In this piece we hear from Tricia Golledge, a well experienced, locally based volunteer at Bloody Scotland, which takes place in the city of Stirling in September every year. A very friendly festival with a massive amount of choice it is always a joy to attend. They even have a local cocktail in honour of the event! This is Tricia’s story:
On a sunny weekend in September I, again, donned my blood splattered t-shirt and volunteered at Bloody Scotland Crime Festival, in Stirling. This is by no means an onerous task though it can be tiring. There is an element of frustration when the volunteer rota comes out and I must try and marry it up with the dog-eared brochure that I have been studying and marking with a Sharpie for months. For the past five years I have found that the panels I am desperate to see clash with my shift at a different venue. However, if you hang about in the Golden Lion Hotel long enough you will eventually bump into friends old and new, or even virtual; award winning authors; agents and even, one Saturday when the Old Firm were playing – my cousin. This year hindered by an injured leg, I was sent to do my usherette thing in The Albert Halls which was great as it meant less wear and tear on my leg but also meant fewer networking opportunities. However, I was lucky that for once I got to see most of the panels I wanted to and got time to see my old friends and new writer friends so that we could continue our planning for our upcoming pilgrimage to Iceland Noir in November.
For me the highlights of a weekend full of highlights were the firstly the fabulous MC Beaton and the Hollywood actress Ashley Jensen, both were not only entertaining but open and very funny. I have started to re-read MC Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth. I had forgotten how much of a fun read it is.
I also found the Ambrose Parry event inspiring. The writing duo that is Ambrose Parry i.e. husband and wife team Chris Brookmyre and his wife Marisa Haetzman discussed their jointly written novel ‘The Way of All Flesh’. It struck a chord with me as it came about through Marisa’s research on the birth of anaesthesia and is set around 1860s. I am also a fan of E S Thomson’s Jem Flockhart series set around this time and I found the panel fascinating, especially the fact that some of the historical facts were a bit too gruesome even for Chris Brookmyre. This is the beauty of volunteering at Bloody Scotland as I might have bypassed this panel, not having read much Chris Brookmyre in the past. The discussion has given me a much-needed spurt of inspiration and I have now dusted off my own research set in an asylum in 1888 and I am now putting the Sharpie to better use re-jigging my dissertation to form the bare bones of a novel.
Many festivals would never happen without volunteers. They are so important to the smooth running of events and the overall experience of those who take part. Often you will find them exceedingly knowledgeable, interesting and working on reading and writing projects of their own. Thanks for sharing your experience with us Tricia.