“Declan Burke is his own genre. The Lammisters dazzles, beguiles and transcends. Virtuoso from start to finish.” – Eoin McNamee “This bourbon-smooth riot of jazz-age excess, high satire and Wodehouse flamboyance is a pitch-perfect bullseye of comic brilliance.” – Irish Independent Books of the Year 2019 “This rapid-fire novel deserves a place on any bookshelf that grants asylum to PG Wodehouse, Flann O’Brien or Kyril Bonfiglioli.” – Eoin Colfer, Guardian Best Books of the Year 2019 “The funniest book of the year.” – Sunday Independent “Declan Burke is one funny bastard. The Lammisters ... conducts a forensic analysis on the anatomy of a story.” – Liz Nugent “Burke’s exuberant prose takes centre stage … He plays with language like a jazz soloist stretching the boundaries of musical theory.” – Totally Dublin “A mega-meta smorgasbord of inventive language ... linguistic verve not just on every page but every line.Irish Times “Above all, The Lammisters gives the impression of a writer enjoying himself. And so, dear reader, should you.” – Sunday Times “A triumph of absurdity, which burlesques the literary canon from Shakespeare, Pope and Austen to Flann O’Brien … The Lammisters is very clever indeed.” – The Guardian

Sunday, September 14, 2008

TV Or Not TV, That Is The Question

A rather interesting few hours was had by your genial host last evening. The venue was RTE, the Irish state broadcaster, and the occasion was Ryan Tubridy’s (right) The Tubridy Tonight show, Ireland’s equivalent of the David Letterman yak-fest. The object of the exercise was to talk about Ireland’s obsession with crime in the company of crime fiction scribe Declan Hughes and the Daily Star’s crime correspondent, Mick O’Toole, co-author with John Mooney of BLACK OPERATIONS: THE SECRET WAR AGAINST THE REAL IRA. I was there masquerading as an expert in Irish crime fiction.
  As it transpired, there was very little in the way of chat about crime fiction, with the conversation concentrating on true-crime cases, and particularly the stories of Madeleine McCann, Farah Noor and Rachel O’Reilly. Not being an aficionado of true-crime writing, my contribution was limited to suggesting that the Irish fascination with crime – I reckoned ‘obsession’ was a bit strong, and has morbid connotations – is a positive thing. Take the Farah Noor case, aka the ‘Scissors Sisters’ story. If the dismembered body of a man turned up in a canal and didn’t provoke appalled fascination, then serious questions would have to be asked about the emotional well-being of a society that could be so callously indifferent.
  I also suggested that Ireland, despite its rapidly growing population, is still a relatively small country, which gives its high-profile crime cases a potent immediacy and intimacy. That’s not to say we’re a village where everyone knows everyone else, but if there’s a murder in such-and-such pub, say, there’s a good chance you know someone who drank there, or you were on that street three weeks ago, or you know someone who lives in the area.
  There’s also the largely unremarked fact that while the Republic of Ireland went about its business blissfully and / or wilfully ignorant of its burgeoning criminal class until the investigative journalist Veronica Guerin was murdered in 1996, less than a hundred miles to the north there were regular (on occasion daily) outbreaks of violence, murder and bombings being visited on Northern Ireland’s population.
  The bad news is that last night’s Tubridy Tonight was a ‘dry run’ pilot for the forthcoming series, so it won’t actually be screened on TV. Boo. Still, it was interesting to see how that kind of show is put together, and it’s another story for the grandkids.
  Most interesting of all was the pre-show conversation in the Green Room, where Mick O’Toole gave myself and Dec Hughes the inside skinny on some of Ireland’s more high-profile crime cases, most of which wasn’t fit to print at the time and won’t be repeated here for fear of finding my pert little ass sued off. But it does beg the question – given the terrific examples of Gene Kerrigan’s grittily realistic novels, when are Ireland’s crime correspondents going to start writing crime fiction?


Gerard Brennan said...

Any chance they'll include you in a future show?


Declan Burke said...

It's possible, Gerard ... they said it might happen, although I doubt it will. But I'll keep you posted ... Cheers, Dec

Stuart Neville said...

I was about to mither about missing this show, only for you to reveal it was never on in the first place! Still, interesting that the topic was used for the dry run anyway.