People say he’s wonderful – darkly comic apparently. All I can say is the funniest thing I have ever read by Mr Banks wasn’t even written by him, it was written by David Lodge. Mr Lodge writes a wonderful parody of the Scottish writer’s style in his novel Thinks. Now that is a wonderful novel. But I digress. Wonder why?
Crikey, they’re an unforgiving bunch these Scots. Woe betide anyone who gets caught with their trousers round their ankles at a wedding bash – and let’s face it who amongst us hasn’t done that? They hold it against you for the rest of your life. Tough crowd.
Not only that, they banish you from your hometown. And just to add insult to injury, they dangle you by your short and curlies over the local suspension bridge. Blimey! Never has a man been so vilified for obeying the law of the loins.
This adaptation of Iain Bank’s novel Stonemouth is a rather pedestrian affair with its continual voiceover and constant flashbacks. Basically it’s an everyday story of how a boy falls in love with a girl, cheats on her and has to leave town to avoid her crazy old family.
But deep down he still loves Ellie. Hell, can’t a guy even have a quickie in the toilet without being harangued about it for the rest of his days? Anyway it was only a ‘revenge quickie.’ Ellie had snogged another guy. Christ, have I been watching Hollyoaks..?
Ellie’s family live in a large, futuristic house, which can only mean one thing: daddy is a drugs baron. Just for once I wished he’d been a legit businessman - now that really would have been shocking: Wot no drugs baron?. Ellie is a volunteer drugs counsellor too! Irony of ironies!
To be honest it never really gets into second gear this; Stuart basically wanders the streets of his old town bumping into various people from his past (doesn’t this guy have a home to go to?). His best friend, Ellie’s’ brother, has committed suicide, so he’s been allowed home to attend the funeral.
And that’s about all there is to this two-part adaptation. Almost. There’s a sassy sister who has engaged in unnatural acts with the dead brother. Thankfully the acts were committed before brother threw himself off the bridge – because after would have just been weird. But Stonemouth is a weird place. All incest and quickies in toilets, not forgetting the bisexual sidekick. Must be something in those oysters after all.
Stonemouth – an everyday Scottish seaside town, more Gretna than Glasgow, yet it seems to be in the throes of some titanic power struggle betwixt two local hoodlums. Presumably they want to muscle in on the lucrative tea and scones industry.
The first episode ended on a cliff-hanger – literally - as Stuart found himself dangling over the suspension bridge, a warning to stay away from Ellie. These boys are certainly unforgiving I’ll give them that.
Stonemouth does indeed feel like a Scottish version of Hollyoaks, what with its largely fresh-faced cast of good looking boys and girls and a propensity towards the melodramatic. Even the local police look fresh out of nappies.
So what will happen next? I think we’ve guessed it. Stuart and Ellie reunite. Grumpy dad and psycho brothers forgive n’ forget. Sister gets counselling. Bisexual friend meets a tranny. And they all live happily ever after. You have been warned.