Last Word - Ron Butlin

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Ron Butlin

First record you ever bought
‘Nutrocker’ by B Bumble and the Stingers. A pioneering example of fusion – rock’n’roll meets Tchaikovsky. Still a landmark of tasteful desecration.

Last time you were chatted up
Last Saturday night! It was after I’d been auctioned for £500 at the Hatwalk charity event. Two very lovely and delightfully cleavaged young lawyers told me they wished they’d clubbed together to buy me! Really, it’s true!

First film you saw that really moved you
A cartoon of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.

First movie you ever went on a date to
As a Dumfries teenager I used to go into the Regal cinema with my friends to pick up girls in the half-dark. We thought the best way to gain their interest was to throw scrunched-up crisp packets at them. Innocence, of a kind.

First thing you do when you’ve got time off work
A complete day in bed.

Last great meal you cooked
For St Valentine’s Day I cooked Regi, my wife, a Tesco’s chicken Kiev. It took me a long time. I admitted defeat as we stood side by side at the sink scraping off the burnt bits.

Last extravagant purchase you made
Daniel Barenboim playing Beethoven’s Complete Piano Sonatas. Yes, the earth moved for me.

Last book you read
Some Chekov short stories which I’d read before – and will read again.

First thing you’d do if you ran the country
Fire all the power-mad politicians, which means most of them. Declare peace wherever possible, get rid of Trident, put teachers in charge of education and doctors and nurses in charge of the Health Service. Have free public transport for all. Institute a green agenda, make poverty history and then resign before I myself became power-mad.

Last meal on earth – what would it be
Lamb chops from Bismallah, the halal butcher in Edinburgh’s Nicolson Square. With a good, Chilean red wine.

Last time you exploited your position to get something
Using my Society of Authors card to get a discount in Blackwells.

Last time someone criticised your work
The Times recently reviewed the Citizens’ Theatre play of my novel The Sound of My Voice. Not only did the reviewer completely fail to engage with the play, but he also got the name of one of the actors wrong – and there were only two.

Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it
Tinned octopus – say no more.

First concert you ever attended
Dvorak’s Dumky Trio – over 40 years ago, and it’s still one of my favourite pieces of music.

Last time you bought someone flowers
For Regi. They looked like tulips. Purpley-red anyway – her favourite colour.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
I’m just finishing a new novel at the moment (Happy Hour) and can’t wait to start working and see what the characters have been up to during the night.

Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
Was that our dog, Amber, creeping into our bedroom?

Ron Butlin appears at the Writers’ Museum, Lady Stair’s Close, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, Wed 25 Jun, 10.45am.

Ron Butlin

Meet the acclaimed Edinburgh author who is Makar-designate 2008-2011. Organised by the Writers' Museum and Scottish PEN. To book call 0131 226 5590 or email office@scottishpen.org

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