Tag Archives: glasgow

In which the author writes a column for the Glasgow Evening Times…


On Monday (16th January) the Evening Times ran an article on your humble author, headlined Meet the new Mr Glasgow the History Man. Reporter Russell Leadbetter chatted to me about The Little Book of Glasgow, including the story of the city in the Second World War, and the tendency of Glaswegians, historically, to prefer riots over battles.


The feature functioned as a trailer for a weekly column in the newspaper. From 23rd January I’ll have a column in the Evening Times every Monday. Entitled ‘Historical Times’, it consists of extracts from The Little Book of Glasgow – everything from sport to film, from architecture to pop stars, and from astronomical druids to zoological oddities.

In which the author releases The Little Book of Glasgow…

The Little Book of Glasgow is now officially published. A funny, fast-paced, fact-packed compendium of frivolous, fantastic and strange facts about Glasgow, it is, to use the conventional phrase, the perfect Christmas gift.


At a recent talk I had a number of advance copies for sale and signing, and they disappeared faster than Santa’s mince pies. Amazon has almost sold out already – just one left at the time of writing. Thanks to everyone who’s bought one.


There’s more here about the book here:





Watch the video trailer for The Little Book of Glasgow

In which the author announces the publication of The Little Book in Glasgow…


My next publication, The Little Book of Glasgow, officially hits the shops on 21st November. It is basically ‘1000 things you didn’t know about Glasgow’ – a mix of trivia, facts, bizarre historical titbits, artistic achievements, and peculiarities of animal and human behaviour.


If you do know Glasgow, I hope it will shine a light on areas that were previously in shadow; and if you are new to the city, welcome to its leftfield wonders.


The book is divided up into nine chapters:


Places – Here and Now, Then and There

The River Clyde and other Waterways

Wars, Battles and Riots

Crime and Punishment

Transports of Delight – From Trains to Trams, and from Stagecoaches to Seaplanes

Food and Drink

City of Culture

Sports and Games

The Natural World


The book will tell you where to find sculptures of a Native American chief and an Egyptian pharaoh; which Glasgow-set film was actually filmed in London; how many pairs of shoes were fleeced from the city’s textile manufacturers by Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobites; the story of how chicken tikka masala was invented in the city; and how Glasgow saved Britain in World War II.


There’s also oodles of stuff on everything from Glaswegian poets and authors of graphic novels to the tiger escape at Glasgow Zoo, the speed of 18th-century stagecoaches, and an investigation into deep-fried Mars Bars.


My favourite episode comes from the 1960s. A porpoise was discovered in a forgotten sack in the gents toilet at Central Station. It was never claimed and its skeleton is in the Kelvingrove Museum. Please, no jokes along the lines of “I’ve lost my porpoise in life.”

**CANCELLED** – ‘Paranormal Glasgow’ Talk and Signing

Wednesday 19th October 2011


7.00pm, The Ladywell, 
268-270 High Street,
 Merchant City,
 G4 0QT. Tickets £7 – limited numbers available, so please call 0141 552 7810 in advance to reserve your ticket.

In this intimate setting (see www.theladywell.com) I will be giving an extensive talk on the topics covered in Paranormal Glasgow:




    • Witchcraft in Glasgow, including the Witches of Pollok, and the Possessed Children of Bargarran and Govan
    • Miraculous Fasts, Emissaries from Hell and Murderous Doppelgangers
    • Spontaneous cases of Precognition, Crisis Visitations and Clairvoyance
    • Big Cats and Anomalous Racoons
    • Hunting The Vampire With Iron Teeth


Following the talk there will be time for questions. Copies of all of my books will be available for sale and signing.

In which the author goes back to prison with some vampires…

I’ve just been booked for another author’s visit to one of Her Majesty’s Prisons. This will be my fourth talk behind bars – and this time, by request, I’m doing it on vampires, which is a popular subject with the inmates of this particular prison.


So the Vampire with Iron Teeth (from Paranormal Glasgow) will be featuring, as well as the Vampire of Croglin Grange (from Paranormal Cumbria, which will be out in 2012) and an alleged vampiric attack in Highland Perthshire, which I covered in The Guide to Mysterious Perthshire.


I’ll also be dealing a little bit with the early history of vampires in English literature, noting how the vampire of East European folklore – basically a stupid, smelly peasant – became the suave, sophisticated aristocrat familiar from Dracula and similar fictions. I blame John Polidori (and if you say who? I would in normal circumstances suggest that you attend the talk; but as this would involve committing a serious crime and then getting banged up in the Big House, perhaps this is not a recommended course of action).


As you might imagine, you can’t just waltz into a prison. Checks are made, paperwork is processed, and the prisoners themselves have to be available on the day and time specified. Then you find yourself leaving your mobile with a reception guard and being escorted through a labyrinth of doors and corridors to a room in which sit 25 prisoners, many of whom are avid readers. Usually the prison librarian has circulated my books before the visit, and so as soon as I say “Any questions?” at the end there is a forest of raised hands.


I’ve enjoyed every prison talk I’ve given, one of which brought up one of the strangest personal encounters I’ve ever been told by an audience member.  Usually people describe their experiences of seeing a UFO or a ghost – but this particular prisoner told me that, driving fast on a road in Fife one night, he passed a figure complete with scythe, black cloak and skull face – Death himself…

In which the author appears on the ‘History & Mystery Show’ on RedShift Radio…

On Tuesday 30th August I’ll be the feature guest on the ‘History & Mystery Show’, a weekly broadcast from the online community radio station RedShift Radio, based in Crewe. My interrogator will be the estimable ghost tour guide Mr. Tim Prevett. The show goes out from 10-11pm on Red Shift Radio and can be heard for the following six weeks on the station’s Listen Again facility – only without the music. Yes, I get to choose some of the tracks played during the show, so expect classic clattery-ah post-punk-ah from Manchester-ah, beautiful driving Krautrock, and bonkers Italian film soundtrack horror-prog. Yay!


As for the topics, Tim will be quizzing me on the Vampire with Iron Teeth and other stories covered in Paranormal Glasgow. Be prepared for urban legends, crypto-Communists, monster-hunts, Spring-Heeled Jack and city hobgoblins.