- Created: 04 December 2013 04 December 2013
It's unusual at a book launch for there to be so many people featured in a book, actually present. But John Herdman arrived well supported by many of the people whom he describes in Another Country.
This diehard crew consisted of friends from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, many of whom participated in the decade long session of Edinburgh gatherings know as 'The Heretics', whose monthly meetings are now the stuff of legend.
Also lurking in the audience at The Grassmarket Centre, were former fellows from the 1320 Club, to which John Herdman once belonged.
Seán Bradley of Thirsty Books
In its day, the 1320 club stimulated and proposed the formation of an alternative government and even an army to defend it, and was infiltrated by British state agents, and although the discussion after Herdman's reading suggsted that such infiltrations are still happening, there was at least no mention of or sight of any so-called 'Tartan terrorists'.
John Herdman also regaled us with tales of Hugh Macdiarmid, whom he first met in 1963, and other literary characters of the 60s and 70s such as Tom Scott, and the debate his readings prompted covered everything from Herdman's own work on the double in literature, to what post-2014 Scotland may look like.
John Herdman was also bolstered, almost in the tradition of a US 'roast', by Californian writer and friend Todd McEwen, who summarised the last 40 years of John's work, and his impact as both friend and writer.