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Thread: Espedair Street

  1. #1

    Default Espedair Street

    Hello everyone. New poster here. I'm a big fan of Espedair Street and have read it several times. However I recently gave a loan of it to my girlfriend who also enjoyed enormously.

    Does anyone know how Iain researched it and did he ever live in Paisley? I would suspect yes as I know a lot of the locations in it(and in Glasgow!)and came to the conclusion that such an intimate knowledge could only be derived from living there.

    Thanks for any feedback

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Hi there Davey.

    I can't remember if Iain has ever lived in Paisley, but I think mosr of his Fiction novels are based in & around real Scottish places & experiences.

    Iain is also very into his music.

    Have you read any/many of his other novels?
    "Just have fun"

  3. #3

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    Hi Deep Black

    If I could e-mail I'd ask him! We were talking about a few of the pubs and their locations(in Espedair St) the other night trying to figure out what they are now but there were a few differing suggestions!

    Yes, I've read the Wasp Factory, The Crow Road and Whit!...all a long time ago though.

    As I said previously, such vivid descriptions surely derive from direct experience.

  4. #4
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    From the ever lovely Banks FAQ:

    Q. Is there such a place as Espedair Street? And does Wykes Folly exist?

    A. Yes and No. Espedair Street can be found in Charleston, Paisley. Wykes Folly is "kind of an amalgam of various things, slightly weird properties on that side of Glasgow...the exact place is fairly well-defined, because it's on a corner between three different streets. I think when I wrote it, it was an old tenement, a block of flats, and I think they'd already boarded it up because it was about to be knocked down. I think it's now an office building or something, in the exact position." (source: Time Off interview, 1995)
    Lurker at the threshold

  5. #5
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    Iain was born in Dumfermline when he parents lived in North Queensferry. When he was about seven, they moved to Gourock and he went to schools in Gourock and Greenock. He then went to Stirling University. I don't think he ever lived in Paisley, but he lived fairly close to it in the Seventies. Weird "discovers" Frozen Gold in Union of Paisley College of Technology, and I expect Iain had attended gigs there, as he has talked about visiting friends who attended different universities. Iain tends not to do research, generally relying on things that he picks up through everyday living. I would say his knowledge comes from his student days and hanging out with those that lived in those places rather than being a local himself.

  6. #6

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    I remember Iain at a signing once saying that Espedair Street is between two railway lines (or possibly three), so it's always on the wrong side of the tracks and that was one of the reasons he picked it. And that he'd walked down it but not met a old girlfriend there (possibly a mate and they went for a drink...? Memory dim there)

  7. #7

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    Dave

    Thanks for that. I suppose if he knew Greenock and Gourock, it's possible that he'd go to Paisley as the nearest large town. I don't think that the descriptions in the book could have been taken 'second hand', as it were.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by FearfulSymmetry View Post
    I remember Iain at a signing once saying that Espedair Street is between two railway lines (or possibly three), so it's always on the wrong side of the tracks and that was one of the reasons he picked it. And that he'd walked down it but not met a old girlfriend there (possibly a mate and they went for a drink...? Memory dim there)
    Fearful

    Espedair St is near Canal Street train station. Don't know if theres another railway line near it. Years later after I read the book, my sister lived at the beginning of Espedair Street cobbles and all!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FearfulSymmetry View Post
    I remember Iain at a signing once saying that Espedair Street is between two railway lines (or possibly three), so it's always on the wrong side of the tracks and that was one of the reasons he picked it. And that he'd walked down it but not met a old girlfriend there (possibly a mate and they went for a drink...? Memory dim there)
    Near the start of the book, that's how he described Ferguslie Park; "Ferguslie Park lay in a triangle of land formed by three railway lines, so no matter which direction you approached it from, it was always on the wrong side of the tracks".

    The railway lines in question are the Glasgow to Gourock, the Glasgow to Ayr and a now disused line which used to serve the car plant at Linwood (it once continued to Barrhead, but that's another story).

    See the triangle on Google Earth http://goo.gl/maps/pKqK8

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