Darren McGarvey

Loki aka Darren McGarvey. Picture: Steven Reynolds

Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey on violence at home and on the street

By the age of ten I was well adjusted to the threat of violence. In some ways, violence itself was preferable to the threat of violence. When you are being hit – or chased – part of you switches off. You become physically numb as the violent act is carried out. A disassociation occurs. Your body goes into self-preservation mode until the threat is over. Thankfully, angry people tire easily. Therefore, the key to enduring a violent episode at the hands of someone you can’t evade or fight back against, is usually to submit and hope that you don’t sustain a serious injury.

Darren McGarvey says he found reading a struggle, leading him to the spoken word instead. Picture: Getty

Darren McGarvey: I avoided books - now I’ve written one

People like me don’t write books – or so my head keeps telling me even now, despite having written one that a few people have said is really good. Then again, I don’t know why I’m so surprised. When I think back, it’s hard to see what else could have become of me, professionally speaking, given the fact that language has been an obsession since I learned to speak.

Demonstrators protest over working conditions and the use of zero-hour contracts at burger chain McDonald's. Picture: Getty

Darren McGarvey: Good to see young workers protest against poor treatment

You know something’s afoot when staff at McDonald’s decide to go on strike. The fast-food chain, which has come to be regarded as the epitome of unfettered capitalism, was forced to issue a press release, downplaying the industrial action. The strike, which took place on Monday, was the first the American corporation has faced since opening its first UK restaurant in 1974.

Darren McGarvey is taking his place at the Edinburgh Book Festival this year. Picture: Toby Williams

Darren McGarvey: Determination trumps self-loathing - and dirty nappies

Scottish author and broadcaster Denise Mina, when asked for advice by an aspiring writer, struggling to complete their first novel, dispensed her formidable wisdom with characteristic candour, in the bluntest possible terms: “Just write your f****** book.” At the risk of appearing insensitive, to those writers of a fragile disposition, Mina’s frankness, painful in its simplicity, instantly demystified the process. Mina’s no-nonsense advice, which may not have been what that particular writer was looking for, was, thankfully, exactly what I needed to hear and soon became a beautifully practical mantra to which I’d find myself returning, as I embarked on the self-imposed hell of my first book.

Infighting among activists is causing serious damage to the independence movement. Picture: John Devlin

Darren McGarvey: Unionists munch popcorn as Yes campaigners tear each other to shreds

As some of you may be aware, a massive square-go has erupted in the Yes campaign. In the blue corner, we have Stuart Campbell, a self-styled “lie-detector” whose robust brand of fact-checking is somewhat undermined by his famously mean-spirited approach. Whether you love, loathe or grudgingly respect him, the Bath-based nationalist is the Yes movement’s most influential opinion shaper – excluding Nicola Sturgeon herself.

The independence referendum of 2014 demonstrated a failure of Yes and No campaigners to understand the other's point of view.

Darren McGarvey: We have to stop allowing facts to be taken hostage by our political biases

I see more figures in the Yes movement are arguing that we need to be more open to what No voters think. While it’s worrying how late in the day this seems to be dawning on some people, it must also be welcomed. The only problem is that those people argue that we should listen to No voters only with the intention of persuading them to change their mind, as opposed to genuinely engaging in the pursuit of some higher truth. Which begs the question, if it’s not the truth we are after than what is independence really about?

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