I’ve always thought that Iain Banks lives a wonderful life.
I remember some years ago, I was off sick from school and – as per usual whenever I was off sick – watching Channel 4 Schools (now 4Learning). There was some English programme on – that being English the subject, not the language, nor the nation – that profiled different British authors, their lifestyles, and their thoughts about writing. This particular episode featured Iain Banks.
I remember being surprised to learn that Banks only wrote for three months every year, from October to December if I rightly recall, and spent the rest of the year being a slacker (his choice of word, not mine). I immediately thought to myself, that’s what I want to do with my life.
The programme also showed ambiguous dramatised segments from arguably his most famous novel, The Wasp Factory. Quite unsettling indeed, even more so when spliced intermittently with footage of Banks himself whizzing around narrow, winding Scottish country roads on his motorbike.
I never got around to reading The Wasp Factory until late last year, when the days were getting shorter, the nights getting darker and colder. It’s an excellent read, though not for the faint hearted.