Thursday, November 2, 2017

Art, man.

November 02, 2017 0 Comments
Big talk about a screenplay of El Nino. Hey, Mick, we should film this, how bout goin to RTE and tellin them you have it, then fillin out this form, find a producer, some actors, few million Euro and we're off, be sound, don't worry bout the rain, or the wind, or all the other stuff that makes a shite of outdoor scenes. Thing being, film craic takes millions, or so they say. On the other hand, there's an awful lottta talk about this camera, and this shooting style, and these microphones, and have you heard of the dslryxuppgmty programmers that work with an rtchyuingy laptop and make these new films called ghthelanfbt? Fuck's sake. wouldn't mind just goin out with a camera and shoot it and see what happens, the lighting's shite, so what? There's a homeless lad in the background having a piss against the van, he's an extra, why's the cops there, they're lookin for work, can't really hear it, you make it better so ya bollocks. What happened to plain old innovation? In moate here, lookin out the window at the dead sky and the coming rain and the laughin trees, trees always seem to be laughin up here, in a way that says - you're fucked now. They're like washed up gamblers watchin everyone make the mistakes they did and loving it. Come to think of it, seen a scarecrow outside earlier with a basketball for a head. might go and make a film of him, it's all art, man.
El Niño is the exciting debut novel from Mayo man, Mick Donnellan. Slick, stylish and always entertaining, the story is a rollercoaster of drama and tension that hasn't been seen in Irish fiction for a very long time. Charlie is our protagonist, the pick pocket that steals El Nino's wallet and then falls in love with her. She's the wild femme fatale, beautiful; enigmatic and seductive. Her father named her El Niño because the night she was born there was a storm, and he said it signified the way she was to live her life. And right he was. She rocks Charlie's world with her smoky wiles and drinking ways and her tough chick ideals. This is Noir at its best. Dark and edgy with crisp fresh dialogue and a plot that engages the reader from the first line and keeps him up all night - right through to it's powerful finish. Noir by its definition suggests the dark side of life. The less colourful tinges of existence, but Donnellan illustrates the criminal underworld with an ease that's almost casual, striking always a tone of authenticity and truth. It's the test of a truly great novel if its events are always consistent with its setting and universe, and our author has achieved that here with commendable nonchalance. This is most evident in the character of Kramer and his gang of cocaine dealing psychopaths. Charlie used to be part of their crew but went his own way after a near death bout with alcoholism and some irreconcilable differences with the self-styled Escobar's. Now it's five years later and he's getting on with his life, trying to get away with El Niño, leave the country and start fresh once and for all. This is the crux of the story and Donnellan skillfully weaves the two narratives together. On one hand we have Charlie's fresh start and his new life, and on the other, his old demons back to haunt him and threaten to destroy everything he's been trying to build. Although a gripping thriller on the surface, the story also carries some strong social undertones. We witness the development of a young criminal. (Charlie) A man that spent his youth drinking heavy, robbing wallets and shops and post-offices to survive, and eventually becoming an alcoholic, only to turn it all around at the last possible moment. But we are left with the question - is it possible for him to succeed? Is the pull of the criminal world too strong? Are his old associates prepared to let him reform so easily? And does he even have a choice, or is he predestined to a criminal life, unable to conform, drawn to doing what he knows best? And can he stay sober? The doctors have warned him - one more bout and it's curtains. The answers to these questions are resolved with tragic consequences for all involved; and El Niño's storm leaves plenty of destruction in it's wake, knocking the reader out with it's phenomenal climax and it's cyclone ending. Perhaps the most exciting part of this publication is that it comes from the heart of Mayo. Set in Ballinrobe, then spanning to Galway and back again, Donnellan has taken the West of Ireland and firmly placed it on the crime writing map. With flavours of Dashiel Hammet and Micky Spillane, the author never loses sight of his own locality. The poetry of Ireland's West is always fresh on the page. Everything from the bustle of Galway city, to the curious streets of Ballinrobe bounces off the book with the kind of vivid imagery and poetic description worthy of the world's finest writers. Apparently, we have entered an explosive time for West of Ireland fiction and one not to be ignored by publishers and retailers alike. It's refreshing knowledge that we no longer need to look to Hollywood, or London or Dublin for quality writing. It's right here on our door step. And long may it last. The best place to get a copy of El Niño is here Mick Donnellan is also the Artistic Director of Truman Town Theatre. The company has been immensely successful in the last year with Donnellan's Plays - Sunday Morning Coming Down, Shortcut to Hallelujah, Gun Metal Grey and Velvet Revolution. His other writing success includes working with Druid Theatre in 2009 under the New Writer's Programme and most recently he he co-wrote - Lucky Run, the mini-crime series which won the RTE Storyland Competition in 2011. You can contact any time on It's also available in Mayo at Martin Murphy's Ballinrobe, Martin Healy's Topaz Ballinrobe. Malachy Flanagan's shop in Kilmaine. Eugene Walsh's Centra, Kilamine. & In Galway @ Charlie Byrne's, Dubray books and The Bell, Book and Candle. It retails @ 12..99. (EURO)

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