Take a look at this from the Scotsman:
Now, a few questions (from a (half-Scottish) Englishman):
Jenny Brown, a former director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival [and now a literary agent], said: "In an age where readers are looking for feel-good novels, Scotland excels at feel-bad books."
She said the black comedy of contemporary Scottish novels - when even sex was "dark, perverted" - could be one reason they don't get made into films. "We would probably do well to cultivate other novelists with voices who are putting forward an alternative picture."
- What is art?
- What is writing?
- Is it a means of expression?
- Or is it a means of entertainment?
- Is Ms Brown encouraging her clients to write to market?
- (And by the same token, would she be asking Scotland's literary grass roots to write Star Wars fan fiction if that's what the public wants?)
- Does Ms Brown really, really believe "readers are looking for feel-good novels"?
- Does she wonder if her clients are seeing their agent in a new light, this morning?
- Why do more Scottish books need to be made into films (other than to get a bit more money in their pockets)?
- Oh.. is it because SHE would get a bit more money in HER pocket?
- Does she realise that HARDLY ANY novels actually get made into GOOD movies?
- And even if all film adaptations were great, how does that help Scottish literature?
- Consider this scenario:
Ms Brown sits down and reads a few Alexander McCall Smith books.
Ms Brown notices that they have a "feel-good" (*aargh*) aspect to them.
Ms Brown notes that AM Smith is a Scot (ignoring the fact that he comes from a priveleged background and has spent a lot of time immersed in a totally foreign culture).
Ms Brown sees the sales figures.
Ms Brown comes to conclusion.
- Has Ms Brown been drinking?
- Has Ms Brown not been drinking? (ie: How much does she really know about Scotland? Even I've been in a few Scots pubs and I didn't notice much "feel-good" knocking around. A fair bit of "black comedy" though, if that's how you want to put it.)
- Scottish Culture or Scottish money. Which phrase means most to Ms Brown?
- "Scotland excels at feel-bad books". Er, but I thought excelling at something was a good thing?
- Did I miss something?
- If TRAINSPOTTING isn't about feeling good, what the fuck is?