Steve Butcher is a tabloid photographer in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is young. He is Australian.
His life behind the lens is far from glamorous and he doesn’t spend his days photographing Page 3 girls and celebrities at movie premieres.
Instead, he sits outside people’s houses for hours on end waiting to ‘snatch’ them, gets into fights with petty criminals at bus stops while trying to photograph them, and endures 10,000 soccer fans singing: ‘You can shove that f***ing camera up your…’
Steve hates working for the tabloids – the tabs – and his morals and ethics are often compromised. The problem is, working for the tabs pays well and he often has to choose between his morals and the chance to make a quid. When pressed, he finds ways to justify his actions so that monetary gain wins out. It’s not something he is proud of, but he needs to pay the rent like everyone else.
Steve’s life away from the tabs revolves around the flat he shares with Frank and Malcy. Steve and Frank share a love of beer and football. Malcy is a financially challenged university student who gets drunk with monotonous regularity and shags anything with a pulse, even if it means faking his orgasm. Barry, the racist, lives upstairs. He is rumoured to be the head of the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. Olivia, the nurse, lives next door. Steve, Frank and Malcy all fancy her but are too scared to make a move in case it ruins a perfectly good friendship.
Set against the contrasting beauty of the seasons, Steve views his world through the eyes of an outsider. He discovers a country steeped in history, a city of intense beauty and a passionate people.
By the time Steve’s fourth Scottish winter – a particularly fierce one – arrives, he is over working for the tabs. When a nasty sniffle turns into an even nastier head cold and he is forced to spend hours at a time sitting in his car on a succession of dubious snatches, he is at his wits end...
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