West Highland Way in a Day

News, Sport

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 09.48.46

Glasgow window cleaner and fitness fanatic, Ryan Kinnaird has completed an epic challenge of cycling the West Highland Way in under a day to raise money for the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

Ryan 1

Photo – Iain Smart

Ryan cycled the 96 mile route on Saturday 14th May in under 15 hours, starting at 5am in Fort William and reaching the finishing in Milngavie just before 8pm and raising over £1,600 for a good cause.

Ryan stated “I had been training to do the West Highland Way in a day for 3 months and yesterday I completed the full north to south route in just short of 15 hours fully supported. Having ridden the route several times over 3 and 2 days this was a personal challenge. This was one of the toughest things I have ever done”


He continued “The training and prep to do a day like this is crazy. Mentally challenging to say the least. The weather is an important key factor in getting a good time too. Having done several training runs, I had been caught in the wind, rain and snow. It’s not fun being blown about the top of the Devils”
The ride from Fort William to Milngavie was followed by support driver David Grier, who carried supplies and equipment and met Ryan every 2 to 3 hours wherever possible. As Ryan intended to travel light, the support van was essential to the success of the challenge as it carried food, spares and other equipment.

Ryan 4

Photo – Iain Smart

To maintain his energy levels, Ryan consumed gels and sandwiches every 40 mins, he also had to drink 500 ml of fluids every hour to stay hydrated.

Ryan 9

Ryan Kinnaird

Ryan has recorded a blog of his journey

Fort William to Kinlochleven
On the day of the start I got up at 4,40 to set off for 5am. I had to wake my mate up that was sleeping in his camper, he was the support. I was staying in Ossians hostel. Soon after we were a short distance to the new start which is on the high street. As it was still getting light it was cold. I opted to hurry the standard start pics.
5 am start and I was off yeeeeehaaa!!!

This first section I would take in the long climb up the zigzags across from Ben Nevis. I never had anything to eat for breakfast because I knew I would be eating every 40mins. Last time I done this climb on a full belly I nearly died. I flew this section with ease, sun was warming the air but still chilly. I reached the top of the climb and remembered time to eat a sandwich, then the count was on every 40mins after. The descent was awesome as the trails where dry and the bike just rolled so nice. Everything from Fort William to Kinlochleven was effortless. I had been training for months so legs were strong enough to handle anything. The sun was in my face for a good few miles which was annoying. I was aiming for 2 hrs to KLL. If I got to the top of the decent into KLL in under 2hrs I was laughing.

Looked at my speedo exactly 1hr 50 Yaaaas!!!!. Nailed the downhill section. Buzzing for my next stop.

Ryan 6

Kinlochleven to Devils Staircase

I would say one of the toughest mountain bike climbs in Scotland.  I was kind of dreading this climb. 2 weeks ago I had to walk most in the wind, rain and snow. I set off with the mindset let’s not blow up!!! I had still a long way to travel and had some other hefty climbs left over the distance. I was meeting my support at the other side of the Devils . I only opted for a single 500 ml of fluids to take. I stuck to carrying my 2 gels and sandwich in tinfoil. Parts of the Devils staircase I had to walk so I choose to eat my solids at times like this. I smoked the first section up leven rd. If you would have been around you would of heard me screaming with joy at the top of the climb YAAAAS!!!!. If you know the Devils it’s a technical climb I had a very good climb up it only having to walk very little. I smashed a time of 55 mins on strava from bottom of Kinlochlevven to the top of the Devils knocking nearly 20 mins off of my last attempt 2weeks ago. I love the Devils descent and raced to the bottom to meet my support, Dave G who is my best mate. Without him this would never have happened.

Bottom of Devils to Bridge of Orchy.
This section is a long stretch passing the Kings house and up along the side of Glencoe ski centre. In bad weather this can be brutal as it’s so exposed. The weather was amazing, the sun was splitting the sky. It’s a bit of a long drag of a climb past the ski centre. Once you are past this climb it feels like you are descending forever. That’s the rewards of climbing though. I was still sticking to my food routine. I knew after this downhill I had a beast of a climb before the downhill section to bridge of Orchy. The climb is not for the faint hearted. I think any good mountain biker would be challenged on this. Legs feeling strong, I climbed and past some walkers coming in the opposite direction looking at me with discontent. Climb over and another sandwich down 😋 time for another cracking decent. Arrived in bridge of Orchy looking for Dave but forgot I had told him to meet me at the station. Rolled into the station in under 5 hrs. I was buzzing with this time and moving quick. I wasn’t wanting to wait either few hugs replenish food and drinks and I was off again.

Bridge of Orchy to Tyndrum
This section is one of the quickest section for me. I blitz this section in just over 40 mins, being 6th fastest on strava. The terrain varies in intensity with long descents and long gradual climbs. One of the climbs you are walking for a good bit. I remember spotting a few bikers ahead. Me being me I decided to try and pull they bikers in. It wasn’t very hard as they weren’t moving quick. I stopped to chat to the boys. They were good lads and were doing the distance over 3 days, they had left earlier from the Kings house. Chatting for less than a minute with them . The shock on their faces once I told them what I was doing. I set off for the descent to Tyndrum, I wasn’t racing downhill or anything. I could hear a bike behind me, I think one of the guys behind wanted to prove something. Ain’t winning any trophies on fire road descents pal😂😂. I put the boot down rolling into Tyndrum ahead of schedule.

Tyndrum to Inveranan
I was ahead of schedule looking good for my time on the top section. The weather was getting very hot by this point. I was still religiously sticking to my eating and drinking plan. The climbs over and into Crainlarich are very steep through the woods. I pedaled quite slow up the hills that were steep and tried to gain speed on other sections that weren’t as steep. Lots of rolling hills with ups and downs. I even earned a KOM on strava on one of the descents whoop!!! Whoop!!. It’s a bit of a push with loads of uphill on the right side of the A82 of the WHW all the way down to Inveranan. They have loads of works on the trails just now so sign posts could easily direct you the wrong way as I found this out earlier having to detour. Not losing much time I was flying into Inveranan 7hrs 20mins. The descents coming down that side are fast and easily rolled to save energy. I was so happy to see Dave’s face at this point, he was phoning me 10 mins before my arrival thinking I was running late. The next stage was the hardest by far.

Inveranan to Inversnaid hike a bike

This is a very tough section but not as tough as everyone goes on about. It’s a hike a bike. The terrain in places you can ride, even myself been a good techy rider found it hard to gain rhythm. I hiked this section in 1hr 40 on a training route. I biked from drovers to Milngavie 57km with the weather brutal. In the dry I thought I would have smoked it. I was so wrong as the weather was starting to take its toll on me after 100km on the legs. I was tiring but still pushing through. I only had enough supplies for 2hrs worth. I was meeting Dave in Rowardennan and I prob wouldn’t see him for at least 3 hrs. Playing with this in my head was probably slowing me down and I was mentally torturing myself. I came up with a plan to top up my bottles with just water when I arrive at inversnaid. I knew I had An hr to go to meet Dave after inversnaid. I remember arriving at Rob Roy’s cave and thinking amazing I only have a short push and then back pedalling the bike to inversnaid. I was a lot slower this time 2hrs 30mins. Hurrying into the hotel to top my bottles up with water. I was guzzling water down, I needed it. Short phone call to Dave to tell him I’m safe and I would be an hour. Great feeling to be back on the bike. I had one caffeine gel left which was enough. I spread the feeding times out a bit more so that I had enough to get me to next meet at Rowardennan. I absolutely was in agony for that full hour. My wee toes on my feet were throbbing. After hiking, biking and been on the bike for 10hrs would do that. From inversnaid to Rowardennan is a mixture of techy and long climbs that drag for ages. On fresh legs I wouldn’t even think about the climbs. Climbing over and descending into Rowardennan was an amazing feeling. I was very close to finishing. Meeting Dave was good, he was handing me drinks, gels and sandwiches. He was asking me to many questions. I knew by this point I was running on empty but was willing to push through once hydrated and fuelled again. All I could think about was conic hill and the climb. I was just over 11hrs to here. We hadn’t discussed our next meeting point and this was a confusion for me. I took as much as I could fit in my jersey and pockets. I Told Dave to meet me at the beach tree in 3 hrs. This gave me 1hr along the shore, 1hr up conic and 1hr to the beach tree to meet him. Totally doable 👍.

Rowardennan to beach tree via Conic

The Loch Lomond shore is an easy ride with good paths up and downs. Few techy features but nothing to shout home about if you are a mountain biker. I rolled into the car park at Balmaha. Start the climb up the footpath of conic. I haven’t biked this direction before. It’s steep right till you hit the first gate. It’s now bike on shoulders till the top of the first set of steps. I was making fairly good speed up the hill but it was very tough. Couple of guys I got chatting to took my mind off the steepness. They were moving slower than me so I pushed on with the last stretch to the top. That was tough. Descent time was not that fun down. Hands were on the brakes Trying to stay safe rather than going for it like I usually would. I forgot after the descent I had a good few climbs left before I was meeting Dave at the beach tree. I soldiered on still eating like mad and double dropping gels. My pockets were full of gels. Once you are past the top of Drymen you have a load of roads to negotiate. I granny ringed all the road climbs, I was just desperate to finish now. Loads of gates were annoying me along the flattest section of the WHW to the Beach Tree. It’s fast and i covered ground here very quick and arrived on schedule or before. Topped up on last fluids, caffeine shot this time round.

Ryan 3

Photo – Iain Smart

Final stretch to Milngavie

I knew from here I was going to do it in 15hrs. I had 10km left and had the last climb of the day to do. I was gonna slowly spin up the Yeti climb the back of Mugdock park. It’s a climb on a good day but not after 150km. Slowly but surely I made it to the top. In my own head it was complete. I felt with the last climb done it was just a straight finish to the town centre. My energy and spirits had been lifted by a shot of caffeine. I booted the last bit through Mugdock park overtaking a group of riders along the way. I felt I was getting faster and faster. I rolled into the town centre minutes shy of 8pm after setting off in Fort William at 5am. Family and friends waiting and cheering. I was deranged and had to take a minute to realise what I had just done.

Ryan 5

Ryan 2

Photo – Iain Smart


I was recording my ride on strava and was gutted to see my phone was dead and out of battery. I only managed to record 120km. It’s done know and sitting in the house tonight I couldn’t be happier. I owe my life to my friends and family for supporting me. Vicky Logan you are my rock and world. David Grier I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks West


Cows, Cash & Coverups: Investigating vCJD


I’m shooting my first feature length documentary and I’d appreciate any support in funding or publicising the project.

Indiegogo: http://igg.me/at/vCJD/x

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), the human form of BSE (Mad Cow Disease) is a disease that has a long incubation period, spanning several decades, with government scientists warning over a potential “second wave” of cases.

BSE is still being detected on farms in Britain, Ireland & America, with the latest case found in Ireland as recently as this month.

The aim of this film is to highlight the story of the victims of vCJD, to examine the Governments handling of the BSE crises and to explore the ethics of the farming and food industry.

As the recent horse meat scandal highlighted – do we honestly know what’s going in our food?

Scottish Film Summit at Film City Glasgow

Film, News, Politics


The latest gathering of the Scottish Film Summit was held at Film City in Glasgow, as part of this year’s Glasgow Film Festival. The event attracted a wide range of industry professionals from the world of film and TV in Scotland and it was apt that we should be convening in the old Govan Burgh Hall, on the banks of the River Clyde, an area once world-renowned for shipbuilding and is now making waves to be a global player in the film industry.

The event combined a series of panel sessions and networking with a special focus on training and development in Scotland. The panel sessions covered topics such as; A Film Charter for Scotland, Young People and Talent Development, Insights into Programming, Independent Distribution for Independent Films, The Future of Scottish Screenwriting and Thoughts on Incentives, Co-Productions and Film Finance.

The open format of the panel sessions allowed the audience to ask questions and to spark further discussion and debate. The variety of panelists, from established and experienced film industry figures to up-and-coming filmmakers provided an opportunity for a cross-section of society to have an inclusive and open debate on the state of the industry in Scotland. It was encouraging to hear some of the Scottish success stories, including the major film productions that have recently been produced by companies based at Film City and to learn of new development programmes and incentives such as the Scottish Film Talent Network. However it was also disheartening to realise that major Scottish production companies face the same funding issues as the smaller players, when it comes to getting projects from script to screen. It was also sad to hear that a grassroots organisation like GMAC has had it’s funding cut this year, which beggars belief at a time when the industry should be doing all it can to engage and nurture the next generation of filmmakers in this country.

After the final panel sessions, guests mingled during the networking drinks in the café, mulling over a day they’d spent dissecting and discussing the film industry in Scotland. The general consensus seemed to be that our industry has a wealth of talent, but there is a severe lack of funding and infrastructure to allow it to flourish. The saga over the location of a Scottish Film Studio is a case in point, by stagnating over a decision we have lost out on major productions to our Celtic neighbours and has probably set the industry back several years.

It’s evident that we need a drastic overhaul of the industry in Scotland if we are to develop and nurture homegrown talent and prevent a talent drain to other countries. We need a dedicated film body, backed by substantial government investment in order to fund Scottish projects and to attract major film productions to this country. The funding bodies and government must realise that we have to speculate to accumulate, the longer we dilly-dally on key decisions then the further we fall behind.

It might be auspicious that the Film Summit took place in Govan, as the Govan Burgh Arms motto, which is proudly displayed at the front entrance of Film City states ‘Nihil Sine Labore’ – nothing without work. Scotland has the workforce, the skills and talent, we also have the tenacity to be world-renowned once again, but without the infrastructure we have little chance of success.

The Insecurity of My Creativity

Entertainment, Film, News

Joseph Andrew Mclean

I’ve neglected my blog, or as I like to refer to it, the online diary of a mentalist, for a few months. During this barren spell I’ve missed venting my spleen about things and stuff. I’ve missed having a proper rant about a subject out-with the limited 140 characters that are available on Twitter. So to make up for lost time I’m going to pour my heart and soul out about my experience of living with the insecurity of creativity. I feel as manic as Tom Cruise’s character Jerry Maguire, when he spews out his memo/mission statement and then wakes up in a blind panic thinking “what have I done?” I also don’t need to rush off to a 24/7 printers shop in the pouring rain, I just hit post and it’s out there in cyberspace to be spammed, hopefully read and who knows maybe even inspire someone to learn from a few of my mistakes. As the print shop guy says to Jerry Maguire “That’s how you become great man, hang your balls out there.”

So here I go, balls out there style – Why am I so insecure about creativity? I’m not insecure in a financial sense or in a panic about future job prospects. I wish it was that simple, but it’s more complicated. It may seem trivial to some, but I’ve been crippled by a self-induced insecurity about my creativity. How could I, a boy from Partick have the nerve to call himself a writer or a filmmaker? An admission such as this leaves you wide open to some derisory mocking about getting a ‘real’ job. But I’ve never really had a real job. I’m 34 years old and I feel like I’ve served my apprenticeship, I’ve gained the qualifications to back up my claim, but yet there’s still that niggling doubt hanging over me, like a pin being held millimetres away from a balloon, it’s ready to burst my grand plans in an implosion of self-sabotage.

Since graduating as a mature student from the University of Glasgow with an MA in English Literature and Politics, I’ve managed to set up my own production company and I’m producing work for a variety of clients, including shooting music and corporate videos. I’ve also been involved in ongoing meetings with a TV station about some of my projects and ideas. Yet there is still that niggling doubt of being accepted, but who am I trying to gain acceptance from and why do I crave their validation? I know I’m certainly not a member of the Glasgow media set, I’m as far removed from that as you can possibly get. I’m a BAFTA Scotland member and I attend regular screenings and talks, but I’m not one of them, I’m an outsider and I probably always will be, but should I let this bother me? After all, I’m working and I’m shooting projects on a regular basis and I’m happy, so why let an inconsequential thing like approval (from people who will never fully accept me as one of their own) get to me.

I’ve tried to convince myself that after studying at University, including studying screenwriting at the University of California, that I’ve proved my worth, but the insecurity is still there. If someone asks me what I do, I feel it’s pretentious to say filmmaker. I’ve actually caught myself saying I work for a media company! I sometimes question if this attitude will hold me back and ponder if I’m actually projecting my insecurity outwards towards industry targets, as it’s easier to lay the blame at their door for not getting a break or recognition? Maybe that break will come, as I feel like I’m chipping away at a metaphorical brick wall, armed with a dream, hunger and desire to succeed. To me it’s like grasping a small rock hammer and chisel to tear down a stone obstruction that’s of a Berlin wall scale. But as long as I keep writing, as long as I keep making stuff and getting it out there, then at least I will be ready to capitalise on any breaches of the industries defences. All I need is to see a little chink of light through the great wall and it could be enough to inspire me to work harder and faster to tear the fucking thing to a pile of rubble.

I ultimately know the insecurity of my creativity lies within and I know I’m going to have to work on being confident enough to call myself a filmmaker and not be embarrassed by it, after all, if I’d studied for 4 years to be in any other profession other than a creative one I highly doubt if I’d be embarrassed to say what I did for a living. So, here’s to being creative, making stuff and getting it out there into the ether, here’s to taking abstract ideas and transforming them into tangible and quantifiable end products that can be viewed, dissected and critiqued. Perhaps having enough of these end products will enable me to finally feel comfortable with the label that I’ve attached to myself – Joseph Andrew Mclean, filmmaker.

Analysis of The Cutting Room and the authors attempt to work within the existing literary genre of crime fiction.


Analysis of The Cutting Room and the authors attempt to work within the existing literary genre of crime fiction. 

Louise Welsh’s novel sits easily within the parameters and conventions of the crime fiction genre. As an author she has borrowed from the rich history of the genre to create her own narrative and to introduce the reader to the character of Rilke. There are elements of the novel which transcend or defy existing conventions, such as the author’s choice to make her main protagonist a homosexual man, but overall her work is grounded in the traditional roots of crime fiction. Welsh explains this herself when she describes Rilke as being ‘in a long line of literary anti-heroes’ (Welsh, 2003) and she also states that the novel was ‘partly inspired by hard-boiled detective fiction’ (Welsh, 2003).  This paper will examine the history of the genre and provide an analysis of the author’s attempts to work within the crime fiction genre.

Crime fiction is distinguished from mainstream fiction; we expect certain elements to be present in crime novels such as detection, criminals and motives. However there are many sub-genres contained within this broad subject, such as the whodunit, detective fiction and hard-boiled fiction. The Glasgow set crime novel The Cutting Room, could easily be said to fit into the realms of the detective or hard-boiled fiction, as it conforms to many of the conventions that are expected of the genre. The author has clearly been inspired by writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle. Poe’s fictional detective C. Auguste Dupin is not a professional detective, much like Welsh’s character Rilke, who is a Glaswegian auctioneer. They are separated by nearly two centuries, yet they still share some common ground in their approach to solving crime, two amateurs, one in Paris and one in Glasgow, using their considerable intellect to try and solve crime. It has been said that Poe introduces the city as a place of ‘darkness that simultaneously liberates and conceals’ (Moore, 2006: 8) and this sentiment can most certainly be applied to the dark, brooding and atmospheric Glasgow that Welsh captures in her novel. Paris has also been described as being a ‘dimly lit city, but not one which Dupin and his narrator friend fear to walk at night’ (Moore, 2006: 8). This again echoes in the work of Welsh, as we note how Rilke is perfectly comfortable traipsing around the city at night and frequenting places such as the Kelvingrove Park after dark.

Rilke describes his journey through the West End to the park, detailing the ‘crazy shadows and darkness’ (Welsh, 2002: 26) that have been cast by the branches of the mature lime trees that line Kelvin Way. He also informs us that if you are able to ‘drown your fear and your conscience, this is the place to come’ (Welsh, 2002: 26) for a bit of rough in the early hours of the morning. This confidence that Rilke exudes demonstrates how comfortable he is in the city, he is not intimated by it, he seems to be equally at home in Glasgow be it daytime or night and shows little fear. This has perhaps got a lot to do with the fact he is capable of handling himself physically, as has been demonstrated in the novel which his violent episodes. The author has tried to outline and explain the reasons for Rilke’s behavior and details on her website how he ‘somehow strays from the path of the righteous at every turn’ (Welsh, 2003). This is evident throughout the novel, as Rilke is presented with opportunities by which to follow the righteous path, such as revealing the contents of the photographs to Inspector Anderson. This would also be the easy option for Rilke, however he chooses not to involve the police and to pursue the history of the graphic photographs he found in the attic of a house clearance he was working on for his auctioneers company. This hidden cache of ‘violent and highly disturbing photographs from the 1950s’ (Welsh, 2003) becomes an obsession for Rilke. His pursuit to discover whether the photographs are authentic, demonstrate a determination. Rilke needs to find out if the young woman ‘had been murdered for the sexual gratification of the house’s owner Mr McKindless, or were the photographs simply staged?’ (Welsh, 2003).  Rilke’s compulsion to uncover the truth also demonstrates that he may stray from the path of the righteous, but he does have his own ‘flawed, but sincere moral code’ (Welsh, 2003). This moral code of Rilke’s at least demonstrates he is determined to do right, so despite some of his dubious behavior in his personal life, we can accept that he is ultimately involved in this crime solving for the right reasons. It’s not for financial gain or personal glory that he pursues the trail left by McKindless, but essentially Rilke wants to discover the truth and more importantly, as he states ‘I can’t leave her there’ (Welsh, 2002: 55). This shows that Rilke may be flawed, a trait in keeping with detectives in literary history from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes to Ian Rankin’s Rebus, but at least he is determined to do the right thing and to do so by any means possible.

The comparisons with other fictional detectives and crime solvers show that the author has attempted to work within the existing crime genre. Rilke has the same flawed character traits as other famous fictional sleuths, for instance he is described as being ‘fond of a dram’ (Welsh, 2003). This description draws comparisons with Ian Rankin’s character Rebus, who he describes as being a ‘maverick…he’s more private investigator inside the police’ (Murray, 2008: 198). Rankin explains that the reason authors make their characters amateur detectives is because it fits within the ‘British tradition’ (Murray, 2008: 200) of the genre. A similar parallel between the worlds of Rebus and Rilke are that both are influenced by the ‘past acting on the present, past crimes suddenly infecting the present’ (Murray, 2008: 219).  Rilke’s present has been infected by the past crimes of McKindless and this in turn shows us how history has an influence on all of us, without is necessarily realising it. The innocuous house clearance for Rilke’s auctioneer’s house has now turned into a dark web of intrigue and mystery, and all through the influence of past actions of others infecting the present day.  Ian Rankin also states that Rebus is ‘always crossing the line, but he never crosses it very far’ (Murray, 2008: 225), again this can be seen in Rilke’s behavior and shows a similarity between the Edinburgh and Glasgow based sleuths. They are both prepared to step over the line to get at the truth and to get their criminal, but they never go so far beyond it that we lose our fondness for them. It can be argued that we allow our detectives to have these flaws and faults, as we ultimately know that they are determined to do the right thing in the end.

The character traits of Rebus and Rilke fit into the conventions of crime fiction; they are expected to be there, just as much as suspense, justice and suspects are expected to be contained within a crime novel. However these conventions are constantly being subverted and expanded upon, they do so until such subversions ultimately become conventions in literature. For example, as a reader of crime fiction we may come to expect that the detective is a male character, this is true in Rilke’s case, but we also witness a subversion of the genre, as Welsh has made him a homosexual man. This element of the character does pass beyond the limits of the genre; it transcends it, as it challenges our perceptions of what a detective should be like. In this aspect it can be argued that Welsh is ‘reassessing and re-creating in the context of existing cultural codes and conventions’ (Whyte, 1995: 203). The author has taken a traditional element of the genre and she has added a new dimension, another layer to the character. Yet, fundamentally Rilke can be viewed as the same archetypal hard drinking, thrill seeking, fornicating British detective. I don’t think his sexuality diminishes this in any way, as his lifestyle is in keeping with the early hard-boiled private detectives who are ‘aware of sexual overtones and undertones’ (Moore, 2006: 81). Rilke’s sexual encounters take place in parks, toilets and with strangers who appear at windows across the road from pubs he is drinking in. This behaviour fits into the early hard-boiled detective novel as it ‘reveals a failure on the part of most detectives to develop beyond passion or lust’ (Moore, 2006: 90). This is true of Rilke, who seems incapable of developing beyond stolen moments in the dead of night. In doing so, he fits the archetype of the investigator who indulges ‘their lust or passion while solving cases’ (Moore, 2006: 81). The fact Rilke indulges his lust or stays out drinking at night does not distract him from the case; he remains focused on solving the mystery of the photographs.  The personal life of Rilke is fascinating, as it offers a glimpse into unknown worlds, but ultimately it does not detract from the core of the story, which is to solve a mystery and to solve a crime.

This solving of crime is one of the very basic elements of the genre and is one that Welsh adheres to strictly. A detective novel keeps the reader gripped as we search for the answers to ‘questions about who, why and when’ (Symons, 1962: 7).  These very questions keep us turning the page in Welsh’s novel, as we search for truth in this dark, seedy underworld of Glasgow. The detective’s world is the ‘murky reality of red herrings, disguise, forgeries and mistaken identities’ (Reitz, 2004: 86) and this novel is littered with them. We are lead to fill in the blanks and decipher the red herrings from the facts. Welsh has characters such as the Gardner at the McKindless house, who Rilke sees burning things in a bonfire as he arrives to assess the house. This raises questions about what he’s burning and why he is burning them. We are also left with an air of mystery surrounding the revolver under Rilke’s floorboards, is it in innocuous, collectable artifact from the auction room or is it kept for more sinister reasons? This is never elaborated upon in the novel and can be deemed to be a red herring for readers; this is in keeping with the traditional detective stories and is another example of how the author is attempting to work within the existing literary genre.  The author is using a contemporary example of the genre to ‘reflect earlier established conventions’ (Klein, 1999: 1). As discussed earlier, the parameters of the genre are well known and are ‘widely accepted and easily accessible’ (Klein, 1999: 1) and as a result they become the norm, we expect them to be present within a crime novel and Welsh has not disappointed us by excluding them.

The conventions of the crime fiction genre are ever present in the novel and they play up to archetypes and stereotypes. The novel plays up to the stereotype of Glasgow’s ‘reputation as a villains playground’ (Burgess, 1998: 264) and it also shows us a darker underbelly that has not been highlighted in other Glaswegian fiction. This darker side to the city is perhaps even too murky for another famous, fictional Glaswegian detective, Taggart, a detective who ‘investigated intricately plotted crimes’ (Burgess, 1998: 264) in the city. This seedier and darker side of Glasgow that’s to be found in Welsh’s novel demonstrates that writers are ‘looking at a contemporary city with clear and informed eyes’ (Burgess, 1998: 261). This renewed look upon the city allows us to see it in a different light; we can explore aspects that we never knew existed and we are exposed to sub-cultures that thrive in the dark corners of society. This is relevant for such groups as the camera club, who are embroiled in a rather murky world of pornographic photography, all taking place under the seemingly innocent guise of a hobby or enthusiasts club.  But, we are still witnessing this world within the existing framework of the literary genre.

Crime fiction is a form that ‘by being so close to the populist grass roots, is in direct contact with social and political attitudes’ (Klaus & Knight, 1998: 8). This contact and connection allows readers to understand the traditional conventions of the genre. It also reflects the changing attitudes of society and this is evident with the choice of the author to make Rilke a homosexual. This brings into question sexuality and gender, which plays upon the notion of archetypes within the genre. It has been said that even if archetypes could be ‘embodied in an artistic verbal text, the traditional novel would not offer an appropriate framework’ (Whyte, 1995: 65). This highlights how the author has attempted to stay within the confines of the traditional conventions, but she has also evolved the traditional framework in order to incorporate her character and her narrative.