I’m guessing the earlier comment about how Ian [Rankin] could choose who he wanted to talk to – when an online festival meant anyone anywhere could be available – resulted in asking Lawrence Block.
No, I didn’t know who Lawrence was, until I saw his photo in the programme and thought, ‘oh, him’. So I recognised him. He seems to be a crime writing’s grand old man, and Ian interviewed him in his New York home. Lawrence was perfectly posed, while Ian was rather blurry.
Although, as I was mostly grilling halloumi for dinner, I wasn’t watching, but listening. To begin with their chat reminded me of some interviews I’ve done, where everything moves like treacle, but it got better.
Much better. I grew quite fond of Lawrence, in fact. He’s a man who no longer has a need to buy green bananas. And he’s hated flying for the last nineteen years, each year worse than the one before. His lockdown has been all right; he doesn’t need to go anywhere.
Ian, on the other hand, has a bus pass, except he’s not been on a bus for ages, and is not likely to start now. He admitted to stealing a character from Lawrence. He also admitted to leaving this character out of one of his books, in order to please a critic, only to realise how wrong that felt.
There’s a difference between American crime writers and Scottish ones, but once they warm up it doesn’t seem to matter.
When my weeks have nine days in them, I will look into reading one of Lawrence’s novels.