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Baker's Dozen

Crime Plays: Writer Ian Rankin On His 13 Favourite Albums
Luke Turner , November 21st, 2012 07:37

Ian Rankin talks to Luke Turner about his life in music, and how he'd like to write novels based on Joy Division and David Bowie albums

I met Ian Rankin in early 2011 while covering a Mogwai tour of Scotland for NME. He'd taken a break from writing to take a train up to Perth for the gig, where he did this great In Conversation interview with Stuart Braithwaite, and returned home laden with vinyl from the merch stall. A music obsessive, Rankin has peppered his bestselling Rebus novels with musical references. These kinds of insertions into plot can be as cringeworthy as politicians revealing the contents of their iPods, but Rankin's genuine enthusiasm for music makes the device work. It seemed, therefore, that Rankin would make for a good Baker's Dozen subject - not least because his debut single, a story called 'A Little Bit Of Powder', is imminent on O Genesis (the launch, in which it'll be read by actor Craig Parkinson, is at our Minny Pops gig at the London Lexington on November 26th, info here).

According to Rankin, "I am up to my bollocks in crocodiles" with promo duties for new Rebus novel Standing In Another Man's Grave, complete with the obligatory book tour: "It's a big long fucking tour. It's like being a rock star without the drugs and the groupies. Have you ever tried to get a pint of ale at four in the morning when you're wandering around a strange city because you can't sleep? Not always easy, my good man."

As a man with a prodigious record collection, Rankin said he found the Baker's selection process "really really difficult. Who are you going to leave off that list? As somebody who has been listening to music for over 40 years, and collecting albums, there are thousands and thousands of things I would have included given the chance. I thought which albums would be like a diary of my life. Albums that I can listen to over and over again, but that also resonate with me, for the stories behind them. That's why I kicked off with the Alex Harvey Band, because they were the first I really got into."

Rankin adds that one list he's worked out already are the two tunes he'll be having paid at his funeral: "'Silver Machine' by Hawkwind and 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' by the Stones. I want people coming into the church to one and leaving to the other, I just can't work out which way round." Click the image below to begin the countdown: