All Stories, Literally Reruns, Writing

Literally Reruns – Four Bars by Hugh Cron

Leila Allison slipped past security yet again. We could hear her rustling and cursing and she emerged, dusty and dishevelled with this Rerun from the One and Only Hugh Cron:

Read what a tentative writer would do to Iago: “He or she who illegally obtains my assets actually acquires valueless non recyclable items.”


Fortunately for all, you don’t get a bunch of verbal slag from Hugh Cron. He doesn’t smother simple ideas beneath a pile of hesitant thises and thats, which are offensive because they are designed to sanitize the soul of the prose they are within. And you don’t get any sense of the author passing judgement on his more dubious characters, of whom he’s got plenty.

Cron excels at dialogue and the pithy turn of the phrase. Here, in Four Bars, however, he displays a knack for creating place and his effortless transitioning from various points of view. Personally, I consider this one of his two or three best stories on the site. And within it, though never directly said, I get the idea that only a human being can hate him- or herself* because only a human being has good reasons to do so.

Q: Who do you consider the most influential Scottish writers?

Q: I noticed a great and seemingly effortless fluidity in this piece. Thurber used to write his stuff over and over again to get a similar natural flow. Is that how it was during the creation of this piece?

Q: Are people any damn good?

*I hate myself for having to castrate sentences with nonsexist language.

Leila Allison


Hugh’s responses.


I’ve never had much affection for the classics. I’m more of a recent times reader or maybe that should be a reader of recent times authors.

I think this is due to the fact that reading pristine English and grammar hurts my head!

There is a wealth of talented Scottish writers and this was very difficult to decide.

But for me there are three that do stand out for different reasons.

Ian Rankin –

One of the best character writers I’ve ever read. There are a few of his books that are a bit ‘corporate’ in content, which I do find boring but the Rebus character carries them through. No matter what the subject matter all you want to do is explore the inner thinking and outlook of John Rebus. At times you can question his sanity and reasoning but you realise that he has a set of values that he lives to.

Rankin has brilliantly created the connection between the reader and the character.

(‘The Falls’ and ‘Knots And Crosses’ are two of his best.)

Christopher Brookmyre –

His social commentary and foresight is excellent. Throughout his work, he touches on the political events that shaped this country and we know only too well the consequences.

He has magnified issues that were really just in their infancy when he wrote his books but it is only now that we see his awareness of their evolution and how accurate he was.

The escalation of the reality ‘star’ was a premonition that has sadly come true.

His ideas regarding ‘Trusts’ and ‘Money Men’ running hospitals is still worrying.

(I would highly recommend -‘Quite Ugly One Morning’ and ‘A Snowball In Hell’)

Irvine Welsh –

He became a must read for many trend followers and good on him for getting more royalties off of fuckwits who haven’t actually read his work. They place his books on their coffee tables as a conversation piece and they don’t need to worry about their arsehole friends starting a conversation as none of them will know what they are talking about!

For those who genuinely appreciate his work, he is the most refreshing and honest writer of his generation.

He never shirks, he will write exactly what he is writing about. There is no diluting any of his work, that goes for dialogue, profanity and some very gritty description.

The bravery to do this is amazing. He could have repelled many a reader but this has never deterred him. His stories are set in specific worlds and he realistically portrays those worlds with weeping scabs and dead babies.

It may just be a Scottish thing but his humour is recognisable. It is black as pitch, brutal, honest and hilarious.

Whatever plaudits Irvine Welsh receives, he deserves many more. He has loosened up the restraints of writing for so many.

(His books – All of them are worth reading. But probably ‘Porno’ and ‘Filth’ were my two favourites. Porno was used as a base for the film ‘Trainspotting 2’

And there is a film he wrote that is not that well known, ‘Wedding Belles’

The scene where she tells about her abuse is harrowing, heartbreaking and with the blackest humour throughout.)


I need to type the story down first time. For me, that is the best way to get it sounding natural. If I had to start over time and time again, I reckon I would put my foot through the laptop.

However, when I read it back to edit, I read until there is a problem that I need to work on and I’ll sort it. I then start reading from the beginning again until I come to something else, sort it and read from the beginning and so on.

Once I have read it all the way through without stopping, I reckon I’m just about there.


Some of the good ones don’t have the means to do much good and they have a conscience about that.

Some of the bad ones have the resources and lack of conscience to do what the hell they want.


Well…With self-preservation, materialism, greed and selfishness, I think as a species we aren’t that damn good!


Four Bars

4 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – Four Bars by Hugh Cron”

  1. Hi Leila,
    Thanks so much for suggesting this one.
    It is based on a Nightclub I used to go into most Saturday Nights from maybe 1983 – 85.
    The questions are an excellent addition to the site, I enjoyed answering them!

    All the best to you and the wee fiends.


    1. Hugh and Leila –

      Hugh’s response reminds me that I was remiss in not mentioning how much I appreciated having a rerun (or two) and not expressing my gratitude for the privilege of rambling in my responses.

      I mostly ignore commentary on writing in order to preserve my artless approach, but I liked Hugh’s response about other writers and his approach.

      Keep On Writing In The Free World (not so young Neil paraphrase)


      1. Thanks so much for the comment Doug, it is much appreciated.
        The questions are fun to answer and they do make you think and reason a wee bit.
        All the very best my friend.


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