Tony McKibbin writes for various magazines and journals in the UK and elsewhere. The website is a work in progress.

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Recent articles

Philippe Garrel

A Sorrow Beyond Self

It has become a truism that we recover from a break-up as we might recover from drugs, and science proves it: that the level of oxytocin flooding the brain resembles the pleasure principle of a good fix. The removal of the loved one, or the drug, leaves us bodily distraught. Is there any filmmaker who has coincided with this idle scientific fact and turned it into an aesthetic ongoing first princi…

Additional Pieces

Scotland and Film

A Wave of One's Own

A Wave of One’s Own Perhaps what recent Scottish cinema possesses is a misplaced sense of trust: that it believes in middle-management more than in the filmmakers who know what they are doing. Is this why so many projects are micro-managed into production, with constant babysteps under the guidance of the adults in the room, the people deciding which projects should be funded? In a £60…


Contemporary Scottish Short Stories

Knowing One's Own Mind

Scottish literature may appear minor next to English, French, Russian or Italian fiction. However, it still happens to be vast enough for any attempt at a summary in essay form to be foolish without winnowing the work down to a narrow corpus, a chiefly contemporary concern and a handful of stories. Many have surveyed a broader terrain — but even Alan Bold looked at only Modern Sottish Litera…




1 He said he never wanted much from life but he did want to be understood. I thought of husbands who say their wives can’t understand them or artists who feel they never get the recognition they deserve. But I also thought that when many insist people speak in cliches is this the listener or the speaker’s fault? Had I left it at that, if I hadn’t enquired further, the stock phras…




Trainspotting is a bit of a mishmash, a book written in a mix of Scots, Scottish English and standard English. It might not even be a novel. Ian Bell reckoned “the book's structure, as much that of a collection of short stories as of a novel, means that the narrative itself feels like an exercise in futility.” (Guardian) Here we have a book full of Edinburgh heroin-takers, drunks, …

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