Gordon Legge – A Little Appreciation
I lost my bank cards last week. Of course I found them in my other trousers when I got home, but it was too late, I’d cancelled everything. No new books for a week. So I consoled myself with re-reading Gordon Legge.

Legge has written two novels and two short story collections. Nothing since 1998 and from what I can Google, he seems quite content to leave it there.

His timing was spot on, a young Scottish novelist emerging in the late eighties. He contributed to the two Albion Rovers collections on Rebel Inc and wrote short stories for the Clocktower Press, bagging awards along the way. This was a time when living in Scotland and not being a writer was unthinkable. Early on he was inevitably lumped in with Irving Welsh, mainly because drugs drop in and out of his stories, but his voice is gentler, funnier and the drugs are minor props.

Legge’s characters spend their time commuting between the holy trinity of pub, football and music. Richard is cool because he has 3,000 singles, Fids is avoided because he’s dodgy in a small town way. A typical story will start, “So I went for this interview and the bloke said, ‘Right, you’ve got two minutes, name 50 singles by the Fall‘ and I only just did it.” Another concerns a group of friends taking ecstasy for the first time, “Rab came into the lounge saying ‘I understand the sixties.'”

Not all are like this. The story on Hillsborough is bitter and sad, from discovering the news at a Falkirk game to John Peel’s comments on the radio. Legge quotes from across the board, sussing reactions, trying to understand the implications, “The trouble with football is no-one ever agrees on anything.”

I saw him once at a book launch for Ianthe Brautigan’s memoirs. He’d organised a crate of beer for those who turned up and talked about the fortunes of Falkirk FC. The lady Brautigan looked bemused. He was his writing.

The Brown Wedge