up in Tokyo because they were filmed by Japanese tourists in Easterhouse. Chris McQueer is Billy Connolly on speed, with a touch of the Sean Connery gravitas to make it believable.
Sammy is one of the characters who appears in three of these stories, and we follow him from his Da dying of food poisoning, through the funeral to his uncle’s Christmas present. As Sammy says, it is mental. Big Angie, the bowls player, is the one who dominated this collection of short stories for me. This is partly because she is the main character in the longest of these short stories, and partly because she is not as hard as she seems. She is a comic creation on a Falstaffian scale, and not just because they are both fat.
Anyway, if you have not got by now that this book is a treat, then you never will. So I will “haud my wheesht”. Just read it, unless you are a “prissy wan” offended by bad language. Because this has bad language at Point 15 on the Richter Scale.