So now, alas, things start to smell like a corpse under the floorboards. When you enter the room everything looks bright and clean. Then you hear scratching sounds, detect a whiff coming from somewhere. Unsettled, you investigate, lift up the floorboards, and there it is, rats gnawing at a corpse. So it is with publishing in Scotland. HIE, Creative Scotland, indirectly, Scottish Book Trust, and three publishers, Sandstone Press, Birlinn, and Floris are all feasting away on the taxpayers corpse. No interloping, mendicant rat, however desperate, is allowed so much as a taste. It's all for the them, the boss rats. The biggest beneficiary of such closed shop corruption appears to be Sandstone Press, Nicola Sturgeon's publisher, and which has survived from its inception on taxpayers subsidies (arranged by HIE and Creative Scotland) while putting up a false front as a flourishing independent publishing company. But Birlinn and Floris, it appears, are not squeaky clean either. You can learn all about it on the Strident Publishing website. As for me, it makes me more sad than angry. At the very least one could have hoped that the thrust for an independent Scotland would have come from people of a higher moral calibre. Instead we have the usual shoddy, self serving clowns and a stench that reminds me of the entrenched corruption I whiffed when I lived in Spain during Franco's dictatorship.
Speaking of Spain, I'm in a mind to publish in book form my father in law's oral recollection of serving as a Scottish volunteer with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. They were recorded for the Imperial War Museum, but I'll have to get all the necessary permissions sorted out before I go ahead, so we'll see.
Anyway I'm in Portugal at the moment with the Mrs. trying to sort out some affairs. The other day I was short of an official paper, so I had to go to three offices all in separate buildings and each with queues of half an hour or more before I got attended, only to be told in the last office that I didn't need the said paper and to go back to the first office! Such is life.
As soon as I get back to Skye in a couple of weeks I'm going to get the subscription service properly set up so that when you join the Flame Books Membership the newsletter will arrive automatically in your e-mail box. How complicated these things are for a WHOM like myself...
Meanwhile, you can go to www.flamebooks.net, click on More, and become a member. Thanks. Rupert