Well this year’s festival is done and dusted for another year and what a weekend it was!
Kicking off with the arrival of my #Twinnie aka Noelle of Crimebookjunkie arriving at mine on the Thursday night – I think she really just comes to hug Cooper though!
Up bright and early on the Friday morning for a drive down to Wemyss Bay and the ferry across to Bute. It’s the first time I’ve ever driven my car onto a ferry and thankfully I managed to do it without driving us both into the water. The sun was out for our arrival and Rothesay takes on the feel of a small Mediterranean town in the summer and it’s hard to believe we are only an hour away from Glasgow! A quick caffeine intake before we checked into the Bute House Hotel on the square. And of course we were on our holidays so the festival kicked off with a wee gin in The Black Bull.
We popped into Print Point to pick up our tickets and I think Noelle may have let out a tiny little scream as she spotted the advance print of her debut Dead Inside with its lush new cover.
Our first event of the festival was Watching The Detectives with Craig Robertson, Caro Ramsay, Doug Lindsay and Ed James, a fascinating insight into the minds of a crime writer…
A quick bite to eat (well, they do keep filling your glass with wine at these events so it is important to line the stomach!) and it was up to the library for Douglas Skelton in conversation with Lin Anderson and Stuart MacBride.
Another wine top up and then it was Lin Anderson and Ian Rankin. They had a very special guest pop into visit…Ian Rankin, plumbing and heating engineer on the island. He even gave Ian one of his branded polo shirts which he donned for the rest of the evening…it is always important to have another trade to fall back on!
Then it was off to Noir at the Bar in the Black Bull, a jam packed event with readings from Mick Herron, Lilja Sigurðardóttir; Douglas Lindsay and Ed James who traumatised the audience with his cockney reading of a sex scene written by Mark Billingham. There was not a dry eye in the house and I’m not sure if it was laughter or terror! Brilliant! My #Twinnie Noelle also gave a reading of her debut Dead Inside…such a powerful reading too.
I was over the moon when Craig Robertson asked me to read from my current work in progress, Sins of the Father. Despite the wobbles in my voice from nerves, I was over the moon to have been given this opportunity and delighted at the reception to my prologue!
Saturday arrived and the skies were blue. A leisurely breakfast and a coffee over looking the harbor before we went along to cheer the participants in the Chris Brookmyre Cup, which is probably now known as THE sporting event of the year on the Island! Douglas Lindsay took the cup this year and Lilja won the first ever Women’s Cup at the event (she was last but the only female playing and she had never picked up a club in her life, so she was damn right to turn that position into a positive!)
Next up was The Ladykillers, with Alexandra Sokoloff, Liz Nugent and Lilja Sigurðardóttir and what a kick ass panel that was!
As I’d taken the car over, we decided that we would go for a wee drive around and stopped off at Ettrick Bay to soak up some sunshine and take in some sea air. Absolutely beautiful!
After dinner we went to the beer Garden in the Galatea Bar for a few cooling refreshments before A Question of Court, the annual quiz which was followed by some highly talented musicians and some community singing! We had one half of the Fun Lovin Crime Writers, half the fun but twice the lovin…
This was followed by Oscar de Muriel on the violin and then the community singers…
Not really sure what to say about this…Caro Ramsay and Douglas Skelton led the audience in a rousing version of the Bay City Rollers, Shang-a-lang. You had to be there to appreciate it!
And of course the evening finished off with some more drinks!
Sunday had arrived and as though the island knew we were sad to be leaving, the rain arrived. I had the pleasure of moderating “Highland Reeling” with Douglas Lindsay and Douglas Skelton in Print Point . Despite his threats of misbehaving Mr Skelton was on his best behaviour (or perhaps that was the threat of the cattle prod from Caro Ramsay who was in the audience!) Both he and Douglas Lindsay were on top form for so early in the morning and it was a pleasure to be on their panel.
For my, my time at Bute Noir had come to an end as I had to get back home for my wee grandson’s first birthday (which was a perfect ending to a perfect weekend!)
There is something very special about this festival; the tireless work put in by everyone involved is evident from the minute that the official announcement of the line up is released until the end; from staff and volunteers the commitment is priceless. I hope you are all having a well earned chill out day today. From Karen at Print Point for her endless energy, her mum for the AMAZING cakes; the ladies at the library and the volunteers at the museum, you all work together to make this an unmissable experience, thank you! And to Craig Robertson who manages to make the whole organisation of the event and arranging outstanding panels, THANK YOU for keeping on going with this event!
Thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart for making this a most amazing weekend!
If you have never been, you really just do not know what you are missing; if you have been then you will get exactly what I’m talking about.
This is a festival with an atmosphere that really should be bottled up and sold. It is quite unique. For visitors to the island the welcome is huge and it is warm, I really feel as though a little part of me belongs in Bute now.
All I can say is ROLL ON #ButeNoir2020