Whisky Business: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talks To Rachel McCormack…

chasing-the-dram-9781471157233_lg.jpgFor the latest podcast Ali met writer and broadcaster Rachel McCormack at Glasgow’s Iberica restaurant to talk about her recent book, the excellent Chasing The Dram: Finding The Spirit Of Whisky.

Over a glass of wine the two discuss Rachel’s book, their first memories of whisky, the perception of the drink at home and abroad, the mythology which has grown around it, the numerous ways it relates to Scottish history and culture, and a whole lot more. Put simply, she separates the truth from the fiction, and there is plenty of both when it comes to our original national drink.

The talk also turns to food, travel, friends, family, memory, and how they are intertwined. It’s a fascinating conversation on how drink and food play a vital role in our lives beyond simply being fuel, and why it should be seen as culturally significant for individuals as well as on a societal and national level.

A food expert, with a special love and knowledge of Spanish cuisine, Rachel (below) is a regularMcCormack-Author-Cropped- panelist on BBC Radio 4s The Kitchen Cabinet and has broadcast on From Our Own Corespondent, the Food Programme as well as appearing as an expert guest on BBC Radio 2 on both the Simon Mayo show and the Chris Evans show.

She has also written for, amongst others, the Evening StandardBBC Vegetarian Food Magazine, New Statesman, the Financial Times, RED magazine and the Guardian. Bringing all that experience and knowledge to the podcast, it was a real treat to talk with Rachel and even if you’re not a whisky drinker we’re sure you’ll still find something to interest you.

If you are new round these parts there is quite a substantial back catalogue of podcasts for you to discover. If you aren’t yet a subscriber you can do so, (or simply listen) at iTunes or by RSS (but you’ll need to have an RSS reader to do so). You can also download the podcast by clicking on the relevant link to the right of this post, or, if you want it right here, right now, you can listen on SoundCloud

…or on YouTube:

The next podcast should be with you shortly, so keep ’em peeled…

Rage Against The Mainstream: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talks To 404 Ink…

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For the first podcast of 2018 Ali went to Edinburgh to talk to Heather McDaid and Laura Jones who are behind the innovative and acclaimed independent publishers 404 Ink. If you aren’t yet familiar with the name then where the hell have you been?

As well as their unmissable periodical literary magazine, they have published the phenomenal Nasty Women, introduced us to Chris McQueer through his debut collection of short stories Hings, collaborated with rock band Creeper on The Last Days Of James Scythe, and are due to publish SWH! favourite Helen McClory‘s new collection of short fiction Mayhem & Death as well as republishing her award winning On The Edges Of Vision (one of the best books of recent years), and that’s really only scratching the surface.

The two talk about their inspirations and the reasons for deciding to work 404-ink-photo-suzanne-heffron-please-credit-LST258809together, the phenomenon of Nasty Women and the challenges which followed, the desire to publish new voices, the importance of social media and different methods of funding, mixing content and contributors, why the live experience is increasingly important for writers and publishers, and their belief that anniversaries of note should never go uncelebrated.

It’s essential listening for anyone interested in books, writers, writing and culture in general, which surely must be all of you reading this. What you get is a fascinating discussion on the way that all of the things we celebrate and champion on SWH! can be approached, produced, promoted, and funded in different and inventive ways. All this and Jeff Goldblum too.

If you want to get involved with 404 Ink, (and once you’ve listened you will), you can find out how to do just that over at Patreon.  The Kickstarter for the forthcoming collaboration with BHP Comics, We Shall Fight Until We Win, a graphic novel celebrating the centenary of the first wave of women gaining the right to vote, is open now for your consideration. Everything else you need to know about what 404 Ink do can be found over at their website. You can also keep in touch by following them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

If you are new round these parts there is quite a substantial back catalogue of podcasts for you to discover. If you aren’t yet a subscriber you can do so, (or simply listen) at iTunes or by RSS (but you’ll need to have an RSS reader to do so). You can also download the podcast by clicking on the relevant link to the right of this post, or, if you want it right here, right now, you can listen on SoundCloud

…or on YouTube:

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We have got some great podcasts lined up for 2018, the next of which will be with you very soon, so keep ’em peeled…

That Was The Year That Was: It’s The Best Of 2017 Podcasts – Part 3 (Books)…

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This year we are recording three separate Best Of 2017 podcasts, one each for film and music, (which you can still hear), and this, Part III, concentrating on the best books of the year and all things literary.

Catching up at the fabulous Lighthouse Bookshop in Edinburgh, Ali chats with Birlinn Vikki PicLtd and Polygon Books‘ very own Vikki Reilly (see right) about the highs-and lows of the year in Scottish publishing, as well as offering their own recommendations and suggestions as to the best books of 2017 (some of which are pictured at the top of the page).

NLS-exhibitionThe talk touches upon many, many things, including the welcome emergence of 404 Ink, the recent Saltire Literary Awards (where the aforementioned 404 Ink were named Emerging Publisher of the Year, & Birlinn were awarded Scottish Publisher of the Year), the positive influence of recent podcast guest Graeme Macrae Burnet‘s Booker short-listing, the continuing revival of the printed word, the importance of publishing writers from outside of the Central Belt, the sad and strange demise of Freight Books, the titles Vikki wishes she had been involved with, and how the next 12 months look as though they will be dominated by the centenary of the birth of Muriel Spark and all the events, (and Birlinn’s re-publishing of her novels), which will accompany it. Continue reading

That Was The Year That Was: It’s The Best Of 2017 Podcasts – Part 2 (Music)…

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This year we are recording three separate Best Of 2017 podcasts, one each for film, music, and books. For the first two, Ali and Ian are once again joined by irregular podcast guest and resident film expert Chris Ward, and Scottish music man & manager, Wesley Shearer.

In this, Part II, we concentrate on the year in music, beginning with the best Scottish music of 2017 (much of which features on Track Of My Year: SWH!’s 10 Best Songs Of 2017 or on SWH!’s Best of 2017 Spotify list), before we widen it out. The conversation touches on the continuing success of indie labels, including Olive Grove Records, Last Night From Glasgow, Song By Toad, Holy Smokes Records and Errant Media, as well as lots of chat about the records and gigs that have impressed us over the last 12 months. Continue reading

That Was The Year That Was: It’s The Best Of 2017 Podcasts – Part 1 (Film)…

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This year we are recording three separate Best Of 2017 podcasts, one each for film, music, and books. For the first two, Ali and Ian are once again joined by irregular podcast guest and resident film expert Chris Ward, and Scottish music man & manager, Wesley Shearer.

In this, Part I, we concentrate on the films of 2017, and give you some recommendations. As usual, Ali kicks things off talking about his favourite Scottish films of the year, including T2: Trainspotting, Daphne, Benny, The End Of The Game, and Lost In France before Chris and Wesley widen the discussion to talk about the best films they have seen in the last 12 months. As well as their recommendations, they talk about the continuing success of the Glasgow Film Festival, the growing influence of streaming services, the possible threat to cinemas, and more. Continue reading

Happy Accidents: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talk To Graeme Macrae Burnet…

DSC_0540.JPGOn the latest podcast Ali speaks to writer, and returning guest, Graeme Macrae Burnet. The primary reason was to discuss his latest novel, The Accident On The A35, but the conversation turns to the work of George Simenon, existential fiction, home-town chauvinism, the importance of character, the formative nature of teenage years, the writer/publisher relationship, different approaches to writing, and a whole lot more.

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Graeme also looks back on life since his second novel, His Bloody Project, was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, and all that has entailed. As mentioned, Graeme was on the podcast back in December 2015 with fellow Saraband/Contraband author, Graham Lironi.

On it he spoke about His Bloody Project, which had only just been published, and it’s fascinating to hear what has happened to writer and novel since then. We’re calling the latest podcast a must-listen for anyone with an interest in books, writers, and writing, and we wouldn’t lie about something like that. Continue reading

Screen Break: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talks To Peter Mackie Burns…

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For the latest podcast Ali talks to Peter Mackie Burns (below, right), the director of critically acclaimed new British film Daphne, starring Emily Beecham in the title role, and which has Geraldine James among the support.

The two talk about the film, the collaborative process of building the central peter mackie burnscharacter, the importance of place, the influences on the film, the secret to good casting, Burns’ earlier work, and how he got to this stage in his career. It’s a fascinating insight into the film-making process and much more.

Peter tells you where and when you can see Daphne, which is distributed by Altitude Films and produced by The Bureau, and you can learn all about it, and buy tickets, at Daphne.film. The name of the composer which temporarily slipped Peter’s mind is Sam Beste, and you can listen to the soundtrack by checking out the Spotify playlist.
But before we go any further here’s the trailer for Daphne:

Continue reading

Reporting Scotland: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talks To Peter Ross…

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On the latest podcast, Ali spoke to journalist Peter Ross about the follow-up to his 2014 book, Daunderlust: Dispatches From Unreported Scotland, (which Peter spoke to us about in a previous podcastThe Passion Of Harry Bingo: Further Dispatches From Unreported Scotland. Peter goes into some of those dispatches in detail as the two discuss how Scottish football may be a microcosm of Scottish life, the importance of tradition, post-referendum Scotland, how he was accepted in so many diverse places – from grouse shoot to sex shop, and so much more. Even then they only touch upon a handful of the stories told, so if you want to know the rest you’re going to have to read the book, the SWH! review of which you can read here.

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Peter is one of Scotland’s finest writers and his type of reportage journalism is increasingly rare. The essays in The Passion Of Harry Bingo are a reminder that, to paraphrase James Kelman, “the drama of ordinary people’s every day lives” will always be compelling and will tell readers more about their country, their neighbours and themselves than fiction could ever manage.

This is the 84th SWH! podcast, so if you are new round these parts there is quite a substantial back catalogue for you to discover. If you aren’t yet a subscriber you can do so, (or simply listen) at iTunes or by RSS (but you’ll need to have an RSS reader to do so). You can also download the podcast by clicking on the relevant link to the right of this post, or, if you want it right here, right now, you can listen on…

..SoundCloud

..or on YouTube:

If our plans come together we’re going to have a couple of rather interesting podcasts coming soon, so keep your ear to the ground…

Three Is The Magic Number: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talks To Louise Welsh…

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The latest podcast is an interview with one of our favourite guests, the writer Louise Welsh. Previously she has been on to talk not only about her earlier fiction, but also the joys of reading Robert Louis Stevenson, and all thing Empire Cafe. Her latest novel, No Dominion, is the final part in her Plague Times Trilogy which began back in 2014 (not, as Ali suggests, five years ago) with A Lovely Way To Burn, and continued in 2015 with Death Is A Welcome Guest.

The conversation focuses on the central themes in the trilogy, which include family, Louise_400x400morality, society, and what could happen in the face of a global pandemic threat. Just the usual. Louise also reveals the influences on each book, including the Scottish literary connections in part three, and admits that recent political events, at home and abroad, had some bearing of the final draft No Dominion. There is also talk of ghost stories and opera. What more do you want from a podcast? Continue reading

Simons Says: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talks To J. David Simons…

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In the latest podcast Ali talks to writer J. David Simons, initially about his latest novel A Woman Of Integrity but also his ‘Glasgow To Galilee‘ trilogy (see bottom of page) and the near perfect An Exquisite Sense Of What Is Beautiful. It’s always interesting to talk with David, and the conversation turns to his life as a writer and the colourful and varied path he has travelled along the way. The two also discuss, publishing, promotion, and the problems with both, and there are questions from a very special reader/listener. All this and much more.

They also meant to, but clean forgot, discuss the Scottish Book Trusts’ Bookfellas initiative that, in the Trust’s own words, “..brings together 50 men and aims to raise £50,000 to ensure that everyone in Scotland has the same opportunity to thrive through reading and writing. We want to encourage more men to read for pleasure and highlight the importance of dads reading to their children”. You can find out just what David is doing along with many other writers, here, and Ali gives further details in the podcast intro. Continue reading