The Mash House

By Alan Gillespie

A tribal story about secrets, death and malt whisky

Friday, 31 May 2019

The One That Got Away

Hi everyone!

Another huge thanks to you all for pre-ordering my book THE MASH HOUSE. The project has been live for about a week now, and we're nearly 20% towards the target figure. You're all fantastic.

I thought I'd share something a little different. A few years ago I was playing about with the idea of writing a children's novel called GULLS. Maybe I'll go back to it once this book is published. It's about urban seagulls and I tried to get funding for it from the Scottish Book Trust, but was knocked back. Anyway, here's the synopsis for GULLS. Please let me know what you think of it! And thanks again.


Humans think the city belongs to them, but it doesn't. Not really. Humans aren't allowed to sit on the top spire of beautiful churches, or float through the sky from rooftop to rooftop. Most humans can't play around in the park all day, help themselves to free food from the bins or sabotage picnics. Humans have to do things like work, and walk, and earn money to buy food, and eat with cutlery.


But these days, the city is disgusting. There's smoke everywhere and rubbish is piling up in the streets. Sirens haunt the air. The people who live here are ugly, stupid, smelly, fat, dress terribly and have rubbish haircuts. The trees are brown and dying. The water is grey and thick. Everywhere you look, there is only concrete. Grey, dirty concrete. What a hellish place to raise chicks.


GULLS is the story of a colony of urban seagulls who have grown comfortable living alongside humans. They spend their days feasting on takeaway food and stealing childrens’ sandwiches, dive-bombing tourists and soiling businessmens' suits. Not even having to live side by side with the dirty, stupid hoards of pigeons can ruin their happiness. The seagulls are kings of the sky, living in an urban paradise.


But the city councillors have different ideas. Fed up with the litter, mess and disruption created by the seagulls, they hatch a plan to rid the city of these flying rodents forever, to cut off their food supply and destroy their nests. Armed with a squad of trained, vicious hawks, it seems the humans have finally figured out how to claim their city back.


The seagulls, out of shape and lazy, begin to suffer. Food is scarce. Eggs are broken. Rivalries break out amongst the colony, with gull-on-gull violence. On the night of a terrible storm, it seems that all is finally lost for their colony.


But the storm brings with it redemption in the shape of a proper seagull, one from the coast. One who has dived in the sea and fished and built nests in trees and everything else. This saviour falls from the sky and wakes up in a world of concrete and electricity. He joins his metropolitan comrades and together they fight back against the hawks, the pigeons, and the sinister councillors.


Borrowing themes and storytelling devices from stories as diverse as Watership Down, No Mean City and Star Wars, GULLS delivers a farcical concept with tension, excitement, drama and humour. Suitable for children aged 10-14, GULLS is a fast-paced adventure story with dynamic characters, which builds to a thrilling and resounding climax.

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Dennis Duncan
 Dennis Duncan says:

It's "hordes", not "hoards".

posted 31st May 2019

Elaine and Mark Dalloway
 Elaine and Mark Dalloway says:

I like it - you could almost write it for adults too - are the gulls the good guys and humans bad? Could we learn to live together?

posted 31st May 2019

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