What’s less relevant than yesterday’s news? My byline still appears intermittently in Scottish publications, but I haven’t called myself a journalist for many years. The oldest of these pieces were written in the 1990s. Some of their subjects have since died, others’ fortunes have fallen. So why this selection of newspaper articles?

The interviews with writers and the book reviews are, in a sense, timeless. It may be necessary to market novels as little parcels of zeitgeist, but most writers are in it for the long haul. The same goes for other kinds of artist. Which leaves the snapshots of Scottish life – foxhunters, call girls, mill lasses, etc – and the interviews with political figures. Most of these portraits have been overtaken by events. On the other hand, hindsight throws up the odd delicious irony. And they’re still a good read: a tribute to the generous time I was given to research them, the generous column inches I was allotted to fill, and the intelligence expected of me in return. I offer them as examples of an ambitious type of journalism on the verge of extinction in an industry that, sadly, seems to be heading the same way.