Gavin Bain - California Schemin’ (4 stars)

Gavin Bain - California Schemin’

(Simon & Schuster)

It’s not difficult to see why Irvine Welsh has been so drawn to this story of two Scottish boys who fooled the music industry into believing they were a pair of Californian rappers. There’s a fair smattering of sex, large dollops of drugs (legal and otherwise), a gutful of surreal setpieces and vast amounts of brass-balled derring-do as Gavin Bain and Bill Boyd transform themselves into Silibil ‘n’ Brains, and scoop a very healthy record deal before encountering the frustrating reality that fleeting fame can unleash upon the unsuspecting.

Their venture is no ordinary prank project, though. Bain and Boyd set out with admirable intentions of making it in showbiz, ambitiously trying to become the UK’s answer to Eminem. But when the pair are laughed out of one especially awful A&R audition and branded the ‘rapping Proclaimers’, they conclude that dropping the mother tongue and keeping it unreal is the only way to go. And so convincing are they in their new identities that not even D12, Madonna or Eminem smell a rat. But for two individuals with such all-consuming personalities, it’s only a matter of time before they are at each other’s throats with the end of the road all too nigh.

Bain’s writing is sensibly measured as he allows some of the more ludicrous events to be rendered without laying it on too thick, and he just about avoids making the inevitable fall from the heights of near-glory sound too familiar. The proposed future movie, with a screenplay by Sir Irvo, just about writes itself.


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