Sunday, 15 February 2015

Book Review: Escobar Walker - Bowling Ball & Sideways Movers

Over the past four months, Twitter is a tool I’ve failed to use with aplomb. It has its uses, though.

In reply to one of Irvine Welsh’s retweets pertaining to “Mike Hunt’s Wholesale Cars”, my reply was met with a “favourite” by a chap named Escobar Walker. My first “favourite” on Twitter, to be precise.

Now, as this inaugural milestone came to pass, I decided to do some reconnaissance on the individual of this timely digital nod in my direction. This Escobar Walker character. To say I was pleasantly surprised was understated. The bloke was an author! Furthermore, his books were released electronically!

As an aspiring eBook story teller/satirist, I appeared to have stumbled upon common ground. On bloody Twitter! Who would’ve thought? Escobar Walker was and still is streets ahead of my dream, though. He’s sold over 7,500 copies of his first novel, Bowling Ball, for a start. Suffice to say, I jumped onto iTunes and procured myself a copy, along with Sideway Movers; his second oeuvre.

This is the beauty of eBooks. I’m certain Bowling Ball wouldn’t have passed the gate keepers of the “big five” publishers. That’s what makes Bowling Ball all the more awesome! It’s close to Irvine Welsh, no doubt. I’d go as far to say that Bowling Ball may even be cruder than its forefather and that takes some doing; coffee tables (not involving the late Don Lane) and public urinals. I say no more.

People will lament over the typos and grammar of Bowling Ball, but all told, the story is so side splittingly hilarious that any qualms over anything else prove trivial. From Chaz Nisbet selling Delonghi Toasters and having a sidekick occupying taxi boots to rob customers of personal effects, to Alan Dempster cunningly scouring for every pint consumed like a miser shit house rat, dare I say this is not a journey for the faint hearted. A patent head jerker for the bleeding heart liberal. That’s fine, though. Close to the bone stiff upper lip satire is the best and personally, my favourite! It’s the best because it breeds reality and Bowling Ball is full of that.

Sideways Movers is a ‘mature’ second effort, and although perhaps not as comical, its execution transcends its predecessor. It’s more of a novel and less like a bunch of short stories cobbled together, which some may accuse Bowling Ball of. Personally, though, I like the haphazardness of Bowling Ball. Perhaps it can be classed as an accidental work of art; a mere stagger upon social consciousness.

I’m sure the bourgeois will have their say on the matter, with the same lines once again trotted out. The “anti-literature” tag, or “art for the lower social deck” pompous noise. These are nothing more than ridiculous slogans of shallow superiority.

As for the high-brow, pessimistic eBook detractor? No doubt Alan Dempster will be seen as Mark Renton, Ronnie Nisbet as Sickboy while his sociopath brother, Chaz, as Francis Begbie. Pastiche is fine, though. Pastiche, for me, is refinement.

It’s simple. The world needs more slash and burn literature. It’s a must for our cultural dietary requirement. Such art form can close the gap between those who don’t possess a qualification etched on a piece of fucking paper and those who do. It can bridge the gap for those feeling disenchanted because they couldn’t afford to go to university and had to settle for a dead end nine-to-five job. It’s an art form for the blue collar worker and that’s important. It can perhaps help break the boundaries of these ridiculous social classes that perpetuate throughout generations. 

I’m not sure whether Escobar Walker knows just how important his work is, but believe me, it most certainly is. I can’t wait for the next instalment.

By Simon K.