Analysis of How the character Daniel Weir has Changed Throughout his Journey in Espedair Street by Iain Banks

Analysis of How the character Daniel Weir has Changed Throughout his Journey in Espedair Street by Iain Banks

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Analysis of How the character Daniel Weir has Changed Throughout his Journey in Espedair Street by Iain Banks

Espedair Street by Iain Banks is a novel which is pretending to be a
rock star autobiography; the story of a fictional seventies band
Frozen Gold as told by bass player and song writer Danny Weir. It is
told using a series of flashbacks which converge to explain the
present, Danny living as a recluse, pretending to be his own caretaker
in a bizarre Victorian folly in Glasgow. Espedair Street is about the
emptiness that can come to fill the life of someone who has realised
all his dreams on a massive scale and still not be where they want to
be. It's also about other things like the hedonistic life of the
seventies rock star, the things that we do that we regret and feel
guilty about later, and the effects that these have on us. The hook
for the story is its dramatic opening lines "two days ago I decided to
kill my self" from this I gathered the book was set to be bleak
although interesting, the reader would immediately be drawn in and
want to read on.

What I found most effective was the way the character of Daniel Weir
was developed constantly during the book. Daniel, also known as
'Weird', is a thirty-one year old reclusive rock star who has a
pessimistic attitude towards life and is intensely introspective.
Throughout his childhood he struggled to fit in with his peers and had
a troubled relationship with his parents. This has led him to feel
constantly self-conscious and he often talks about how ugly he is,
"I'm a monster, a mutant, a gangling ape", "I've been a funny looking
kid and I've blossomed into an ugly young man." This attitude gains
Daniel a certain amount of sympathy from the reader because instead of
feeling jealous of his famous lifestyle, I actually end up feeling
sorry for him. As this young 16 year old boy Daniel found comfort in
song writing, it is evident this is something he has confidence in

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"talent is what I had" but was less confident in his self image, this
is clear when he says "I think you c-c-could go…you know (I wanted to
say to the top)"although his stutter shows his nerves and shyness this
is the moment he introduces his music to the local band Frozen Gold.
Despite never actually intending to be part of a band only the writer
of their music, he soon found himself rocketing to success. In a
relatively short time he had gone from a local lad working at
Dinwoodies engineering firm in paisley, to an international superstar.
However fame and fortune didn't come easy for Daniel, as he had to
sacrifice many meaningful things in his life for the sake of the band.

We only get a brief look on the rock star jimmy hay, the name Daniel
goes by in his famous other life. We get the sense he is tame for a
rock star as Daniel is sensible compared with actions of his fellow
band members that are no greater than that of documented real rock
musicians. Daniels fame has great fortunes as well as misfortunes for
instance his increasing income, "Frozen Gold, the five of us were
probably out grossing the GNP of some small third world countries"
which would have been of huge benefits and change to Weir due to his
working class background. As Jimmy Hay Danny doesn't only have to put
up with the grand lifestyle, endless money supplies and large estates
but also the deaths of band members and his cheating lovers which were
on his conscience. It is because of these disadvantages and Jimmy's
fall from fame that Daniel is in the mess that begins the book.

As a retired rock star Daniel goes back to using his original name and
tries to live an anonymous life away from his past. Daniel goes back
to his beginning and returns to Glasgow where he leads a strange life.
He ironically lives in a folly modelled to the shell of a church
constructed by someone who lost hope in life and a complete insult to
christainity. Like the folly Daniel lives an empty and hollow
existence and a complete change from his young and his famous life. To
his two friends, an alcoholic and a young juvenile Daniel is nothing
different than themselves, claiming the folly's not his and he's only
looking after it for his caretaker and keeping his fame a secret from
his friends. His secluded life has also sunk low enough for Daniel to
have a prostitute visit him twice a week having no meaningful
relationship and an annoying pigeon his only companion. It is when
Daniels true identity is seen by his post fame friends after and
incident in a nightclub that he realises he can't go on any longer
pretending to be something he is not.

Weirs character also changes in the four days in which the book takes
place from a depressed wreck on the verge of suicide at the start of
the book to a blissfully content man due to the chance meeting of his
first loves brother linking him to go further by contacting her. This
change disappointed me, as I felt the ending was to 'happily ever
after' in such a short space of time. As much as I enjoyed the book I
feel it never delivered the dramatic ending the beginning suggested.

Espedair Street conveys a realistic story of a lost rock star with a
passion to find happiness in his life. Banks achieves this realistic
autobiographical approach in his writing by using first person
narration portraying honesty in his emotions. Weirs character has a
sense of being strangely funny and oddly realistic as his sympathetic
flaws only add to this. Banks himself must have put himself through
the journey of Daniel as I really got the sense of how it felt for him
to be an international rock star which shows the authors enthusiasm
for rock music with its distinctive flair. I also gained a lot from
the constant intrigue through flash backs which helped with concluding
what got him to that point. Weir himself was a complete character
whose developmental journey ended up a strange love story wrapped
inside a story of weir coming to grips with himself. The only fault to
me was the sentimentality of the ending which remains its main
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