Crime writer Ian Rankin teams up with Charlatans man Tim Burgess for debut single

Inspector Rebus author to release 'A Little Bit of Powder' later this month

Crime writer Ian Rankin is swapping books for music, announcing plans to release his debut single later this month.

Rankin has teamed up with Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess to record ‘A Little Bit Of Powder’, a track which combines a short story written by Rankin and music from Burgess. ‘A Little Bit Of Powder’ is read by actor Craig Parkinson (Misfits, Control) and will be released on Burgess’ label O Genesis on November 26.

Speaking about how the single came to be, Rankin told The Quietus: “Tim contacted me a while back with the idea of a spoken word project – me writing a story – to give out to his fans as a little Xmas gift. We met in Edinburgh in August and bounced around a few ideas. I then gathered my thoughts. A friend in Glasgow had told me an anecdote some months previously about a local musician who was told to meet another musician in a bar, and take his acoustic guitar with him. When he arrived, a bag of powder was produced – the ashes from a mutual friend and fellow musician – and sprinkled into the sound hole. This was apparently a last request from the dying musician – that his ashes be shared out among musician friends. So that was the genesis of the short story.”

Rankin added that it took around three or four days to write the story, but his first draft was far too long. “I timed myself reading it and found that it ran to around 15 minutes. Tim had wanted five to six minutes so it would fit on one side of a single. I reckoned this was a problem and told Tim as much, but he wanted to read the ‘director’s cut’ before I got busy with the editing scissors. Having seen it and like it, he then insisted we couldn’t leave out any of it.”

Ian Rankin is known to be a big music fan, naming many of his novels after Rolling Stones albums. The seventh installment of his Inspector Rebus series is named ‘Let It Bleed’ after the 1969 LP.

‘A Little Bit Of Powder’ will be launched at The Lexington, London on November 26 with a performance of the single featuring a reading from Parkinson as well as a headline set from Minny Pops and support from Pavlov’s Children.