“I think Northern humour is very dark. You laugh about everything that goes on. Maybe it’s not unique in that a joke always follows a tragedy, but it’s how you deal with things. When David Trimble was involved with the peace process he actually gave one of my books into 10 Downing Street, saying: ‘This says more about Northern Ireland than you’re going to find in a text book. This is how things are.’ I tend to write serious stories which happen to be very funny. The humour is always going to be there. One of my books, MOHAMMED MAGUIRE, was taking the piss out of the hunger strikes. It’s not that everything is fair game and that I decide that I am going to have a go at the hunger strikes. It just sort of comes out and people seem to like it. My last book, I PREDICT A RIOT, was the first of all my books that received a sustained amount of critical negative feedback from readers. It started off as a serial in a newspaper in Belfast and because I couldn’t swear in it, I put asterisks in it. I got dozens of emails saying, ‘Bring back the swearing, we miss the swearing,’ which is a sad reflection on the people who are reading my books. But I’m quite at home with them, the fuckers.”Hmmm. Can swearing ever be big and clever? Or is it only so when Master Bateman uses rudeys? Only time, that rat-faced frickin’ clam-mouthed curmudgeon, will tell …
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Belfast: Giggle City?
The ever-lovely Ciara Dwyer interviewed the ever-fragrant Artist Formerly Known As Colin Bateman (right) for the Sunday Independent last weekend, on the latest leg of the Bateman world domination / ORPHEUS RISING tour, during which the Batemeister waxed lyrical about that most elusive of sprites, Norn Iron humour. To wit: