Shtop, this fella could fairly talk. We were doing a day’s work and you never know who you get caught with. Lucky bag style. And here he was into story number three now and I had lost track twenty minutes ago. As far as I could tell he had discovered U2 but hadn’t gotten the proper credit and was eager to let the world know. Bono was in a van one time, with two or three more, and they were starting out, and they needed a gig, and along comes himself and sets them up with a microphone and a few speakers. Some brown place in former Ireland, where they still had pound coins and everyone smoked like they’d die if they didn’t. He gave images of a carpeted pub, and small stools with thick legs and torn cushion tops and the stage lights were dirty and it was always raining through the draughty windows. The toilets smelled of cheap detergent blocks and piss and the Guinness was stale yellow in the hands of men with black fingernails and thick black jackets and wind torn island faces like the scars of Atlantic scorn. And the van was old, with doors you pull back, and amps, and denim jackets, and earrings and the Vietnam war wasn’t long over, and the IRA were patrolling the hills and the RUC were on the roads. I said I better to the jacks to get a break cos I thought my ears might start bleeding, but here he was coming with me, not missing a beat, and now it was a Play one time, and there was a big cast, and the money was good, and the audience were curious one night, full house, dead silence, because someone forgot a line, and nobody knew what to do, but he saved the day himself, with an impromptu blast of dialogue and everybody was relieved, and the show went on. And they thanked him for his inspiration, something funny, generic, country, a hint to the lead actor, a dialectic compass to tell him where to go next. And he got plenty of work after that, but then the money dried up, and he went driving a taxi, and he always arrived for a fare an hour early, in case he got a puncture, or the customer had an emergency, and they’d need extra time, and these customers had big money, BIG money now, not small stuff, no pennies, always fifties, which was BIG money back them times, and sure did I ever do extra work? There was a film before and they had to stand beside a famous fella, and not pull focus, and the director said they were the best extras he’d ever seen, but that comes with experience, and he can’t do it now because he has two bad knees, and will we go to the shop? They have nice sandwiches, and chips, but it depends on what you want, and isn’t it a lovely day, and that’s some sun, boy, see that place over there, used to be a cinema one time, and that place over there, the bands they used to have, and if we could get Bono down there, I’m telling ya, and do you know something about The Beatles? There was a fella one night, we were in Liverpool, he came up to me, and asked me could I give him a hand, and I thought he looked kind of familiar, and you’ll never guess who he was? And fuck me, if we didn’t have the best night of drinking, and I’d swear half the lyrics I hear sometimes comes from the stories from that session….Anyway, back to the Vietnam war, Nixon was after getting in and this was before Watergate, and that’s another story I’ll tell you about after this….
Mick Donnellan’s New Novel now Available on Amazon.
You can now read…
Mick Donnellan’s new novel
Click here: Buy The Naked Flame Now.
You can now read The Naked Flame on KINDLE below:
About The Naked Flame:
Set in Athlone, the heart of the Irish midlands, The Naked Flame is a story of love, loss, betrayal, and passion. John joe is engaged but doesn’t want to get married. He’s not sure how to break this to Karen. Then it’s time for the stag party in Madrid. There he meets Marilyn. They spend the night together and everything changes. Now the wedding is cancelled, the police want to talk to him about a double murder and the phone is ringing with mysterious requests to come to London. John joe suddenly finds himself in a surreal world, full of unusual characters and extreme danger, with no obvious way out. Met with impossible choices he can only trust the alluring woman that offers all the answers – but at what cost?
Mick Donnellan’s fourth novel is rich in comedy, tragedy, hints of the absurd and undertones of a man in existential crisis. The story thunders along with unexpected twists and ominous turns that culminate in a devastating climax. A unique tale, it strikes an emotional note, and is guaranteed to supply an entertaining read.
About Mick Donnellan
Recent Awards/ projects:
Mick Donnellan is the author of three previous novels. El Niño (2012) Fisherman’s Blues (2014) and Mokusatsu (2019).
The Naked Flame was completed during a retreat at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in late 2021.
When not writing fiction he works as a successful Playwright and Screenwriter. Film credits include Tiger Raid (2016) adapted from Mick’s Play Radio Luxembourg. He has recently received the Agility Award through the Arts Council of Ireland and the Mayo Theatre Bursary through Mayo Arts Office.
His most recent Play Nally was supported by Westmeath Arts Office and aired in May 2021 as a Zoom/Youtube performance. It was attended by over two thousand viewers on the night and many more since.
You can watch Nally here: https://youtu.be/FiJYuaa5x2Q
In May 2020 Mick had a monologue (The Crucified Silence) chosen as part of the Scripts Ireland Play festival. After a week of intensive workshops with Playwright Eugene O’Brien, the monologue was directed by Jim Culleton (Fishamble) and performed by Aaron Monaghan.
Mick is currently part of the Galway Theatre Development Programme run by Andrew Flynn in conjunction with Galway’s Town Hall Theatre. He is also listed on the Irish theatre institute here: http://irishplayography.com/person.aspx?personid=47564
Curry chips and fandom.
You can meet another artist and they’ll ask how’s your writing, and you’ll tell them, and they won’t listen, and they’ll say we must go for coffee someday, and they’ll promise to buy your book, and then they’ll fuck off somewhere. And they haven’t a notion of doing the coffee, never mind buy the book. And then you’re having a curry chips and this fella bullocks over, puts his hands on the table, and says: ‘Howya, Micky!’
He was well drunk, jeans too big, bloodshot eyes, jowls like a St. Bernard. Worse still, I hadn’t a clue who he was, so I said: ‘How’s things?’
‘Great to hear it. Are ya still workin away?’
He wasn’t much of a clues man cos he said: ‘I am. Same fuckin place, sure what can you do?’
‘What can ya do?’
‘And you? Are ya still writing?’
‘I read your last book.’
‘The one in February. Fuck it sure, I read them all.’
‘Good man. Did you like the last one?’
‘Fuckin cracked. Mighty ridin’ in it.’
‘There was a bit alright.’
‘But it was a good story too.’
‘Any Plays comin?’
‘I’m workin on a few things.’
‘I saw Nally on Youtube.’
‘I did. Fuckin loved it. Hard to believe ye managed it with that fuckin lockdown but it worked.’
‘The actors were fuckin mighty. How’s your chips?’
‘Lovely. I got them in the van over there.’
He looked over, suspicious, like he was ready to accuse the van of trying to hide. ‘I wonder will they sell me a burger?’
‘Sure ask them.’
‘I fuckin will. I’m fulla porther. Drinkin since yesterday morning.’
‘What’s the occasion?’
‘Sure don’t ya know? Life. What else?’
‘And c’mere, whatever happened with the film that time?’
‘Yeah. I went up to see that in Galway. It was fuckin class.’
‘It’s still goin. You can buy it or rent it on Google Movies and all that craic.’
‘Twas some craic that night. That Gleeson fella can fairly act.’
‘He can, nice lad too.’
‘I’d say so. Are ya still teaching?’
‘An odd time.’
‘Dose I’d say?’
‘I couldn’t teach now. Fuck that. Gimme a kango and I’m happy, how the fuck do you sit at a computer all day?’
‘Different strokes, I suppose…’
‘Will ya have a pint?’
‘Still off it.’
‘Are ya fuck?’
‘I fuckin am.’
‘How long done now?’
’11 years I think. 10 anyway. Kinda losing count these days…’
‘Christ almighty, I wouldn’t last two days. You must be loaded. Selling all them books and films and shtuff and not drinkin?’
‘Writing’s the easy part, making money off it is more complicated.’
‘I fuckin bought them anyway.’
‘You did, good man.’
He stood looking at the chip van, stars in the night sky behind him. Aroma of cooking oil and vinegar mixed with ketchup. He said: ‘I think I’ll have a burger and five or six more pints and fuck off home.’
‘Sounds like a plan.’
‘I’ll be sick as a dog tomorrow.’
‘I don’t miss that.’
‘Christ. Shtop. Keep writing anyway. I want to read the next one. And make more fuckin films.’
‘Fuckin do. I’m not into any of that other fancy shite but I like your shtuff.’