Along with Caroline and my mother I went to see and hear an all time favorite author of mine at the Mercury Theatre in
Colchester. As one event in the Essex Book Festival, Ian M Banks was there to do a reading from his latest non-M book, be interviewed, then take questions from the audience. I was surprised to see that he seemed quite nervous to begin with, but in retrospect I shouldn’t have been, since I doubt that the feeling ever goes away. Once he’d got into his stride, however, he was entertaining, amusing and came across as a likeable chap.
One fly in the ointment was the assumption by the interviewer that since we were all there to see Mr Banks then we all had to be lefty liberals. Mr Banks claims to be a committed socialist who when given a chance always votes for the most left-wing candidate. I was stifling my cynicism since only a few minutes before he’d been telling us about the two Porsches and the Landrover Discovery he’d sold now he was going ‘green’. Mmm, right.
That aside it was still an enjoyable evening. At one point I was tempted to fire off a question at him after he said he hates and avoids research. I was going to ask if that avoidance of research extended to his book about whisky: Raw Spirit. I somewhat doubt that, since it certainly seems to be a passion with him. After he finished talking he sat at a table in the theatre lobby signing numerous books – the queue certainly looked satisfyingly long.