Glasgow Writers: John Dingwall
John Dingwall is one of Scotland’s top music and entertainment writers. He currently writes for the Daily Record and Scottish Sunday Mail.
In this line of work he has travelled the world to interview some of the biggest names in showbiz – Annie Lennox in Malawi, Sir Paul McCartney in Mexico, Lindsay Lohan in Singapore, Rod Stewart in New York and Billy Bob Thornton in Texas to name a few.
He has also interviewed Emeli Sandé, one of Scotland’s hottest pop stars, more often than any other journalist – recently his book Emeli Sandé Read All About has been published by Omnibus Press.
The definitive biography of one of Britain’s most cherished singer–songwriters – the book contains exclusive interviews with those in the singer’s inner circle. John meticulously unravels the fascinating backstory behind the talented singer who has three BRITs under her belt and enjoyed a record-breaking album Our Version Of Events.
John said: “It was a pleasure to write about Emeli who appeared to have overnight success but had grafted hard for more than a decade.”
Born in Bellshill, John has lived in the West End of Glasgow most of his life and began writing in 1980, when he launched the fanzine Stand & Deliver with a couple of pals.
The fanzine, which regularly featured local acts and touring bands, also gave away the first recordings by Del Amitri and The Bluebells as a free flexi-disc in 1982 prior to the bands’ official debut releases on major labels.
“The first people I ever interviewed were The Fall’s Mark E. Smith and Lux Interior of The Cramps within minutes of each other deciding to start a fanzine while the bands played raucous sets at a gig at Glasgow College of Technology,” John said. “I think we had to borrow paper and a pen from Mark, which shows how spontaneous the decision was.”
John interviewed Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Cure and Psychedelic Furs in the days that followed for the fanzine.
“The first fanzine was printed on a Gestetner in my bedroom then we moved on to more sophisticated methods. I worked in Govan Shipbuilders and the print room printed future issues as a homer,” John said.
That began a journalistic career that led him to write for several music magazines including Sounds in the early to mid-1980s, during which time he brought many up and coming bands to national attention including Wet Wet Wet, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, Hue & Cry and Love And Money.
He has also interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment such as John Travolta, David Bowie and Victoria Beckham and worked as an A&R scout for Chrysalis Records and Music.
Recently John earned a Masters Degree in Creative Writing with Distinction on the University of Glasgow’s MLitt programme. He turned his hand to screenwriting when he wrote the film drama I Saw You and this Bafta nominated film premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and won a Royal Television Award.
John continues to write for the Daily Record and Sunday Mail and is currently working on a debut novel.
EMELI SANDÉ READ ALL ABOUT IT by John Dingwall is published by Omnibus Press.
Review by Pat Byrne, July, 2013.
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