22. From barman to biographer

Rodge Glass – Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography

Rodge Glass: Alasdair GrayIn this week’s podcast, Rodge Glass tells me how, after his first disastrous meeting with Alasdair Gray in a bar in Glasgow, he later went on to be the writer’s student, amanuensis and eventually biographer.

Rodge recalls how Gray (a self-described “fat, spectacled, balding, increasingly old Glasgow pedestrian”, who is also the author of Lanark, widely regarded as the finest Scottish novel of the past century, as well as a host of other books and creator of many art projects), reacted when the biography was first mooted:

“Be my Boswell!” he shouted, dancing a jig around the room and raising a finger to the heavens. “Tell the world of my genius!”

In the interview, Rodge reflects on the experience of being himself a character in this unconventional life, and is frank about such things as his own feelings for Gray (“I have great affection for him”) and his uncertainty over what to make of Gray’s artwork.

You can read Gray’s own reaction to Glass’s biography here. And you can hear the great man himself in conversation with John Mullan about Lanark on this Guardian Books podcast recorded in London in 2007.

Here are two audio extracts from Rodge’s book:

“A Canary in Disguise”


And here are links to the titles that Rodge especially recommends to the newcomer to Gray’s work (click on the covers):

Alasdair Gray LanarkAlasdair Gray Poor Things

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