Crime writer Val McDermid's rock band land Glastonbury gig

The Fun Lovin' Crime Writers have been playing together for the last two years.
The Fun Lovin' Crime Writers have been playing together for the last two years.
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Crime writer Val McDermid has described the prospect of singing with her rock band at the Glastonbury music festival alongside Kylie, The Cure, Liam Gallagher and Janet Jackson as a “fairy story.”

The best-selling Fife novelist, who will appear on stage with a group of fellow crime writers she has been playing with for the last two years, said she “can’t quite believe” they have been booked for next month’s event.

The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers will be playing the festival’s 5000-capacity acoustic stage less than two years after making their debut in a late-night cabaret show at the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s Spiegeltent in Charlotte Square.

Billed as “a full-on rawk experience, murdering songs for fun in front of anyone who will listen,” the group will join a Glastonbury line-up that also features George Ezra, Miley Cyrus, The Chemical Brothers, Sheryl Crow and the Wu-Tang Clan.

The band’s set has included cover versions of classic songs like Paperback Writer by The Beatles, I Predict a Riot by the Kaiser Chiefs, Sympathy For the Devil by the Rolling Stones and The Proclaimers’ 500 Miles.

The band, which was formed in the wake of a late-night jam session in New Orleans, have gone on to appear at literary events as far afield as Glenrothes, Aberdeen, Belfast and Reykjavik, and last performed before a sell-out crowd at the Aye Write festival in Glasgow.

McDermid, lead singer in the band, performs with fellow Scottish crime writers Chris Brookmyre and Doug Johnstone, as well as Liverpudlian author Luca Veste, Birmingham-born writer Mark Billingham and Northern Irish novelist Stuart Neville.

McDermid, who has cited Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen as two of her biggest musical influences, told the Bookseller said: “We’re ridiculously over-excited, but we’ll put on a stonking good show as we always do.

“I still can’t quite believe this is happening. But I think it’s a bit like the fairy story where the princess kisses the frog and it turns into a handsome prince, because Debbie Harry kissed me not long after the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers got started.”

Brookmyre said: “There’s been a running joke: ‘When are you performing at Glastonbury?’ And now we are. We’re all so thrilled by the whole thing.

“There will be a lot of cheerful songs about murder - a consistent theme about murder and crime. Essentially we’re a party band.

“We’ve booked a studio in Bristol the day before to get in shape.”

Billingham admitted he was concerned his bandmates would thinking he was winding them up when he emailed with news of the gig.

He added: “For any band, playing at Glastonbury is a big deal,” he said. “For us, it’s ridiculously exciting. We began playing together as a bit of fun and it’s all got a little out of hand.

“We’re good mates but now there are serious arguments brewing as to which of us gets to shout ‘Hello Glastonbury!’ first. I think we may have to do it in unison.

“Bestseller lists are all well and good, but this is a middle-aged wannabe rock star’s dream.”