“Hats off to James Yorkston for what he’s doing with the Tae Sup Wi’ A Fifer shows. It’s absolutely brilliant. He’s bringing all these talented people to Fife – and me!”
Author Ian Rankin is in self-deprecating mode ahead of his appearance at the Adam Smith Theatre this Saturday 14 as part of the ongoing Tae Sup Wi’ A Fifer series, curated by musician James Yorkston, of whom Rankin says he is a big fan.
“I’ve known James for years. I’ve been a fan of the Fence Collective from way back and got to know his work early on.
“I’ve tried to get along to a few of the Tae Sup shows but I’ve been so busy this year that I’ve not managed it, so this will be the first one I’ve actually been to.
“I’ve seen James play many a time and we’ve been to events together, but I’ll be in the audience for the musicians and at some point I’ll pop up on stage doing God knows what.
“Usually on stage at book festivals you’re being interviewed, it’s very rare that I have live music with me.
“I’ll read something out, I’ll say something – I don’t know!”
Fifer Rankin remembers that he has taken to the stage at the Kirkcaldy theatre before.
“I did perform at the Adam Smith Theatre quite a few years ago with my mate Jackie Leven.
“It was me reading out a story I had written and him interspersing it with songs, kind of bouncing off each other. So that’s one thing I might do actually is read out a bit from that story to kind of commemorate him.
“With his passing he never quite got the acclaim or to be as well known as he should have been. It would be nice if we could keep his memory alive.”
Alongside Ian on the bill will be musicians Callum Easter and Jane Weaver.
As well as being an established solo artist in his own right, Callum is also in the live band for Edinburgh trio Young Fathers, whilst Jane has just released her 10th solo album Loops in the Secret Society to critical acclaim.
And whilst his appearance won’t include any music Ian has now ventured into the world on music as lead singer of the band Best Picture who have released one single to date entitled ‘Isabelle’ and recently played a gig in Glasgow.
Rankin said: “The band has been in abeyance for a while because the two guitarists are also in the band Fat Cops along with the comedian Al Murray.
“They recorded an album, put it out and toured it, so all the time that was happening I’m afraid Best Picture was on the back burner.
“So having not played for the best part of a year we got together to support Fat Cops in Glasgow a few weeks ago and it was amazingly good.
“I was slightly nervous because it was Glasgow so it was a completely new audience for us – and when you’re supporting another band you don’t know who is there to see you or them, or if they’re just on a night out and couldn’t care less who’s on stage.
“We’ve only got five songs so the audience don’t have time to get bored by us. By the time they’ve decided whether they like us or not we’re already off the stage and in the dressing room.
“But I well enjoyed it and the audience seemed to enjoy it so there is life in the old dogs yet. I hope we can keep it going because I do think we have good songs.
“We’d like to get back in the studio and get a couple more of them recorded properly.
“Basically it’s a bunch of guys having a mid-life crisis, but there’s no harm in that!”
Off the stage and back to the laptop, Ian’s next venture is a re-release of a long-deleted book called Westwind which he said has been interesting to look back on.
“This was an old book of mine that I wrote back in the late 80s and it was published in 1990. My memory of it was that it wasn’t very good so I never allowed it to be reissued.
“Then somebody read it and said to me on Twitter look, this is better than you think it is. So I went back and looked at it, just curious because I didn’t remember anything about it, and actually I thought it’s not bad.
“The politics in it, which I was making up from my own imagination, some of it seems to be coming true now.
“America retrenching and falling out of love with Europe, moving all their troops back to America, the Soviet Union is looking on rubbing its hands, everyone is under surveillance from spy satellites, there’s a lot of technology. So I thought there’s something in that in the modern world.
“It’s a wee bit dated but I’m leaving all that in because it is very much of its time. I did polished up some clunky sentences and I was obviously bemused by central locking in cars at the time, it must have been a brand new thing.
“Not even remote central locking, I’m talking about when you turn the key and all four locks engage. I mention it about 10 times in the book, so I’ve taken nine of them out!
“But things like people smoking on aeroplanes, I’ve left that in, hardly anyone has a mobile phone or home computer, so it’s of its period.
“It’s a fast-paced thriller and I think it does the business so it will be interesting to see what people think about it.”
In tandem with the release of Westwind, Rankin is also about to make a return to his most enduring creation, John Rebus.
“I’m going to knuckle down this month and write a Rebus novel. I’ll get some inspiration and that’ll be done and dusted for next year, so if anyone has any ideas...
“I’ll just sit, the panic will come and then I’ll get some ideas. That’s how it always happens.
“I’m also doing another Rebus stage play. We did one last year (Long Shadows) and it went well so the producer has asked me to do another one.
“So between now and June I’ve got my work cut out to do both of them.”
Tickets for the show on Saturday, September 14 are on sale from the Adam Smith Theatre box office, www.onfife.com or www.taesup.co.uk.