Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November. This year Book Week Scotland runs from Monday 19 to Sunday 25 November. I am delighted as always to be supporting this initiative with the support of some of my favourite Scottish Crime Writers!
Find out more about Book Week Scotland here
The theme for this year’s Book Week is #Rebel and I thought to myself, now surely a bunch of crime writers have some rebellious tales to tell me! So I asked them to confess all! So are you sitting comfortably? Then let us begin!
Theresa Talbot, author and radio presenter brings today’s post with her own brand of humour but also a poignant message about living life to the full.
Rebel Without A Clue
My Rebel Without A Clue piece was going to be hilarious. Five hundred words of pithy brilliance recounting all the crazy, whacky things I’ve done in my past. Like the time I stole the milk-float aged four, and crashed it into a lamppost, leaving both the milk-man and the bottles shattered and weeping onto the pavement. Or the time, again aged four, my unmitigated envy of next door’s garden got the better of me and I pulled up every square inch of Poor Mr. Reilly’s vegetable plot and attempted to re-plant it in our own sorry excuse for a garden; a quagmire of muck that looked like the breeding ground for Australian Rules Football. I could even talk about the time as a journalist I was booked on a press trip to a U.K army camp in Poland – but that would actually take more than the required five hundred words. It would also involve signing a disclaimer and an amnesty from the Military Police. I could edit my early childhood misdemeanours to read like an Enid Blyton adventure without the boiled eggs – but I’ve never been very partial to Enid Blyton and my fondness for eggs, boiled or otherwise is on the wane too. My grown-up escapades could appear rather swashbuckling, perhaps with less swash and a bit more buckle than I would have liked, but it might have made for interesting reading. But this week, alas, I attended the funeral of an old friend and former colleague.
I hadn’t seen Martin for the best part of ten years; not since he left the BBC to go onto pastures new before taking early retirement. A shit-hot journalist, he physically resembled the bastard love-child of Malcolm McLaren and Michael Crawford and was mad as a brush. He never seemed to tire of yelling ‘fuck-off’ down the phone to senior managers as they struggled to work out who the hell was on the other end – then would laugh so much he was incapable of doing any more work.
Driving around in a beat-up old sports car that had never seen the inside of a garage let alone an M.O.T certificate, he looked like Toad of Toad Hall, waving to everyone he passed, his long hand-knitted scarf trailing in the wind, perilously close to being caught in the back wheels. When the BBC tried to get all warm and fuzzy and introduced that ridiculous newsroom camera where viewers could see the rank and file journalists in the background as some posh gob-on-a-stick read the headlines, the piss-take potential for this was too much. We had a competition to see who could get on screen carrying the daftest item. Martin won when he casually appeared in the background of the ten o’clock news carrying an empty birdcage.
A single Dad, he adored his two boys, and neighbours recoiled in horror one day as his nine year old yelled from the garden, ‘Dad, d’you have an axe?’ ‘Yes Darling,’ he replied from under the bonnet of his car, ‘what sort of axe d’you need?!’ He just didn’t understand authority or what it meant. There are a thousand stories I could tell you about this lovely, warm generous man whose everyday antics brought anarchy to a whole new level. I’m not sure if Martin was rebellious, crazy or just didn’t understand the rules, but I do know the world is a brighter place for having had his presence for a short time.
Thank you Theresa, I think everyone needs to know a Martin in their life!
Theresa is a freelance writer, journalist, and radio presenter, perhaps best known as the voice of Traffic and Travel on BBC Radio Scotland and as the host of The Beechgrove Potting Shed. Prior to working with the BBC, she was with Radio Clyde and the AA Roadwatch team. Theresa worked in various roles before entering the media as an assistant in children’s homes, a Pepsi Challenge girl and a library assistant. She ended up at the BBC because of an eavesdropped conversation on a no.66 bus in Glasgow. Her passions include rescuing chickens, gardening, music, and yoga.
Theresa’s two books featuring investigative journalist, Oonagh O’Neil are available to buy on Amazon UK In her writing she does not shy away from tackling real-life issues with The Lost Children, highlighting the abuse in the Magdalene Institutions and her most recent novel, Keep Her Silent, laying bare the very real issues facing those affected by the tainted blood scandal. I’ve read both and they are definitely worth you picking up!