Magazine road

After a while, the company left the country. Pulled out, reversed its financial boat and went full throttle over the waves of escape from the doomed Irish market. This is how I see them, on a yacht, or a ship, or some kind of super commercial freighter with a scrawny European name and a bright flag and lads in orange jumpsuits shaking their head at the coast of dreams that became their broke nightmare. They must have been thinking about all that promise and hope they had. Like them two lads that started one day and were going to change everything. Take over the Midlands Campaign, promote the region, grow the book, enlarge the territory, expand the reach. This was big, these guys had serious experience and credentials. This was what we’ve been waiting for. Except one lad couldn’t drive and the other had a fucked up Insignia that he couldn’t afford to fix. But this was ok. Let’s work towards solution based goals. Ideas like: Ask Micky to drive them around, sure isn’t that why we gave him the car, and he’s doing shag all anyway.

            I met them outside the designated hotel in Athlone. Expecting suits, sophisticated tablets, expensive ties and serious aftershave. Clean cut lads with a killer instinct and a desire to win. They struggled around the corner and the first fella had a three day stubble and thick glasses and a bag full of cigarette papers and tobacco and bottled tap water. He had habit of looking at the ground when he talked and explaining everything in rapid detail. The market was quiet. The customers were awkward. The product was poor. The company had such an awful wank of a name that half the public couldn’t even pronounce it. And the management were awful. The weather was dodgy. The walking was killing him. And they wouldn’t pay for buses and trains. And he needed a toilet. And herself at home had his head bushted about the price of schoolbooks and fuck this. The other lad was tall, quiet, black jeans, torn shoes, four kids, and no interest in the job. You could tell by the way he sat on the wall and worked hard scrolling through the phone. Half his day’s wages was already gone between the train down and lunch and it was nearly time to go home and there was no hope of commission, and did I know anyone looking to buy a broke down Insignia?

            This was great, the promised team, the life changing salary, the head hunted prize. The sun was laughing as we went over the speed bumps on Magazine road. Went around by Connaught Street and down O’Connell. Waved at the Romanian lad playing accordion at the roundabout. He was probably making more money than me today. The bridge felt uncertain, like it might break half way across and we’d fall in bonnet first and that’d be the end of the great campaign and sure who’d take over then? No Micky to drive anyone around, and the car in the river, and the two lads drenched wet on the way home on the train and still no sales. Ring ring, went the phone, looking for updates, numbers, progress. How’d you get on with the guys, Mick, exciting times ahead….

Yoda in the Skoda

There was a Mondeo in Bellmullet. Test, no tax, “….she won’t need much….” after that it was all Ballina, Ballycastle and Castlebar. Passats, Hondas and heaps of Insignias. There was Insignias everywhere. All washed, looking good, but dead inside. “Engine light on, not sure, probably just a sensor…” which is Chinese for that oil seal yoke that blows the engine that everyone suddenly knows about and is dying to tell you only after you buy it. Been there, done that, burnt the fuckin t-shirt. One lad had a Skoda for sale but had no keys. The car was locked but you could look in the side window and if you liked what you saw you could tow it away. No tax, test, and no logbook “…hence the price…” 

On went the dream. A Kia in Limerick. A Tuscon in Crossmolina. Cars in the North at crazy cheap prices til you add the VRT and the wonderful Nox. An Avensis in Headford. A Focus in Roscommon.  Lads offering PCP. Sure PCP is easy. Almost certain to get it. Here’s one now, a nice 1 litre, affordable, reliable, guaranteed. Call today, drive away. Yours by lunch, no credit crunch. Take the wheel, enjoy the steal. Want to go far, then buy this car. Sure that’ll do, time to get out of the dregs, into the big leagues, shiny at the football pitch with the child, big shtuff. Here we went, just a case of picking it up. There was breeze, a bruised sky, and an uncertain salesman. Yeah, them deals were a while ago, where’d you read that?  

– Internet. 

-Oh right. See. Well. Let’s try.  

We tried. There was paperwork. Questions. More questions. Questions about questions. Bit like giving blood. Then there was forms. Beloved forms. Upload this, scan that, make sure it’s this date and from these places only. Now we’ll think about it. Hit submit and we’ll be back within 48 to 72 hours and we might need more. Depends on if you fucked it up. No car today, no steal of a deal or fancy wheels making lunch time reels around shiny new leather roundabouts of long term debt and wonderful guarantees of reliable travel. 

Back to Donedeal. Even the Skoda with no keys was gone by now.  

The phone rang, then. The dealer that bought the Peugeot. Christ, Jesus, why’s he ringing me? Didn’t I tell him it didn’t work? He was hardly wondering about the weedkiller in the engine? 

I answered with a tentative, hello? Like I wasn’t sure who it was. Casual, innocent, blameless in this whole mess.  

He didn’t buy it, asked: ‘Have you got a new car yet?  

‘Heh?’ 

‘Are you still lookin for somethin? I met your oul fella downtown. He said you were lookin…’ 

‘I….am. Well, just waiting on a PCP….’ 

‘I have a yoke here for ya.’ 

‘Oh yeah?’ 

‘Yeah, two months test, tax, and in good shape. I’ll call around and show to ya.’ 

‘Eh….’ 

‘Are you at the house?’ 

‘Ya.’ 

‘Sound….I’ll be outside in two minutes.’ 

And he was.  

 

  

Mayo Launch of Mick Donnellan’s new novel – The Naked Flame.

You are invited to the launch of

Mick Donnellan’s new novel 

The Naked Flame 

Ballinrobe Market 

On Easter Saturday

16th of April

**Time 1.30pm**

Media Contact: mickdonnellan@hotmail.com

You can read The Naked Flame on Kindle here: 

The Naked Flame on Kindle

You can buy The Naked Flame on Paperback here: 

The Naked Flame in Paperback 

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 

About Mick Donnellan:

Mick Donnellan completed the MA in Writing at NUIG in 2004. Since then, he has worked as a novelist, travel writer, teacher and Playwright. He completed his first novel, El Niño, in 2004 and immediately secured a literary agent. He left Ireland soon after and went on to live in Spain, Australia, and Canada. While traveling he worked as a journalist and co-founded the Arts Paper – Urban Pie – in Vancouver. Upon returning to Ireland he went on to work with Druid (2009) and RTE (2010)  and El Niño was published in 2012 with excellent reviews.   

Later, Mick established his own theatre company, Truman Town Theatre. All Truman Town Plays are written, directed, and produced by Mick. The company exploded on to the theatrical circuit in 2011 with their hit Play – Sunday Morning Coming Down. Following a national tour, they went on to produce (and tour) two more hugely successful Plays Shortcut to Hallelujah and Gun Metal Grey. These dramas eventually became known as the “Ballinrobe Trilogy.”  

Moving slightly from rural settings but not themes, the theatre company toured a fourth Play, Velvet Revolution. Set in a stark urban landscape, it created interest in Mick’s work among the film industry. He followed Velvet Revolution with his fifth Play – Radio Luxembourg – and it was immediately optioned by London Film Company Dixon/Baxi/Evans and adapted for the screen.  

While the film was in development, Mick’s second novel – Fisherman’s Blues – was published. As it rose up the ranks, and enjoyed positive reviews, Mick was taken on board as screenwriter on the Radio Luxembourg project. After some months commuting to and from London, the script was complete, and a shoot was organised in the Jordanian desert. Titled Tiger Raid and Starring Brian Gleeson, Damian Molony and Sofia Boutella, it was accepted into the Tribeca film festival (New York) and was also seen at Cannes and Edinburgh. The Irish Premiere was screened at the Galway Film Fleadh. You can read more about Tiger Raid and watch the trailer here:    

 Other exciting projects include the screen adaptation of Shortcut to Hallelujah with Florence Films. The screenplay is titled Sam and is based around the gypsy curse supposedly set on the Mayo Football team as they returned home as All Ireland Champions in 1951. Set in the present day, Sam is drenched in Irish lyricism and modern-day dark humour. The script has been met with keen interest by film producers and actors throughout the industry.  

Mick has lectured part-time in writing at the AIT (Athlone Institute of Technology) in County Westmeath. The course has enjoyed an exponential increase in numbers since its inception in September 2017. April 2019 saw the release of the well-received Tales from the Heart which is a collection of creative work from the students. It was launched at the college by bestselling author and esteemed politician Mary O’Rourke. 

Mick has worked as a writing lecturer at NUI Galway.

http://www.mickdonnellan.com