Full Maxol jacket in Mullingar.

There was big talk of a meeting due to the dire decrease in numbers. The motivational phone calls weren’t doing the trick and the screaming requests for paid expenses, accurate wages and general understanding of the Irish psyche when it came to quare companies, were falling on deaf ears. It was decided, in the spirit of respect for employees, and to add professional gravity to the situation, and in line with the budgetary ethos, that we ought to meet out the back of the Maxol petrol station beside the car wash, in Mullingar.

            We talked on the way over about how best to approach this council of war? We were coming from Athlone. They were coming from Dublin. What tactics might provide the most profitable outcome. Jimmy said we should insist on a lower target, get food expenses, and clean jackets. Last week he got a company jacket in the post that hadn’t been washed since the time of Fred Flintstone. It had the smell of a wet dog mixed with sour milk and it was too big, so he looked like a man about to jump down a manhole and go shovelling shite for the day.

            Joe was in the back, scrolling through a phone with a cracked screen, and said: ‘Do you think we could get a raise?’

            The road rolled past like an escalator, cats eyes, and trees laughing at the idea of getting more money. All this was cutting into my day. I’d already missed Joe Duffy and the future of The Hard Shoulder at half four was in doubt. Sure this is pure slavery altogether.

             Next thing didn’t I get an email, was I still ok for the interview later on?

            Interview? Oh yeah, fuck.

            That.

            There was a crowd wanting to talk about another job somewhere else. I had applied for so many I wasn’t sure which one this was about.

            I looked it up. Didn’t seem too bad. They even had an office and mad things like a payroll. It would be tight with the meeting, but I could swing it.

            Later at the Maxol, boutique ambience for big businessmen like ourselves, Midlands 103 on the speakers over the deli, a limited time offer on toilet paper. The Dublin crowd sprung for coffees all around and made half-hearted offers of chewy croissants. Then we went outside and got down to it, which turned out to be a pep talk on costs, profits, the importance of ambition and the need to keep focused on potential and growth. It was hard to hear them after a while cos there was a lad power washing an Audi and the spray was kind of drifting over into our eyes and landing on the rim of the cups. There was no move on more money, or a raise, and the lower target was taken into consideration – which meant not a fuckin hope either.

            Good job I had that interview.

            Later, caught for time, I set the phone up on the dashboard. Gelled the hair, fired on a fasht tie and got set up.

             They appeared on the screen like two fellas just back from the beach. T-shirts, tired eyes, the sitting room cabinets behind them, struggling to stay interested.

            Talked shite for a while and they said they’d let me know.

            Later the email came from Laura, Linda, Lisa, I can’t remember which.

             Didn’t go well, she said. You can’t be doing interviews in the car like that. Not professional. But we’ll keep you on file.

            Do, Lorraine, keep me on file. Thanks

The Left Bank.

One day the woman in the bank said: ‘Why don’t you have a debit card?’

         ‘I don’t want one.’

         ‘Wouldn’t it be handy?’

         ‘How so?’

         ‘You wouldn’t have to come in here any time you need money. You could just get it at the ATM.’

         ‘Wouldn’t you be out of a job then?’

         She laughed, haughty, said: ‘Oh no, don’t worry, we’ve plenty to do.’

         ‘Still, you’re grand.’

         She seemed upset. Filled out the forms, went for the cash, printed the receipt, asked me to sign it. She took the biro back like I might steal it and threw it in the drawer. There was a bit of a queue now. A farmer with a chequebook, some lad with a bag of coins and a woman with a wired child. All held up by the lad that could have just gone to the ATM.

         Next week, she asked the same thing. And will she fill out the form?

         I told her no, you’re grand. I like cash. I know where I am, then. Them cards, sure who knows? She shook her head, filled out the forms, printed the receipt, counted the cash like she hated it. Some lad behind me was waiting to make a lodgement and another woman working there asked him why he doesn’t just use the new fancy machine in the corner. Sure ya can lodge like that now, don’t ya know? Just use your card, put in your pin, and get the receipt. No need to queue at all. No need to bother the staff, sure we’re busy.

         The following week they were in a hurry because the hours were reduced. There was a man at the counter wondering if he could lodge money into his daughter’s account. And she was in Dublin, and he was in Mayo, and how would that work? They asked him if he had online banking and he said no, not really. They had a tablet alright, but he didn’t use it much. The woman there explained all the benefits of banking on the internet and how he could do all this at home, and there was no need to come in anymore, and all he needed was the computer and a few passwords and ask the daughter the next time and she’ll set it up for him. Sound, he said, and then it was my turn to take out the cash. Well, she said, eye roll, will we get you set up with a debit card or what?

         Go on, so.

         And it arrived a week later, and it was grand, and it was pure handy like she said and I must thank her when I see her again but I don’t go to the bank much anymore. And the farmer with the cheques probably doesn’t go either, and the other man with the daughter in Dublin, or the woman with the kid, or the fella with the bags of coins. Sure, there’s no point anyway cos the bank is closed since cos there’s no need for anyone to work there anymore cos it’s all so handy now.

*

Athlone Launch of Mick Donnellan’s new novel – The Naked Flame @ All-Ireland Drama Fringe Festival – Sunday 8th of May – 2pm.

You are invited to the Athlone launch of:

Mick Donnellan’s new novel

The Naked Flame 

Athlone Castle

On 

Sunday 8th of May

*TIME: 2pm.

In conjunction with the All-Ireland Drama Fringe Festival

&

Poetry in the Park

Media Contact: mickdonnellan@hotmail.com

You can now read The Naked Flame on Kindle here: 

The Naked Flame on Kindle

You can now 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. 

Poetry in the Park & Fringe Festival.

Poetry in the Park is a community event, open to all ages and nationalities. It is held on the first Sunday of every month at 2pm. This month’s event will take place in Athlone Castle and will feature many local writers, musicians, and poets. As usual, all artists will have a chance to showcase their work and add to the cultural ambience of the occasion. The group have been kind enough to offer Mick Donnellan the opportunity to launch his new novel – The Naked Flame on the day. It also promises to be a very exciting and creative time around Athlone as the All-Ireland Drama Festival and Fringe Festival will be in full swing. All are welcome and urged to attend and the invite is open to all artists, families and anyone else looking for day out with a creative difference. 

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.

Read more on 

http://www.mickdonnellan.com