Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The Book of Scotlands

I said I'd be back with more Momus, and here it is. He's written a couple of books recently, the dark and unpleasant Book of Jokes, and the one of more relevance to this blog, the Book of Scotlands.

A slim volume of mind-teasing treats, the Book of Scotlands offers playful and intriguing alternative universes to life in Scotland.

Some of the scenarios reflect situations around the globe: the reality of refugees is brought home through the interview with the Scot escaping genocide, and Scotland is compared to both Palestine (where the English build a barrier and execute Scottish artists living abroad) and Israel (where short range rockets are fired across the border, with Carlisle being particularly aggressive).

This book could be written about many countries of course: a Book of Belgiums might be particularly intriguing. But there is something encapsulable about a small country that might not be possible with a Book of Americas or a Book of Italies.

Other scenarios are absurd and playful: there's a Scotland where new buildings must exceed basic strangeness levels to get planning permission, and a Scotland that is towed to the Indian Ocean and left there.

From the tale of the Edinburgh tram driver who leads a highly ritualised yet fulfilling life to a list of pointless plagues to befall Scotland, from the Scotland that becomes as rich - and dull - as Monaco to the one where the only food is soup and nobody has any teeth, this is a book to set the imagination turning.

What would be in your alternative Scotland?

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