The Interrobang Interrogation – Katharine Macfarlane (Redux)

It’s just one day until #TrumpInauguration, and two days until The End of the World (Party). So let’s take this last chance to settle down in the company of Katharine Macfarlane, shall we?

But not at interrobang!
The end of the world DOES lose all mirth for you.

Since we last heard from her, Katharine has added placing at the Scottish Slam Championships to her Harpies, Fechters and Quines Slam title! So we’re very excited to have her come through and give us an interesting perspective on the Trumpocalypse.

Here’s how Katharine answered our questions:

‽:  So, it’s the end of the world. If you weren’t at Interrobang’s apocalyptic party, where would you be and what would you be doing? (Don’t be afraid to give us the juicy details).

KM: Is this your polite way of saying I’m not getting an invite to Interrobang’s Apocalypse Party??!! I’d be in my happy place; on a beach, bonfire, bottle of talisker, some lovely people playing tunes…basically  Interrobang’s Apocalypse Party but on the beach!

Beach!! GEDDIT!!!
Hi! Welcome to the INTERROBANG?! “Beach” party!!
‽: Without giving too much away, could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the pieces you’ll be sharing with us at Interrobang?

KM: It’s all about Mary Anne.

‽: Picture it – all around the world, books are being taken and destroyed, except literature that upholds our new President’s literary sensibilities. You have the chance to save three books from this Reign of Terror; what would they be?

KM:  No surprise they’re all children’s books… The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Yendor – Rodney Matthews, The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

Books for kids are a good thing: Exhibit A
(h/t @alastairmjsmith for RTing this)

‽: Pick a song or piece of music that you would have played as your personal soundtrack as the world crumbles around you.

KM:

Now, THAT’S going on the Interrobang?! EotW playlist!

‽: Describe, in three words if possible, your feelings on Trump’s Presidency?

KM: Send help (sorry)

Thanks a lot to Katharine, who’s retained her Interrobang?! Interrogation Championship! Come along and find out who Mary Anne is at Interrobang’s End of the World Beach Party at Woodland Creatures at 7pm on 21st January.

Beach not guaranteed.

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The Interrobang Interrogation – Andrew Blair

Is it just us, or does that asteroid look bigger? Better get some more INTERROBANG?! Interrogations out before the End of the World!

Ricky Interrobang is still confused about how to feel about the sweet, sweet release of the apocalypse. So we’re subjecting another guest to the anglepoise treatment. ANDREW BLAIR writes things. Sometimes he says them too. He says it’s going alright, actually. Thanks for asking.

And here’s how Andrew answered our questions…

Can you spare the price of 5 loaves and 2 fish?!
A guy who looks this messianic MUST have some answers. Right?!

‽:  So, it’s the end of the world. If you weren’t at Interrobang’s apocalyptic party, where would you be and what would you be doing? (Don’t be afraid to give us the juicy details).

AB: I’d probably be at home, not really doing anything. If the world was going to end I’d probably put the heating on.

She's just like us, y'know
One’s got the two-bar fire on. Andrew will be here in a minute.

‽: That should move things along. Without giving too much away, could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the pieces you’ll be sharing with us at Interrobang?

AB: You guys came up with a theme and fortunately I already had a lot of poems about futility and disappointment.

Oh, you're gonna fit right in.
“Here’s one I wrote earlier.”

‽: Picture it – all around the world, books are being taken and destroyed, except literature that upholds our new President’s literary sensibilities. You have the chance to save three books from this Reign of Terror; what would they be?

AB:  The Handmaid’s Tale, The Crow Road, and Robert Pattinson (The A-Z)

‽: Pick a song or piece of music that you would have played as your personal soundtrack as the world crumbles around you.

AB: Halcyon (Beautiful Days) by Mono. Or if time is an issue, Girl From Mars by Ash.

We have all the time in the world (8m 09s)

‽: Describe, in three words if possible, your feelings on Trump’s Presidency?

AB: I am terrified.

Thanks a lot to Andrew for making us think that the end of the world might be a good thing, on balance. Come along and hear more from him at Interrobang’s End of the World Party at Woodland Creatures at 7pm on 21st January.

We think it’ll be a good thing, on balance.

The Interrobang Interrogation – Ryan Van Winkle

There ain’t no party like an End of the World Party!

But the problem with an End of the World Party is that, while there’s frivolity and fun and drinking and stuff, it’s… well… y’know, the end of the world. It’s all very confusing, so we’ve decided the enlist the help of our awesome guests to get us in the right mindset. First up is RYAN VAN WINKLE!

Incoming! Brace. Brace! BRACE!
Ryan’s tip #1: Adopt the foetal position.

Ryan is a poet, live artist, podcaster and critic living in Edinburgh. His second collection, The Good Dark, won the Saltire Society’s 2015 Poetry Book of the Year award. His poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland, The Prairie Schooner and The American Poetry Review.

As a member of Highlight Arts he has organized festivals and translation workshops in Syria, Pakistan and Iraq. He was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson fellowship in 2012 and a residency at The Studios of Key West in 2016. You can find his website at www.ryanvanwinkle.com.

And here’s how Ryan answered our questions:

‽:  So, it’s the end of the world. If you weren’t at Interrobang’s apocalyptic party, where would you be and what would you be doing? (Don’t be afraid to give us the juicy details).

RVW: I would gather as many friends & fireworks as I could in one place and we’d go out with a giant bang.

Any chance of a ride?
Hi? I’m looking for Ryan’s party?

‽: Without giving too much away, could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the pieces you’ll be sharing with us at Interrobang?

RVW: The inspiration for Untitled (Snoopy) was an essay on the ‘worst opening line in English literature’. I wanted to play with the very purple and cliched expression It was a dark & stormy night and this poem grew from that experiment.

Snoopy and Lucy Van Winkle
Everyone’s a critic.

‽: Picture it – all around the world, books are being taken and destroyed, except literature that upholds our new President’s literary sensibilities. You have the chance to save three books from this Reign of Terror; what would they be?

RVW: George Saunders – Civilwarland in Bad Decline, Brian Stevenson – Just Mercy: A Story of Redemption & Justice, and Mary Ruefle – Trances of the Blast.

‽: Pick a song or piece of music that you would have played as your personal soundtrack as the world crumbles around you.

RVW: Hanson – MMMBop

Fair enough, really.

‽: Describe, in three words if possible, your feelings on Trump’s Presidency?

RVW: sensitive, surreal, stoic

Thanks a lot to Ryan for getting us in the mood for the end of the world! Come along to Interrobang’s End of the World Party at Woodland Creatures at 7pm on 21st January and see if you can bear his sensitivity, surrealism, and stoicism (and acclaimed work!) in the flesh.

If it really is the end of the world, it’ll be one hell of a way to go out!

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The Interrobang Interrogation – Gavin Inglis

It’s the War On Christmas Eve!

Well, not Christmas Eve. We like Christmas Eve. It’s… well, never mind. Let’s try that again.

We’ve got another Interrobang Interrogation with a featured 404 Ink author today – Gavin Inglis.

Gavin writes games and interactive stories, contributing to fitness app Zombies, Run! and gothic tea-break epic Fallen London. Depending on your mood, you can try his sensitive mental health piece Hana Feels (http://hanafeels.com/) or wreak a blood-soaked revenge on your home town in the phone game Neighbourhood Necromancer.
(https://www.choiceofgames.com/neighbourhood-necromancer/)

His book Crap Ghosts is an ideal Xmas present for those hard-to-please relatives. You can find Gavin at www.gavininglis.com, and @gavininglis on Twitter.

"A questionnaire, you say? Sounds like fun!"
Gavin models his Christmas jumper

And here’s how Gavin answered our questions:

‽:  If you had to write a letter to ‘Santa’, is there anything you’d particularly like to say to him?

GI:  Thanks for that Fisher-Price garage; it was totally worth waiting a year for.

‽:  What film would you choose to watch at Christmas?

GI:  Trading Places

‽:  Is there a Christmas tradition you’d love to get rid of?

GI:  I’d criminalise the display of any Xmas merchandise before Dec 11th.

‽: What song would you like as your entry music at War on Christmas? Or should we just choose something?

GI: I’m Gonna Spend my Christmas With a Dalek by the [English, 1960s] Go-⁠Gos.

‽: You’re talking Ricky Interrobang’s language!

‽: What’s on your Christmas wishlist this year?

GI:  I’d just like people to be nicer to strangers this year.

Thanks a lot to Gavin for that wee aperitif! Come along to Interrobang and 404 Ink – The War on Christmas at The Bongo Club on 9th December as he delivers a quick appetizer and then a main course of his story from 404 Ink Issue 1: Error!

The Interrobang Interrogation – Christina Neuwirth

Knock-knock. Who’s behind door number 5 of our War on Christmas?! advent calendar? Why, it’s another 404 Ink featured author, Christina Neuwirth!

Aargh! Look to the left!! Krampus!!!
Christina enjoying her interrogation altogether too much. (Photo credit: Andrew Perry)

Christina Neuwirth was born in Austria and now lives in Edinburgh where she splits her time between working at Scottish PEN and the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (home of the Dangerous Women Project). She has produced and written short films, performed at the International Storytelling Festival, and dabbled in music production. Her short fiction has been published in Gutter and 404 Ink, and her non-fiction can be found on CommonSpace. Her novella Amphibian was shortlisted for the 2016 Novella Award. She is currently writing her first novel. You can say hi at @gwynn255. Find Scottish PEN at @ScottishPEN and www.scottishpen.org, and the Dangerous Women Project on @DangerousWomen_ and www.dangerouswomenproject.org.

And here’s how Christina answered our questions:

‽:  If you had to write a letter to ‘Santa’, is there anything you’d particularly like to say to him?

CN:

Dear Santa,

In my country, you don’t exist. I was never taught to believe in you. Instead, we have a little angel child who wears a nightgown and has curly blonde hair and is also Jesus.

Love,

Christina

‽: What film would you choose to watch at Christmas?

CN: My sister and I always watch the highly underrated 1998 animated feature Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie on VHS. My dad has kept the VHS player around for precisely this reason. It’s a great tradition.

‽: Is there a Christmas tradition you’d love to get rid of?

CN: Krampus. He is terrifying. On 5 and 6 December, Krampus, who is St Nicolas’s friend/sidekick/nemesis walks the streets. He is a furry goat-footed horned long-tongued devil creature who, in the spirit of Christmas, threatens children with bodily harm for their sins. Festive!

‽: What song would you like as your entry music at War on Christmas? Or should we just choose something?

CN: All I Want for Christmas Is You, please. It’s the best one. (If someone’s already picked that I’m also happy with Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree).

‽: Oh, we think that can be arranged. 👹 In the meantime, here’s Mariah…

‽: What’s on your Christmas wishlist this year?

CN: I know I can’t actually make this happen with my wish but I’d really like some snow this year.

Thanks a lot to Christina for her banging answers to The Interrobang Xmas Interrogation. Come along to Interrobang and 404 Ink – The War on Christmas at The Bongo Club on 9th December for more of Christina being her awesome self!

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The Interrobang Interrogation – Chris McQueer

We’re in December, or in Irish (we’re told), the month of Christmas.  In Scottish Gaelic, it’s effectively (apparently) the darkness.

So let’s kick off the countdown to The War on Christmas?! with an Interrobang Interrogation of 404 Ink featured author, Chris McQueer…

A cheeky little fortified wine brewed by monks in Devonshire
Administer the truth serum!

Chris McQueer is a 25 year old writer and sales assistant from Glasgow. His work has appeared in The High Flight fanzine, The Football Pink magazine and most recently in 404 Ink: Error. When he isn’t selling shoes, busting queues or writing weird short stories, you will most likely find him spouting nonsense at house parties with a bottle of Buckfast in hand.

And here’s how Chris answered our questions:

?!: If you had to write a letter to ‘Santa’, is there anything you’d particularly like to say to him?

CM: Why did I get a VHS player instead of the PlayStation I requested when I was 8? I already had a perfectly good video player.

?!: What film would you choose to watch at Christmas?

CM: Jingle All the Way with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not only the best Christmas film of all time but the best film ever made in general.

?!: Is there a Christmas tradition you’d love to get rid of?

CM: Turkey for Christmas dinner. It’s so bland and tasteless. No wonder we only eat it once a year.

?!: What song would you like as your entry music at War on Christmas? Or should we just choose something?

CM: Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) by Edison Lighthouse is probably my favourite song ever so that would be nice to walk on to please.

INTERROBANG?! – Making Christmas wishes come true since 2016

?!: What’s on your Christmas wishlist this year?

CM: I work in retail so I’m just looking forward to the day off really. And maybe a new laptop. And loads of books.
Thanks a lot to Chris for getting into the spirit of The War on Christmas?! Come along to Interrobang and 404 Ink – The War on Christmas at The Bongo Club on 9th December for more words of wisdom from Chris!

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The Interrobang Interrogation – Katharine Macfarlane

The bumper crop of Interrobang Interrogations for You Can’t Go Back Again?! continues today with Katharine Macfarlane, who wowed the Interrobangers with her set at the Oxjam Edinburgh Takeover.

Let’s find out more…

Aye, that'll lose your mirth
Katharine shares her thoughts on having to do our Interrogation…

By day Katharine is a librarian, sharing stories and songs with children of all ages. At night she reads poems to grown ups. Rooted in the landscape of the west of Scotland, Katharine Macfarlane’s lyrical poetry blends with discussion of traditional Scottish culture and history and myths from the wider Celtic world to provide a creative reimagining of women’s voices. WidelKissssy published and broadcast, she is currently the Harpies, Fechters and Quines Slam Champion.

The evocative language used by Katharine Macfarlane to bring Scottish towns and countryside to life, using fleeting imagery and enchanting chronicles, has had listeners falling like roses thrown upon theatre stages – The Mumble

And here’s how Katharine answered our questions:

?!: The theme of Interrobang #2 is You Can’t Go Back Again. Is there anywhere you can’t go back again?

KM:  Oh there used to be lots of places I wouldn’t go back to but I’ve got terribly brave over the past few years and have revisited them all I think…and had a great time doing it…none of the malevolent ghosts I was expecting!

?!: And where would you like to go for the first time?

KM: Finland, Norway, Cape Breton, Orkney, Canna…ach, there’s a whole world I’d like to see…

?!: What song would you like as your entry music? Or should we just choose something?

KM: I’m sure it should be something trad…maybe some waulking song or other but actually my internal soundtrack is almost always country! Dolly with Light of a Clear Blue Morning from New Harvest…it’s the best way to start a morning…or Seven Nation Army…or Something to Believe In by King Creosote…or I Wonder by Rodriguez…Ghosts of Leith, Blue Rose Code…oh, maybe Warrior by Reely Jiggered…aw hell, you just choose something!

?!: I’m never, never, never coming home“…? It’s gotta be this, hasn’t it?!

?!: What are your favourite and least favourite words?

KM: Joy is my favourite word above all others and has been for as long as I can remember…in Gaelic I’ve always loved the word sòlas which means light but can also mean comfort, solace, joy or luminous. Least favourite word? No. I don’t like no. Or unnecessary.

?!: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

KM:  Just this wee Kist o’ Riches… http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/
I longed to be able to listen to this kind of material as a wee girl and still find it slightly miraculous that it’s freely available now – enjoy! X
Thanks a lot to Katharine for sharing that treasure trove – and for indulging Interrobang’s Interrogation! Come along to Interrobang – You Can’t Go Back Again on 4th November and find out why we moved so quickly to sign her up after Oxjam!

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The Interrobang Interrogation – Elise Hadgraft

As the most important day of the cycle approaches, INTERROBANG?! is keeping its ground game strong and putting in a last big push. The latest of our featured guests for Interrobang – You Can’t Go Back Again, Elise Hadgraft, has taken a few minutes to complete The Interrobang Interrogation. Let’s find out more…

Be better off at the Arts Tower, anyway.
Elise contemplating her interrogation in Brutalist Sheffield. Or is it?!

Elise Hadgraft is a Mancunian mother by day self-appointed ‘punk rock poet’ by night…..unless it’s an afternoon gig, she’s adaptable like that. She started writing poetry to impress boys sometime around 2008 and found herself spending several sorry years on the literary naughty step for her trouble. Having passed for suitably contrite she’s, of late, been allowed back out to terrorise the neighbourhood with questionable rhyme schemes and no solid grasp of punctuation.

Here’s how Elise answered our questions:

?!: The theme of Interrobang #2 is You Can’t Go Back Again. Is there anywhere you can’t go back again?

EH: Oh, multiple places. Most recently I found myself chucked out of the Manchester Northern Soul scene for being slightly peeved when some mad bugger threw my fella down the stairs…let’s just leave it at “you should’ve see the other guy.”

?!: And where would you like to go for the first time?

EH:  I’m too skint to contemplate much in the way of travel, though (and don’t ask me how I put it off for 26 years) I went to Sheffield for the first time last month and had a bit of a Brutalist fangirl moment outside my favourite building.

?!: What song would you like as your entry music? Or should we just choose something?

EH: Anything by Pulp. Except Common People.

“Mother, I can never go home again…”

?!: What are your favourite and least favourite words?

EH: I cannot abide the word ‘moist’. Any word that is not ‘moist’ is a potential contender for favourite.

?!: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

EH: My bag of sweets, it’s in the back of this van full of puppies…

Thanks a lot to Elise for indulging Interrobang’s Interrogation. Come along to Interrobang – You Can’t Go Back Again on 4th November and she’ll slam you black and blue – no stairs required!

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The Interrobang Interrogation – Daniel Shand

Another one of our featured guests for Interrobang – You Can’t Go Back Again, Daniel Shand, has taken a few minutes to complete The Interrobang Interrogation. Let’s find out more…

"Hmm.... What will I have for tea tonight?"
Daniel deeply considers Interrobang’s questions…

Daniel Shand is another Edinburgh writer. His first book, called Fallow, is being published later this month on Sandstone Press. As luck would have it, it’s a novel all about two lads who can’t go home again—they’re literally on the run.

Here’s how Daniel answered our questions:

?!: The theme of Interrobang #2 is You Can’t Go Back Again. Is there anywhere you can’t go back again?

DS: The only place I’ve ever been barred from is my old student union. Not for any particularly interesting reason—just for being a drunk clown. It wasn’t even a lifetime ban, as all the best bans are. It was something rubbish like two weeks.

?!: And where would you like to go for the first time?

DS: Shetland—never been, always fancied it.

?!: What song would you like as your entry music? Or should we just choose something?

DS: Pick me something please.

[Ricky Interrobang sez: I checked, and was kind of surprised that Peter Murphy didn’t have the writerly gumption to include the word “fallow” in the lyrics for this.]

?!: What are your favourite and least favourite words?

DS: For favourite, can I have ‘complex’? It’s a great one for showing you know something’s complicated without risking your neck on anything too specific.

For least favourite, I’ll say ‘February’, because of its first R—the one I didn’t discover until embarrassingly late in life.

?!: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

DS: Yep—my launch is coming up in a few weeks. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2110797415812245/

Thanks a lot to Daniel for indulging Interrobang’s Interrogation. Come along to Interrobang – You Can’t Go Back Again on 4th November and find out why Beth and Ricky have been chatting about how excited they are to see and hear him read again!

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The Interrobang Interrogation – Allyson Stack

The first of our featured guests for Interrobang – You Can’t Go Back Again, Allyson Stack, has taken a few minutes to complete The Interrobang Interrogation. Let’s find out more…

Well, this seems very civilized...
Allyson’s interrogation begins

Allyson Stack was educated at Yale, Arizona State and has a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. She is a former screenwriter and now teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. Her work has appeared in magazines and journals in the US and UK and she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012. Her acclaimed 2016 novel, Under the Heartless Blue is available from Freight Books.

And here’s how she answered our questions:

?!:  The theme of Interrobang #2 is You Can’t Go Back Again. Is there anywhere you can’t go back again?

AS:  BEING CHILDLESS—i.e., to never having been a mum.

?!:  And where would you like to go for the first time?

AS:  INDIA.

?!:  What song would you like as your entry music? Or should we just choose something?

AS:  JUST CHOOSE SOMETHING.

?!: Here’s what we’ve chosen. Maybe Allyson will let us know on 4th November why it is – or isn’t – appropriate…

?!:  What are your favourite and least favourite words?

AS:  CAN’T CHOOSE FAVOURITES. IT WOULD BE LIKE PICKING A FAVOURITE CHILD.

?!:  Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Thanks a lot to Allyson for indulging Interrobang’s Interrogation. Come along to Interrobang – You Can’t Go Back Again on 4th November and find out whether whether we’ve picked the right tune!

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