I’ve been holding out on doing this blog til I got confirmation, but Neil Craig, the owner of Futureshock in Glasgow has passed away. As I’m in Bristol I often get second or third hand gossip about what’s going on in Glasgow but several reliable sources have confirmed it and checking online, there’s also this post from Mark Millar confirming it.
I’ve posted about Neil before and how when the shop opened (as Photon Books) he was in a partnership with Bob Shaw, and that after that business partnership broke up Neil and Bob went their separate ways with Neil remaining at the shop at 200 Woodlands Road. His death seems to have been incredibly sudden as Futureshock’s website was updated on the 24th June and Neil died in early July, and frankly I was always amazed the shop managed to stay open for so long and judging by the reviews online, it seems some newer readers of comics were offput by the state Neil kept the shop in. Last time I was in it was around 15 years ago and I recognised stock which hadn’t moved since the late 80’s judging by the lairs of dust. Last time I past the shop four years ago in a taxi, it looked dark and miserable but Neil seemed happy to keep the shop that way, plus it seems he was able to run a business out of that chaos.
This however was always the way of Neil, and Futureshock was always a mess in all it’s nearly 25 years of existence. It’s one of the many reasons Neil and Bob went their separate ways but for those of us back in the day struggling to get our new comics, it was Glasgow’s first SF/comic shop and it did focus a lot of Glasgow’s fandom in one place. There’s a place in the history of British and Scottish fandom for Neil (and Bob Shaw too) but Neil never really got the credit he probably should have, even if others did develop Glasgow fandom more, Neil was one of the ones who gave an outlet for those of us scattered across the city.
Yes, he was an odd figure and in recent years seemed to be all over the place politically as seen at his blog, including a support for UKIP! That shouldn’t be what he’s remembered for. Remember him helping start something in Scottish comics/SF fandom that’s exploded to what it is today.