Stuart MacBride was born in Dumbarton, but ran away to join the circus at the age of nine, where he specialised in wrestling bears for money (Going on to represent Great Britain at the Atlanta Olympics). In 1975 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his revolutionary work on Irn-Bru, then went on to create the world’s biggest ball of bellybutton lint. In 1989 he joined the secret intelligence service, but was later invalided out due to a back injury sustained while performing a reverse-overhead-piledriver on a grizzly bear. Now confined to his pyjamas, Stuart fritters away his time writing crime novels set in Aberdeen and lying to journalists.
Or at least, that’s the version of events I gave Trend Magazine. They published it too…
In real life I was born in Dumbarton — no one knows why, not even my mother — and moved up to Aberdeen at the tender age of two, dragging my mother, father, and a pair of wee brothers with me. There followed a less than stellar academic career, starting out in Marchburn Primary School, where my evil parents forced me to join the cub scouts (specialising in tying unnecessary knots in things and wearing shorts). Thence to Middlefield Academy for some combat recorder practice.
Having outstayed our welcome in Heathryfold we stopped thencing and tried going hence instead. To Westhill. To a housing development built over the remains of a pig farm. Sounds a bit suspect, but that’s what the official story was when all the householders found teeth and bones coming to the surface of their neatly tended vegetable plots. Pig farm. Right… Eventually I escaped from Westhill Academy with a CSE in woodwork, a deep suspicion of authority, and itchy shins.
Here followed an aborted attempt to study architecture at Herriot Watt in Edinburgh, which proved to be every bit as exciting and interesting as watching a badger decompose. If you’ve never tried it, I can wholly recommend giving it a go (watching mouldy badgers falling to bits, not architecture). So I gave up the life academic and went a-working offshore instead. That involved a lot of swearing as I recall. Swearing and drinking endless cups of tea. And I think I had Alpen every morning for about a year and a half. Can’t look at a bowl of the stuff now without getting the dry boak, sod how regular it keeps you. After my stint offshore I had a bash at being a graphic designer, a professional actor, an undertaker, a marketing company’s studio manager, a web designer, programmer, technical lead… Then last, but by all means least, finally circling the career drain by becoming a project manager for a huge IT conglomerate.
Anyway, while I was doing all that IT stuff, I wrote a wee book about an Aberdonian detective sergeant and his dysfunctional colleagues: Cold Granite. HarperCollins bought it, and overnight I went from a grumpy project manager caterpillar to a writing butterfly. As long as you can picture a six-foot-tall, pasty-white, bearded butterfly with no wings, that spends all its time hanging about the house in its jammies.