Monday 22 August 2011

Wrong suspect

Around twenty years ago when I was living in London I knew an Andrew O'Hagan. He was the son of one of our directors and he worked in our post room before going to university. If I recall correctly, he wanted to be a writer. His parents came from Glasgow and they also had Ayrshire connections. All of this fitted in perfectly with the biography of the novelist Andrew O'Hagan. Even the photos on the books looked right.

But when O'Hagan came onto the stage he seemed too short. And the accent was wrong. I spoke to this O'Hagan afterwards and he was rather amazed to discover that he had a doppelganger.

O'Hagan's hour-long talk was an impressive performance, even if I disagreed with quite a bit. He spoke widely about the Scottish condition and the full talk is here. I liked this recollection:

I tried to tell a story my auntie had told at the counter of a chip shop in Shettleston. It was about the war, about an old couple in the Gallowgate who suffered a bomb blast that blew both of them out of their living room into the street below. They survived. ‘It was awright,’ said the man to a reporter later, ‘it’s the first time we’ve been oot thegither for 40 year.’
Unfortunately there was far too much of that mawkish collectivism that so mars Scottish life. It really will have to go if we ever become independent.

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