It’s a bit like Bob Dylan’s never-ending tour, except that I’m not Bob Dylan and I haven’t done any adverts for Victoria’s Secret. (Actually, what is Victoria’s secret, that she has breasts and a vagina…? I only ask.) The closest I’ve ever been to Dylan’s birthplace of Hibbing, Minnesota, is Madison, Wisconsin. I was there the week the USAF was dropping ‘daisy-cutters’ on the Tora Bora caves – remember that? The city, like many US state capitals, is dominated by its Capitol, a scale model of the one in Washington. On my way to the bookstore to read to three orthodontically challenged Midwestern teenagers, I saw a flyer on reception advertising ‘Tonight at Civic Centre, Bob Dylon and his Band’. ‘Bob Dylon?’ I queried the girl on the desk, ‘don’t you mean Bob Dylan?’
‘Oh, uh-huh, I guess. Is that how it’s spelt?’
A prophet in his own country etc, etc.
But I digress: I’m on what seems like a never-ending tour. It began last October when Ralph Steadman and I published Psychogeography; it’s now continuing on through the publication of my new novel, The Butt, and if all goes according to plan there will be a new work of fiction, Liver, out in November, with attendant public readings. In truth, the tour goes back further than this, back to the paperback publication of The Book of Dave and before that the hardback.
I’ll keep you posted on my not very regal progress – me, disposable razor, and Vitamin C capsules, such is the Rock God and his entourage. Last Saturday, it was Glasgow, something called Aye Write! A litfest – you guessed it. The Nuremberg rallies of the contemporary bourgeoisie. The audience listened, they asked me about psychiatry, heroin, whether I used a typewriter – the usual stuff.
Afterwards, I attended a book awards ceremony, together with my friend the Scottish writer Alasdair Gray. He was up for one – but pleased not to win. ‘It went to the youngest writer!’ He crowed. ‘That’s as it should be.’ The youngest writer, Dan Rhodes, had greying hair. Hmmm.
At Glasgow Airport, the smokers have been corralled well away from the terminal since the terrible Islamist festival of Ramavan. Apart from these enhanced security measures, the only sign up was one advising travellers that ‘Heelys are not allowed in the Terminal’. Heelys being those skate shoes with built-in little wheels. What a drag, as Martin Amis so sagely remarks in his collection The Second Plane, boredom always dances attendance upon terror. Without heeling I am but an earthbound clod, striding on to the next gig.