National Crime Reading Month

Hardboiled Blues: Exploring Ian Rankin’s ‘Novel’ Approach to the Music of Rory Gallagher


Event Type:Presentation (pre-recorded and uploaded to Rewriting Rory YouTube channel on this date)
Event Organiser:Rewriting Rory
Other Links: https://www.rewritingrory.co.uk
Ticket Price:Free

Rewriting Rory YouTube channel

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In 2013, the estate of the late blues musician Rory Gallagher released Kickback City. Described as a ‘unique immersive album’ inspired by Gallagher’s passion for crime noir, it sought to draw attention to the guitarist’s oft-overlooked songwriting ability and featured a 40-page novella, The Lie Factory, written by Ian Rankin in the hardboiled style of Gallagher’s favourite authors, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. In this talk, Dr Lauren Alex O’Hagan explores Rankin’s ‘novel’ approach to the music of Gallagher through a detailed examination of Kickback City. She assesses both Rankin and Gallagher’s adherence to the hardboiled style in their writing, as well as the main characters and plot of The Lie Factory, with a particular focus on the detective Regan, the femme fatale and the story’s unresolved ending. It argues that Kickback City was an extremely bold and singular release, with Rankin’s eloquent storytelling and clever use of Gallagher’s lyrics playing a major role in the reappraisal of the bluesman’s music and moving his status beyond that of a guitar virtuoso.

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