Friday, 23 April 2010


Yesterday, I attended the inauguration festivities of James Robertson into the Napier MA Creative Writing Course. I arrived there on a flea-powered hovertrike to the strains of Verdi’s I Lombardi alla prima crociata.

I was ushered inside Edinburgh’s renowned venue
The Hub (formerly a pet shop) and greeted by dedicated staff who tried hard – bless them – to conceal the murderous loathing on their faces.

I had the great privilege of mumbling incoherent trivialities into the ear of
Steven Hall – author of The Raw Shark Texts. I then partook in larks with co-students (the most entertaining part of the evening) until it became impossible to stand or comprehend their vowels.

I also met
Lin Anderson who is a crime writer of esteem. Unfortunately I had chosen to sit on a chair rammed against the wall, so she was forced to stand half-leaning at an awkward 20° angle while informing me about her book, Driftnet. Eek.

However, despite the formidable literati present, and the canny organisation by those involved – plus a moving speech from Mr. Robertson – I would like to voice a serious and important complaint about one crucial part of the event.

It is a complaint I think I share with my co-students, and exposes a fundamental weakness in the university’s approach to teacher-student relations, and indeed the entire ethos of Napier’s approach to higher education.

The canapés. The first thing we were served was a Wham bar wrapped in extruded fish innards. I mean – gentlemen! Hardly befitting of the inauguration of such a distinguished Scottish writer, is it? Then we were treated to slugs of salmon on spiteful melba toast, wriggling from their lily pads in disgust. Sound harmless so far? Well. Listen. To. This.

The final canapé of the evening was inexcusable. (Do you hear me, King Napier?) Someone had passed apple strudel through the inside of a Findus Crispy Pancake, then squeezed the resultant slurry into a haemorrhoid-on-toast. Fortunately, I chose not to partake of this particular delicacy. I will never forgive the university for the horror I endured that night.

After the event, we descended to a pub wherein we were talked at by a very clever author who made very much sense, but whose name escapes me now.

So, all in all, a top night. I’m looking forward to meshing antlers with Mr. R and feel privileged to have been there at his inception.

Before I go, please remember to donate to the #1 resource for
Bollards on the web.


  1. Mark, Mark, Mark. Students are lucky to be fed at all,. I thought you knew that.

  2. Please Tart, can I 'ave some more?