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
Maverick and the Never Ending Story.
Made a complaint about getting scammed on the booking site. They said to contact the property and see if they’ll give you a refund. The property was more of a rubbish dump than a place to stay so I hadn’t much hope of any digital gold flying back through the phone lines. There was a direct message system, or a text option. I tried the direct message first. DECLINED. Great. Said I’d chance a text, fuck it. She messaged back and said no. Imagine that? Sure she probably had the money spent on cheap cans and loose tobacco and rollie papers. Surprised she even messaged at all. Must have unlimited free texts on a shite phone with big buttons and a faulty charger.
Back to the site. Said they couldn’t help, and they told me this already, but I could make complaint if I wanted. And how could I do that? Here’s an address, they said, a postal address, for some kind of regulator, in Brussels, and you all you have to do is post them the letter and I’m sure they’ll help and here’s a survey, and how was your experience today?
I’ll send ye a letter and let ye know.
Found an alternative place in Dundrum. Cheaper, legal, looked like it did in the pictures, had reviews that didn’t sound like they came from people sprayed with Napalm.
Later, decided to go see Maverick. Got parking at the town centre. It only took half an hour and a few laps of the car park. Found a spot at the back beside some kind of Porsche. Good company for the Focus. Free parking too, took the sting out of the scam. Walked over to the cinema, through the damp evening and the azure twilight, through ghostly generations of nervous lovers and actors souls captured in antique posters. Up the steps and pulled the door. There was a security guard talking to a crowd of young lads at the entrance. Warning them about something, anti-social behaviour, smoking, litter, who knew. Inside, plush carpet, screens advertising what’s on. They were doing a good deal. €9.95 for a film and a popcorn combo. Sound. Dinner and a movie, all in one at 9pm.
9pm came and it was fairly empty. Back in the time of the first Top Gun they’d show you ads for more films coming like Terminator 2 and Rocky IV and Honey I shrunk the Kids. You were on a dark train of endless screen theatre and imagination. The Never Ending Story. Now there was ads for Amazon Prime where you could watch films at home and didn’t need to come to the cinema at all. Then there was more ads for mortgages, and banks, and phone companies and broadband and Jewellery shops and eventually the other people started wandering in and the movie started and, I don’t why, but the best bits seemed to be the flashbacks of the first one.