If we had to visualise this [literary] establishment, it would resemble an Edwardian board of aesthetic censors presided over by a stern TS Eliot–type figure inherently hostile to innovation (the irony, of course, is that Eliot was the greatest revolutionary in modern poetry) and keeping a perpetually wary eye on the likes of a Terry Eagleton or a James Kelman. It is often said to be London-centric, dominated by white males who had the privilege of attending the ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge. One of these Oxbridge-educated London-dwellers enjoyed the privilege of interviewing Kelman on stage in 1987. The occasion was the publication of Kelman’s Greyhound for Breakfast, before the Booker-winning How Late It Was How Late. When I asked Kelman about his literary standing, he claimed he had been ‘marginalised’. But, I responded timidly, his book had been enthusiastically and widely reviewed – and he was speaking to a packed and doting audience at the ICA. Yes, he snapped, ‘I’ve been colonised.’ A superbly balanced answer in the way Linford Christie was famously described as well-balanced by Derek Redmond: because he had a chip on both shoulders.