Short stories are the ideal format for suspense and intrigue. Readers are offered a brief glimpse into the world of a character and then the door is slammed shut. Brian Limond, known to his many fans as Limmy, may be a relative newcomer to the genre but he is no stranger to sketching weird worlds which you’ll either find hilarious or completely baffling, according to taste. The creator, director and star of the hit BBC Scotland sketch series, Limmy’s Show is back with his second collection of short stories, That’s Your Lot. Those familiar with his sketches will immediately recognise Limond’s unique blend of black humour, fantasy and social awkwardness.
Across 29 stories of between six and ten pages each, we meet characters such as George, a young father who ends up face down in wet concrete after a series of spats with builders, friends and family. Rather than suffocating, George spends the rest of his days speaking to strangers in the street and eating the remains of kebabs gifted to him.
Then there’s Iain, who buys his girlfriend Maggie a new curtain – which promptly starts attacking them, provoking an unlikely domestic.
Limmy’s writing style is economical and understated. Conversations between characters are sparse and to the point. While many of his TV sketches show a brilliant understanding of the Glasgow dialect and use it to full effect, his prose is almost spartan in comparison. Even the title of the book seems flat somehow when written in plain English. “That’s yer lot!” would have been more in keeping with Limmy’s singular style.
There’s still much to enjoy, however, and twists are never far away. John,
who we are introduced to wandering around Glasgow’s West End, is keen to speak to a female stranger he regularly spots cycling around the neighbourhood. He just can’t decide how best to do it.
“He got the idea that it might be good to chuck something at her. He didn’t want to hurt her, or even hit her, he just wanted whatever he chucked to land in front of her, to get her attention”.
Needless to say, things don’t pan out that way. Limmy’s world is full of situations like this: simultaneously bleakly realistic and utterly fantastical.
He has an obvious talent for writing short stories that are good for a laugh, but with such an eye for invention, he could surely undertake a longer format. Some of his characters could easily provide the basis for a novella or more. He’s proved he can shoot single scenes; perhaps now it’s time to put them together and create a feature film.
*That’s Your Lot, by Limmy, HarperCollins, £12.99