Thursday, 4 April 2013

Iain Banks

It is always sad to hear of someone dying of cancer, especially when the victim has earned the respect of so many others. Iain Banks is a case in point. I am particularly impressed by the bravery – and humour - he shows in dealing with his illness.
In the early nineteen sixties Iain lived in North Queensferry a small village on the banks of the River Forth, close beneath the huge iconic bridge. His father worked for the Admiralty at Rosyth dockyard. My father also worked for the Admiralty and in 1961 he was posted to Rosyth. Like Iain Banks, we lived in North Queensferry. The house overlooked the river and the building on the Road Bridge.

Ian Jack – another well-respected writer, and founder of the Independent on Sunday – also lived in North Queensferry at that time. We travelled to school together on the bus into Dunfermline.

I mentioned this to Iain Banks when I met him in the bar at Swanwick: wasn’t it a coincidence that such a small village seemed to attract boys who grew up with a love of writing?

“Must have been something in the water,” he said.

Did you mean uisge beatha, Iain?

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