Monday, 10 June 2013

The man in the camel coat

Last year, in April, I was coming out of Waterstone's in Edinburgh's west end and a smiling man opened the door for me with a flourish, he seemed familiar, I knew I knew him but I couldn't place him. He had a kind face. I remember he was wearing a camel coat, though  memory is fragile so I can't be sure. When I got home I looked up Waterstone's and Iain Banks was doing an event that evening and of course it was him who had held open the door. Like many, I was gutted to learn of his diagnosis of terminal cancer  a couple of months ago  and yesterday's news left me with a lump in my throat, it was too soon, it could not be true, he surely had a few more months left. Although I'd only read a couple of his novels, I knew he was a huge presence. I remember reading The Wasp Factory in a freezing flat in Aberdeen in the 80s and we all devoured The Crow Road in the 90s, glued to the TV dramatisation too. I remember him tearing up his passport in protest over the Iraq war. Last night, I watched this interview with him from 2010 that has been put up as a tribute, he is funny and warm. I did not know the M stood for Menzies. And I love that his ashes will be scattered in Scotland and Paris and Venice. And this, a touching piece from Stuart Kelly, former literary editor of Scotland on Sunday: 'The universe has less Wonder in it today'. Iain M. Banks RIP.

*Five days left to watch this wonderful documentary Raw Spirit, a BBC Scotland  interview with Iain Banks shortly before he died.

No comments: