Harder, better, faster, stronger - Iain M. Banks interview

  • The List
  • 5 August 2010

This article is from 2010

Iain M. Banks Interview

The Fife-born author on Led Zeppelin, bacon rolls

The Fife-born author of 24 sci-fi books and mainstream novels talks to The List about Led Zeppelin, bacon rolls and his continual surprise at being even slightly famous

First record you ever bought
There were three, the day after I persuaded my parents to buy a decent stereo: Led Zeppelin I, Led Zeppelin II and Deep Purple In Rock.

First film you saw that really moved you
Possibly Greyfriars Bobby, an ancient Disney film, I believe. In my defence, I was terribly young.

Last lie you told
‘I’ll email you’. No idea who I said this to.

First movie you ever went on a date to
Nope; never done this.

Last time you cried
Can’t remember. Possibly watching Casablanca again, or at almost any Morton game.

First thing you do when you’ve got time off work
Go on a hill walk. Though, to be fair, this happens quite a lot even when I am supposed to be working.

Last great meal you cooked
Ha ha. I can just about follow a recipe, but by general consent there is never anything ‘great’ about the result.

Last extravagant purchase you made
Two items of ‘Bridge’ luggage; the larger wheelie cases.

First crush
Never really had a crush as such.

Last book you read
Solaris Book of new Science Fiction, Volume Three.

First great piece of advice you were given
Never bet on lower than a pair of tens.

Last time you were star struck
This is not a problem I’m afflicted with.

First thing you’d do if you ran the country
Demand a recount.

Last meal on Earth – what would it be
Rubbish, regardless, I’d imagine – wouldn’t you think?

First song you’ll sing at karaoke
Happily, I have succeeded in avoiding this entertainment form so far and have the firm intention of continuing to do so.

Last time you exploited your position to get something
I am proud to report that the words ‘Do you know who I am?’ have only ever passed my lips when I have been extremely drunk, and on such occasions they a) constitute a serious, literal enquiry and b) are slurred to the point of utter incomprehensibility. Phew!

First time you realised you were famous
Honestly, it still comes as a sort of continual surprise that I am, even slightly. So, earlier today, probably.

Last time someone criticised your work
Technically, quite possibly only about ten seconds ago, in a chat room. Happily I have no way of knowing (OK, I do have the means, just not the inclination).

First three words your friends would use to describe you
Still waiting to find out; the cunning rascals keep discovering the listening devices.

Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it
The rubbish phone I bought a fortnight ago when I realised I was off to the Prague Writers’ Festival and had left my iPhone at home. It’s pish. Can’t wait to get home and throw it away.

First concert you ever attended
Jack Bruce, in Paisley (Town Hall, I think), back in 1970 or 1971.

Last time you bought someone flowers
About a month or so ago (for my smashing girlfriend).

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
Muesli? ...or bacon roll?

Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
I’ll definitely have muesli for breakfast tomorrow.

Edinburgh International Book Festival, 14–30 Aug. The Highland Park Event, RBS Main Theatre, 0845 373 5888, 16 Aug, 8pm, £10 (£8).

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger?, Highland Park Spiegeltent, 0845 373 5888, 28 Aug, 7pm, £10 (£8)

Harder, better, faster, stronger?

In his guise as a science fiction writer, Iain M Banks has created a utopian interstellar civilisation known as the Culture. This imaginary community populated by ‘transhumans’ has real-life parallels in the work of Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics at Reading University. The subject of Warwick’s research is his own…

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