St Andrews author releases new book about guitar legend

Author Mark Eglinton.
Author Mark Eglinton.

A St Andrews man’s time as a caddy on the Old Course has led to a career writing books with stars from the worlds of music and sports.

Mark Eglinton has written books with high-profile stars including former footballer Michael Owen and Metallica guitarist James Hetfield, with quotes from the former making news around the UK.

Mark, a born and bred St Andrean, worked with his dad at their family business, Good News, in the town, before he spent time as a caddy.

It was while he was doing this, speaking to visiting stars, that he discovered a talent for getting people to open up.

“I was interested in the relationship between the author and the subject,” said Mark.

“You have to understand people. I get along with people and I just took it from there.”

Mark started out ghost writing books with musicians, before shifted direction, not wanting to be ‘typecast’.

Mark, who was shortlisted for awards for his book ‘Blindsided’, with Australian rugby legend Michael Lynagh, has now released a book about an inspiring Caribbean guitar master, Sam Li.

Mark was contacted by the step-daughter of Sam, who was in the epicentre of the London music scene from the 60s onwards.

With little knowledge of his subject, Mark set about trying to learn more about this ‘mythical figure’.

Sam had left his home in the Caribbean in 1959, as part of the Windrush programme, and travelled to the UK.

Within a few years, Sam had earned a reputation as the go-to guy for guitar repairs in London, as well as building his own.

“You’ve got to demistify the person,” said Mark. “You need to get some of the personality and frame the era in which they lived. That wasn’t so hard with 50s-70s London.

“Here’s this guy from Guyana who decides to move to London. He was in the middle of it all within a year-and-a-half. It’s a feel good story.”

He is now writing a book with Scottish speed skater Elise Christie, due to be released next year.

The Guitar Man: Sam Li (foreword by jazz legend John McLaughlin) is out now from Rudling house and is available online or at bookstores including at Topping & Co booksellers in St Andrews.