Stars In His Eyes



The first review is in for Smoke, posted by McDroll, and it’s 5 stars:

“So this is how it went for me last night. I went to bed thinking I’d make a
start on Nigel Bird’s brand new novella SMOKE and then hopefully manage to get
some sleep in. Two hours later I was still reading. Feeling guilty that it was
3am I turned off the light, only to switch it back on at 4.30am to finish
reading this superb tale about the high jinx that two young lads get up to in

Today will probably call for a sneaky nap at some point but do
you know, this story is well worth losing sleep over . What an excellent
storyteller Bird is in this tale of love and revenge.

The story
alternates between its two main characters, Jimmy and Carlos. Jimmy is still at
school, theoretically, but is one of those lads who has fallen through the
cracks in the system and is more likely to be seen pounding the streets of his
local community begging smokes or getting blitzed out of his head with his

Carlos has a swanky new motorised wheelchair, top notch, and was
Jimmy’s sister’s boyfriend before somebody tied him to a railway line and he
lost an arm and a leg. After a long period of therapy he’s back on the local
scene and hopes that Kylie will take him back and will allow him access to their
young son. Problems start when Kylie declares that the child isn’t

If you want to know what else happens, go read it for
yourself and plenty does happen involving fighting dogs, a Ford Capri and a
steam iron.

If you want to understand what is happening in contemporary
society in Scotland then Bird is handing it to you here on a plate; kids who
have been failed by the education system, poor housing, poor employment and
training opportunities, teenage pregnancies, alcohol and drug misuse and a
criminal sub culture. Sounds bleak but for many youngsters growing up today,
this is their reality and Bird moves into this world with such ease and makes
these characters real instead of government statistics.

There’s lots of
humour too. I loved the idea of Jimmy’s trousers being flown over the school
instead of one of those awful eco flags.

Mostly Bird writes about how
people care for each other; Jimmy’s tenderness with his little nephew, his
pride in his father, his love for his sister and even in the middle of a
cesspool of aggression and violence Bird shows the love Mickey has for Leo, his

If you haven’t used that little clicky finger today yet then go use
it now, this is a truly great piece of writing with characters that will live
long in your mind. I really hope to find out what adventure Jimmy has next. How
about it Nigel?”

That seriously brought a tear to my eye.


Posted by McDroll at 04:16

Leave a Reply