It’s a piece I wrote a couple of years ago following a trip to my home town in Scotland. Looking at it now it feels a bit self-conscious and wordy, and I freely admit it owes something to an article that appeared around that time in the Guardian which is a wonderful evocation of the ‘Auld Grey Toon’ where I grew up. Its author, Ian Jack, was editor of Granta at the time, and I did approach them with Afterlife, which was unsurprisingly rejected, though I did get a polite note back (which as any writer will tell you is better than a curt standard rejection!)
It all seems like a long time ago now (the trip, as well as my chldhood!) but it was a big part of the inspiration for my current W.I.P. which is taking off at last, and so maybe it’s a good omen that the article is now, thanks to Pygmygiant, seeing the light of day. Here are the pictures of the fire at St. Paul’s that are mentioned at the start of Afterlife. They are from the Dunfermline Press of July 9th 1976.