A NEW documentary is helping to celebrate the life and legacy of iconic Scottish creative Alasdair Gray ahead of the release of the adaptation of his novel Poor Things.  

The latest work on Gray’s life has been created by Jack O’Neil and Gavin Lundy as part of their YouTube channel Ossian.

The pair have already produced documentaries on Glaswegian architecture and debated Scotland’s greatest footballing achievement although say that this is their most ambitious project yet.

It features interviews with Sorcha Dallas (below) and Lauren Ford of the Alasdair Gray Archive, his official biographer Rodge Glass and Scottish playwright Alan Bissett.

The National:

Speaking to The National about why they chose Gray as the subject for their latest work, Lundy said: “I think we could still celebrate Alasdair Gray, as much as those in the literary world have a deep appreciation for him.

“I think generally speaking Scotland should celebrate our writers and our artists more. I would love to see Glasgow have the same relationship to Gray as Dublin has with Joyce.”

READ MORE: Poor Things review: Alasdair Gray adaptation is brilliant fun

The new film, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, is tipped to receive a number of Oscar nominations.

However, the film’s non-Glaswegian setting has sparked some debate as has the fact that none of its main characters are played by Scottish actors.

“As the news came out and I found out the adaptation has nothing to do with Glasgow, it didn’t really compute with me,” Lundy added.

“I’m still excited for the film but with this work we've done I wanted to root it back in Glasgow and celebrate that connection and the way Gray shaped the city.”

Likewise, O’Neil stresses that the documentary is in no way critical of the film for its artistic choices, but rather intended to make people aware of where the source material comes from. 

“In no way do we want to denigrate the film. It looks amazing and I’m sure it deserves the acclaim that it’s received. I honestly can’t wait to see it,” he said.

However, he added that the fact such a defining characteristic had been removed from the adaptation was “disappointing”.

More broadly, he said it pointed to a broader issue of Glasgow needing to be better represented on screen.

It has of course doubled for various fictional and non-fictional cities, including in the recent Indiana Jones and Batman movies.

“I think Glasgow is the best city in the world. I want to see Hollywood talking about it and these Oscar-worthy films to be set in this city,” O’Neil added.

“The idea of some punter in LA going to see a film about Glasgow is brilliant and it’s a shame this hasn’t happened here.”

Lundy added: “I think Scotland is used as a pretty backdrop or Glasgow is used as a stand-in but we seem to have this challenge of adapting and telling our own stories.

READ MORE: Scottish Baftas 2023: See the full list of winners

“We are a great literary culture but I don’t think we are celebrating that enough. I think often Glasgow can be reflected as this dilapidated place and that just doesn’t to me reflect reality.

“I think we’ve a vibrant culture with some of the world’s greatest architecture and a heritage to be proud of so there’s a place to be looking at stories celebrating the city and its unique attitude to life.”

O’Neil points out that Gray did more than just “live in Glasgow,” he was “infatuated” with the place.

“He celebrated this city and I think it’s only right we celebrate him in return.”