Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Meeting Roddy Doyle

It's always nice when you can get work and your own interests together in the same room, and it didn't come any better than this afternoon, when the long-awaited 'One Author, One Community' initiative finally came to fruition in Navan, and Roddy Doyle sailed into our midst for a totally spellbound two-hour visit.

We had chosen to read and work on one of his lesser known novels, 'Mad Weekend,' written in 2006, the year after Liverpool had won the European silverware (after a dramatic match: first half - no score, second half, score 3 - 0... remember...?). Anyhoo, the plot of this novella, saw three 20 something Dub male mates organise to go to a match in Liverpool on the night they are watching the European final. When they eventually get to Liverpool, they spend a great deal of time in The Beehive pub chatting up girls and losing one of their number - as well as seeing a Chelsea v Liverpool match... and the rest - well, you'd have to read it :)

Featuring Roddy's trademark snappy Dub (and Liverpudlian) dialogue, all the groups of learners involved really got into appreciating Roddy's work in the lead-up to today: some wrote him letters, some wrote him reviews, and some thought up some fiendishly difficult questions, which Roddy answered with generosity and aplomb - heck, even panache.

Well, he won a definite fan in me - not that that was ever in doubt. I still fondly remember going to see The Committments in Camden Town in London, back in 1991 with my mates and feeling very proud of being Irish afterwards, even we were all eejits. I was so proud today to see how well everyone acquitted themselves - and I think I won a few fans over to the cause of reading and writing - not bad for a few weeks work :)

Word up: Roddy's own favourite book is actually The Snapper; he told us a great story about how he was in the Rotunda, waiting for his own wife to give birth, and while there the camera crew turned up to film the pregnant girl arriving to the hospital - talk about life imitating art.

Excellent day - deadly buzz man!


Dominic Rivron said...

Talk of the 20th century and Camden Town always makes me wax nostalgic. Used to live in North London and had friends who used to drag me round gigs: Hank Wangford (just before he got famous), the Holloway AllStars, etc. I moaned, but had a great time.

Liz said...

Lucky class - well done on getting it all sorted...must have been inspiring,and amusing! Have similar memories of The Commitments... ; )

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Dear Barbara, I listened to Roddy Doyle reading from his work in the nineties in Dublin at the mythic Abbey theatre, for an anniversary of Waterstone's bookshops. An unforgettable evening, he read from his work in a meeting where other famous authors read from theirs: Clare Boylan ( who unfortunately I read died recently ) Paul Durcan, then the great Dermot Healy and others.

I will never forget, by Doyle, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors". Supreme fiction.

Michelle said...

How exciting.

I loved The Commitments. Killer soundtrack. Remember 'Mustang Sally' and 'Take Me to the River'?

Michael Farry said...

Congratulations Barbara on being shortlisted for the Basil Bunting Award.

Kay McKenzie Cooke. said...

It seems to have been so long since I visited - great to catch up again! Your energy is always an inspiration Barbara!

BarbaraS said...

How did you know, Michael? I only found out today!

Thanks everyone, I think Roddy Doyle is one of those writers that has something for everyone.