Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad (from your no. 1 son!)

By Russel D McLean

Waddaya mean I’m late?

Yes this is later in the day than usual, but its down to lack of planning on my part. See, today is my dad’s Birthday (a significant one) so I deliberately changed my days off from work so I could see him. Unfortunately this resulted in me getting very confused about days of the week and saving a very very good* post on revision on my laptop and not putting it on DSD. (don’t worry I’ll post it for next week)

However, it does mean I have this ten minute gap in which to get online and say happy 65 to my dad. After all, he is the one who made me turn to crime.

When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with become an SF writer. I wanted to be the next Philip K Dick without the slight madness and the multiple marriages. But try as I might, I wasn’t getting anywhere. Until my dad gave me a copy of Mr Majestyk by Elmore Leonard and When The Sacred Ginmill Closes by Lawrence Block. Sci-fi still formed a major part of my reading after that, but interspersed with these brilliant, dark, engrossing contemporary crime novels. I devoured them. I moved onto other authors such as James Ellroy. And eventually moved into crime writing.

I also sneaked a listen to my dad’s stories, which he wrote for BBC4 back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. He was a talented writer, and I think that while he only did it occasionally, I could see where my need to tell stories came from (I also figured that he got paid for these stories, so conceivably if you wrote even more than he did you might be able to earn a living from scribbling – boy was that notion in for a pummeling over the next decade or so!)

My dad had always fuelled my passion for storytelling. When I was young he would record my favourite stories on tape for me to listen to. He would read The Hobbit with me at bedtime and did a great job voicing the Trolls (from what I remember). He encouraged me to write. He encouraged me to read.

So happy birthday, Dad. I hope you’ve had a great day and thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me over the years (not just the beard I clearly inherited). To celebrate, here’s a little number from one of your old vinyl’s that I loved as a kid (and still do today!)

*probably. But then again, probably not.

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