Writer, performer, dramatist and professional bletherer, Alan Bissett, is also the man behind an award-winning series of shows in which he plays Moira, Falkirk’s hardest woman. Beginning with 2009’s The Moira Monologues and culminating in 2022’s Moira In Lockdown, they form a trilogy which Bissett is now taking on an extensive perambulation around Scotland. The Moira Trilogy tour kicks off today at the Theatre Royal in Dumfries, ends in Aberdeen in May, and hits Glasgow on March 17 as part of the Glasgow Comedy Festival.

What’s the last book you read and what is it about?

Naomi Klein’s Doppelganger. It’s an epic trip through her own “doppelganger” story [her strained relationship with right-wing pundit Naomi Wolf] and that of Western society’s bizarre shadow-world of conspiracy theories. Klein brings together so many disparate political strands, but what a tapestry.

Favourite living author?

Bret Easton Ellis. His triumphs feel absolutely like no-one else’s, and his failures are still interesting.

Recommend a novel …

Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. An utterly immersive and atmospheric work with a storyline and characters so gripping it makes 600 pages feel like 60.

The Herald: Pink FloydPink Floyd (Image: free)

What music are you listening to a lot and what do you like about it?

Suede’s newest album Autofiction. It’s near impossible for any band to come back from their demise and be as good as they were in their heyday, 30 years ago. But Suede have pulled it off. Just like I tried to pull off Brett Anderson’s shirt at a recent gig.

Favourite song?

Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie. It’s the best song ever written by Queen or David Bowie, and that is one high bar. I must’ve heard it thousands of times, but I still tear up at the end.

Favourite band?

No-one who ever lived made better music than Pink Floyd did in the 1970s.

Recommend a musician …

The late Martyn Bennett fused Scottish folk music with electronic dance way back in 2003 and somehow managed to elevate both genres.

Blur or Oasis?


What musical instrument do you wish you could play and why?

Electric guitar, obviously. I had a few lessons when I was a teenager, but didn’t realise it would involve actual practice. I just presumed I’d be able to play like Jimmy Page after a week.

What have you seen recently that you think was completely over-rated and why?

The Great Escape. It’s always been one of my blind-spots, but on Boxing Day last year I was finally like: “Right, put it on.” Steve McQueen is hardly in it, is wooden as hell when he is in it, and he doesn’t even jump to victory on that motorbike at the end. Swizz!

What’s your go-to YouTube video?

I never tire of movie nerds dissecting high-profile cinematic flops. I’ve never seen Cats or Batman And Robin, but I know more about them than I do about some of my favourite films.

The Herald: Billy ConnollyBilly Connolly (Image: free)

What has been your most formative cultural experience, how did it affect you and what did it make you want to do?

I know a lot of Scottish writers will say this, but reading Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting gave me permission to write from my own culture and in my own voice. I would never have been able to pull off my Moira Monologues shows, about Falkirk’s Hardest Woman, without the initial influence of Trainspotting.

Who or what do you always turn off on the TV or radio and why?

I can’t stick James Corden, but I don’t think anyone can. Maybe he’s misunderstood though, and we’re all the d***heads.

Who’s your favourite comedian and why?

Any Scot who doesn’t say Billy Connolly is at it.

Favourite actor?

Marlon Brando. I mean, c’mon, he’s The Godfather.

Favourite film?

Jaws is stone-cold perfection in every conceivable way. It’s scary, funny, with lived-in characters and setting, has an iconic score, and moves as propulsively as a shark. Virtually every scene in it is classic. People whose only comment is “the shark looks fake” should be fed to one.

If you’re a gamer, what’s your favourite?

Games are a complete waste of time. Endless, endless repetition.

If you’re a fan of graphic novels, what’s the best one you’ve ever read and why?

The Infinity Gauntlet (1991), Marvel’s epic about Thanos snapping half of the universe out of existence, which might’ve been turned into a totesy wee movie I almost wet myself for 27 years later.

Recommend a podcast …

I love the Joy Agenda by Glasgow-based comedians Jay Lafferty and Amelia Baylor. They’re not only utterly charming and relaxed, but what’s not to celebrate about joy?

The Herald: ZooropaZooropa (Image: free)

Recommend an album …

Zooropa by U2. I know everyone thinks they know what U2 are, but this is so weird, dissonant, rumbling, freewheeling and beautiful that I can confidently say that it’s the U2 album for people who hate U2. They’ve never been this interesting since. Plus: it features Johnny Cash.

Drama or documentary?

Draaaamaaaaa, darling!

Vinyl or MP3?

Bring back CDs.

Edinburgh or Glasgow?

Split the difference: Falkirk.