IT'S August. It’s Scotland. It’s Fringe time. My show this year has taken a conscious departure from the “man and the mic” routine I have enjoyed doing for the last few years. But while my approach may have developed, one thing will always remain the same. I will always tell stories based on my own life experience.

My show, Alternative, Fact starts with a story about the first time I voted. I mention what I was wearing that summer Thursday in 1987, having rushed back from bhangra dance practice. I was dressed as any Punjabi folk dancer would be in the traditionally colourful homage to man-made fibres while sporting my proudly purchased purple, suede tasselled loafers. This truly cross-cultural “outfit” was completed by my constantly worn and much loved denim jacket, adorned with any number of patches that reflected my deep love of heavy metal music. I looked a state.

I mention that the patches had been lovingly sewn on by my late gran, a woman who had left the Punjab to come to Glasgow to look after her grandsons while my parents worked. The joke was that, for a woman who spoke no English, the first few words she learned in the UK were "Deep Purple", "Led Zeppelin" and "Black Sabbath”.

While that is partly true, my sexagenarian gran learned most of her English reading Enid Blyton books. And I was her go-to-grandson when it came to guiding and advising her on the trickier words. Last Friday would have been Enid Blyton’s 120th birthday. She has sold more than half a billion books in almost 100 languages. While most will consider Blyton’s legacy as The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and Noddy my gran became best friend’s with Naughty Amelia Jane, a rag doll rascal that was as big and as she was badly behaved, as mischievous as she was malicious. Amelia Jane was a lot of fun!

And Amelia Jane was instrumental in helping my old gran learn a new language at an age when relaxing and enjoying life is the expectation. It’s worth bearing in mind that my gran had no great education, making her achievement of mastering even basic English more than a little impressive. It was for this reason that I always thought fondly of Enid Blyton. (I also loved The Famous Five and The Secret Seven; Blyton and I clearly shared a numerological obsession.)

While I never regarded Blyton as high art, neither was I aware of her more questionable work, work that attracted criticisms of racism, xenophobia, elitism and sexism. In 1937 she published The Little Black Doll, a story about Sambo. Unsurprisngly, Sambo wasn’t like the other toys in the toy box; no. Sambo was black and so hated by all the other toys and his owner for having an “ugly black face”. He runs away, gets caught in the rain and finds that the downpour has washed his blackness away. He’s now pink of face and welcomed back to the body of the kirk. Seven years later Blyton released The Three Golliwogs featuring Golly, Woggie and Nigger.

I always find this a tricky issue. It’s what I call the “Wagner Variable”. I love Ride Of The Valkyries, but given the composer’s questionable anti-Semitism and his connection with Hitler and Nazism, maybe I shouldn’t? Does the work speak for itself or are we compelled to engage with the wider views of the creator?

One of my closest friends, Megan, an incredibly well read, intelligent American-born thirty-something woman, just confessed that her mother still buys her an Enid Blyton annual ever Christmas. “I know she was sexist and racist but she was also part of my childhood …”

And I think Megan hits the nail on the head. Much as I have learnt that Blyton stereotyped those of African descent, that she saw women as inferior to men, she was also a woman of her age, a product of her time. Ask yourself this. If Enid Blyton were alive today do you think she would be writing books like The Little Black Doll? I think not.

Let’s not re-write and revise the past. While we are impelled to investigate and interrogate our history, condemning and correcting all that must be condemned and corrected, we must also acknowledge that it is our history. And it’s a history that has informed our present.

It also informed my gran.