Tag Archives: Costa
Not St.James in the Bible, the St.James Centre in Edinburgh. We all make mistakes, but if I was responsible for this one I’d be ashamed to show my face in public. It is a St.James Centre sign, not Costa. But didn’t Costa check or approve it before the Centre was allowed to use it? Did the copywriter get it wrong? All these new signs seem to be computer flat screens, so didn’t the person who set up the program notice? Or the person who set up the signs themselves? Or the St.James Centre manager? Whatever happened to Quality Control?
There is another possibility of course – that all these people noticed, and they thought it was right. Like the dentist.
This book is amazing. I had read a couple of Kate Atkinson’s books before I got round to this one. Several chapters into it I became bogged down with so many characters and backstory that I couldn’t keep track of things. I put it aside and read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.
Because I like Atkinson’s writing, and because she won the Whitbread Prize (now Costa Prize) for the book in 1996, I was sure the problem was mine rather than the book’s. I took it with me last weekend and sat in the sun on south bank of Loch Tay and read it from front to back. How did you do it, Kate? I couldn’t put it down. It is the most complicated and challenging novel I have ever read and I loved it.
While I’m dropping names, I met Ian Rankin in Costa’s in Edinburgh’s George Street a few years ago. He was next to me in the queue for coffee. I’m ten years older than him and age gives you that extra bit of cheek and confidence. ‘Mr Rankin,’ I said. ‘Loved your last book.’
‘Fleshmarket Close, you mean?’
I nodded. ‘Met you in Manchester, you presented me with a prize. I was one of the runners up for the Debut Dagger Award. I was writing as Alan Frost.’
I didn’t expect him to remember me. He didn’t. At the awards we’d chatted for some time. I was living in Edinburgh at the time and I remember him joking that he’d rather I didn’t set any of my novels there.
No competition from me, Ian. Six years on and I still haven’t been published. I just haven’t been sending my stuff off. Perhaps I should try harder – not at writing, because I have no problems there. Try harder to get published, I mean.
Rankin has a stock saying for prospective authors, ‘Keep writing!’
I came away feeling good, but kicking myself that I’d forgotten that he had just been awarded an Honorary Doctorate and I could – should, actually – have addressed him as Doctor Rankin, not Mister.
Now that really would have been a nice touch.