Hings: the B-Sides by Chris McQueer
Just when you thought it was safe to move past Hings and read something else (how dare you), we present... the B-Sides.Chris McQueer’s humour has achieved rave review through his debut collection and online, being described as “doing something similar for Glasgow” as Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting did for Edinburgh, so it’s a fine time to give you some more. Eight more stories, in fact.Chris’ writing is weird and really bloody wonderful, and the B-Sides is that little refresher of short stories to keep you going.
After finishing Hings a few months ago, I tweeted McQueer begging to know if he was going to grace us with another masterpiece. Although he assured me he would, he also stuck in the wee jolting fact that it won’t be with us until next year. I can’t have been the only one with this appetite, and thank god, because now the B-Sides have arrived with us.
Comprised of eight short stories which didn’t make the final cut for Hings, it’s a perfect wee collection to keep us all going, and to whet our whistles for what’s to come in the future. Where the original Hings family was a dysfunctional one, the B-Sides are the members of the clan who were just that wee bit too weird, were shunned by everyone else, and eventually moved to Rothesay.
I got through all of these in a forty minute train journey, and I don’t really want to think that anyone was watching me reading. My standard commuting bitchface took on a look of familial pride as I got tore into Sammy’s Maw’s New Motor, I let out an endearing dry boke cough during Bursting, was wide-eyed in astonishment at the appearance of my paramour John MacKay in News, and best of all started laughing mentally at Love is Love, my favourite of the eight. They all must’ve thought the weird wee lassie in the corner seat had been on the halves at lunchtime.
The absolute worst part for me was knowing there were only thirty two pages, and by the time the train stopped at Larky, it’d all be over once again. The B-Sides have done nothing to change my opinion of McQueer’s writing at all; hilarious and rank with stunning social commentary. And although I’ve never had a step-da, I’d encourage you to take a read of this if you feel like getting rid of yours.
Absolute belter once again; I am bursting for more.