DRINKERS WITH WRITING PROBLEMS

My Writing Life

Image

BRENDAN BEHAN, seen here with Harpo Marx, often said ‘ I’m not a writer with a drinking problem, I’m a drinker with a writing problem’. His brother, Brian, saw it slightly differently;   ‘What Brendan really was was a painter with a writing problem. No matter in what country of the globe he resided, or how many luminaries he met, the would always be a painter in his soul . If he had remained one for his livelihood, he could still be alive today’. In other words it was the fame that killed him just as much as the drink.

This is a poem that Dominic O’Riordan wrote about Brendan

I remember him riding the air

A mixture of Puck and the goban Saor

With ruffled shirt and hair astray

In Grafton Street on a gusty day

Respectable gents and maiden aunts

Held tightly in their briefs and pants

Lest their bowels…

View original post 37 more words

SECRET CHILD

My Writing Life

81IwXo3pVSL._AC_UL436_

I have just completed adapting the book SECRET CHILD, written by Gordon Lewis, to a stage play. SECRET CHILD is a true story, set in Dublin of the 1950’s and London of the 1960’s, and was published to great acclaim by Harper Collins in 2015.                                                  It tells the story of Gordon, a young boy born an ‘unfortunate’ onto the rough streets of 1950s Dublin and raised as as secret child in a home for unmarried mothers.  His mother was so determined to keep her child, she hid him from her own family and the rest of the world for nine years.

Despite the poverty, hardship and isolation, the pride and hope of this small community of women gave this boy the courage to dream and made…

View original post 65 more words

JOHN MARTYN -May You Never

John Martyn – May You Never

from album: Solid Air (1973)
May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold
Verse 1
Your just like a great strong brother of mine and you know that I love you true
You never talk dirty behind my back and I know there are those that do
Won’t you please, won’t you please, won’t you bear in mind
Love is a lesson to learn in our time
Won’t you please won’t please won’t you bear in mind for me
May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold
Verse 2
And your just like a good warm sister me and you know that I love you true
You hold no blade to stab me in the back and I know that some do
Won’t you please won’t you please won’t you bear in mind
Life is a lesson to learn in our time
Won’t you please won’t you please won’t you bear it mind for me
May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold
Repeat verse 1
May you never lose your temper if you get hit in a bar room fight
May you never lose your woman over night
May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold
May you never lose your temper if you get hit in a bar room fight
May you never lose your woman over night

SECRET CHILD

81IwXo3pVSL._AC_UL436_

I have just completed adapting the book SECRET CHILD, written by Gordon Lewis, to a stage play. SECRET CHILD is a true story, set in Dublin of the 1950’s and London of the 1960’s, and was published to great acclaim by Harper Collins in 2015.                                                  It tells the story of Gordon, a young boy born an ‘unfortunate’ onto the rough streets of 1950s Dublin and raised as as secret child in a home for unmarried mothers.  His mother was so determined to keep her child, she hid him from her own family and the rest of the world for nine years.

Despite the poverty, hardship and isolation, the pride and hope of this small community of women gave this boy the courage to dream and made anything seem possible.

The play will have a rehearsed reading  at the London Irish Centre, Camden, London NWI,  on Friday 9th August at 2.30pm – directed by John Dunne –  with hopefully a full production  later in the year. Watch this space!!

Below is a short video based on the book which received world-wide attention and won many awards at various film festivals all over UK, Europe and Worldwide.

https://www.secretchild.com/

 

 

A LOAF OF BREAD AND A CAN OF SPECIAL BREW

My Writing Life

 

A LOAF OF BREAD AND A CAN OF SPECIAL BREW

 He sat on a seafront  pew
A loaf of bread and a can of Special Brew
By his side
Speaking to someone who wasn’t there.
Though these day you can never tell
Whether they are or not;
He may have had a mobile phone in his ear.
Then he spoke to me;
What are you fucking looking at, blue?
Yeah, I thought, that figures

And a happy New Year to you too!                                                                                                    

View original post

BRENDAN BEHAN STANDS UP….

all my books are available on Amazon

BRENDAN BEHAN STAND UP…  (extract)

 By Tom O’Brien

 The lounge of the Chelsea Hotel in New York    BRENDAN BEHAN enters singing, a bottle and glass in one hand. He pours the drink

 (sings)

My name is Brendan Behan

I’m the leader of the banned

Now that Borstal Boy

Is banned throughout the land

Banned in me own country.

I read that they banned it in Australia too.

But hey can’t fucken read there!

But me own country…

Sure the place is full of begrudgers. Dublin is a jealous

city. It’s hard to find a writer to admit that a fellow

writer can put two words together. Beckett was right

when he said he’d rather France at war than Ireland at peace

any day of the week. Maybe it’s time to move on.

(pause)

I was thinking  maybe  New York.

 

(sings) New York…New York…

I love New York. New York is my Lourdes, where I go for spiritual refreshment, a place where you’re least likely to be bitten by a wild goat And New York likes Irish people. Not like England. But to be fair to the English, they only dislike some Irish – the same Irish that the Irish themselves dislike, Irish writers. Well, the ones like meself anyway – the ones that think (more drink) Well, feck the begrudgers, that’s what I say…

 

pause

 

Do yous know one British critic asked me? “Mr Behan, what message is in

your writing.”“Message”, says I. “What the hell do you think I am, a bloody postman!”

 

Although saying that, Spain takes the biscuit. The only time I ever visited that kip

I was mobbed by a pack of hyenas –  well, reporters.

Anyway, one of them, asked me what I would most like to see on my visit. Franco’s

funeral, says I. Well, before you could say Hiel Hitler, the Fascist bastards threw me

in goal.  And then threw me out’a the country

 

(takes a swig) I saw a sign the other day which said ‘Drink Canada Dry’. Well,

I‘m off there next week to give it a go.

.

                                          …………………………………..

 

 

(sings)  On the eighteenth day of November

Outside the town of Macroom

The Tans in the big Crossley tender

Were driving along to their doom

But the boys of the brigade were waiting

With hand grenades primed on the spot

And The Irish Republican Army

Made shite of the whole bloody’ lot

 

Aren’t the Brits wonderful itself? First they put me in jail and then they made me a rich man

I done me porridge in England.And what for? I didn’t get very far in Liverpool, did I? All I was going to do was stick a few Peggys Legs down the funnel of a battleship in the docks and pretend it was Guy Fawkes night. The peelers nabbed me before I even left me room.  Three years Borstal.  I went in a boy and came out a man.  And an atheist to boot.

They said that the ruination of my country has been caused by our over-fondness for drink.  As a nation, I mean. I can think of many things that  caused the ruination of our country – and they had fuck-all to do with the gargle.  Cromwell, The Penal Laws, Partition, to name but a few.

‘To Hell or to Connaught’. That was Cromwell’s advice to all Irish Catholics.

”Under penalty of death, no Irish man, woman, or child, is
to let himself, herself, itself be found east of the River Shannon after May      1st 1654′

Ah yes, a very civilized nation the English were back then. Not that they had improved much by 1916 – or 1946

Any country that can send a gunboat up the Liffey, to defeat six hundred men, when she already has thirty thousand soldiers pounding the bejaysus out’a them, can’t call it cricket. With a few more guns ourselves we’d have riveted a lot more of their brave boys to the railings around O’Connell Street.

Did I not tell yous I was in the IRA? The Dublin Brigade. The elite of the Irish Republican Army. We might not have fancy guns and uniforms, but bejasus we wiped the smiles off a lot of faces with what we did have. The ould conjurers trick of potash, chloride and sulphuric acid worked wonders…

 

Then I had that bit of bother in Glasnevin and I lost touch for with real life for another few years. It was my jailing for the attempted murder of a Special Branch man in Glasnevin cemetery during the Easter Rising commemoration service.

 

I did fire a couple of shots at the Special Branchers, but jaysus, they were firin’ at me! I went on the run, but me own side weren’t too happy.  I’d taken the gun with me you see – IRA property – and I heard that they sentenced me to death in me absence.  I sent them a nice letter asking them could they carry out the sentence in me absence too!

 

Ah, it all blew over eventually.

                                           …………………………………

Now, where was I?

Oh yes, the oul’ religion. My ould fella wouldn’t be seen dead inside a church. But he’d call us every Sunday morning; ‘Go out and meet your God you lazy pack of hounds’

 

Once a priest called to get up a collection for the Fascists in Spain – and we starvin’ with the cold and hunger ourselves. Da fecked him off and the priest told we’d burn in hell for eternity. ‘At least we’ll be bloody  warm’, Da shouted.

 

All that talk about damnation.  We were damned all right – like all the poor in this country. Damned with hunger.

 

Prayer and masturbation. The Catholic Church’s answer to promiscuity.  Well, they’re fifty percent right. Sex and religion, that’s what has Ireland banjaxed. Not enough of the first and too much of the other Or is it the other way round? Ma, now, she had no interest in sex. All she did was lie back and count the pawn tickets.

 

During my Borstal Boy days the prison chaplain wouldn’t let me attend Mass if I didn’t renounce the IRA.  I told him to shag off.  Wasn’t I in good company.  Weren’t the rebels in 1798 excommunicated, wasn’t De Valera and ten thousand others ex-communicated in 1922 – me own father included?

 

The Bishops of Ireland would ex-communicate their own mothers,  given the chance – the poxy bloody druids.

 

………………………………

 

 

They say my plays are a disgrace and a slander on the Irish people. I just hope ‘they’ paid for their seats. They also say I had no right to put prostitutes on the stage – when veryone knows there’s not a prostitute in Ireland. I suppose St Patrick drove them out too – like the snakes!

 

(Takes a drink) They also say I’m a writer with drinking problems. But they’re wrong. I’m a drinker with writing problems. (he waves the naggin) This is my oxygen. If I can’t have it, I’ll suffocate.

pause

Ya know…there’s only one thing worse than dying, and that’s thinking about it.

 

pause

 

.

(sings)  Never throw stones at your mother

You’ll be sorry when she’s dead

Never throw stones at your mother

Throw bricks at your father instead..

 

 

(Takes a swig from his bottle) Up the Republic! Up…my arse. D’you know something? I have no politics. I make them up as I go along. Communism, Socialism, Rheumatism – they’re all the fucking same..(Swigs again) Up Dev!

 

Ah yes, De Valera, the bloody Spaniard. I spent four years in the Curragh at his pleasure.

The scrawny bastard. It was because of him we were neutral in the war. Where England

is concerned, Ireland can never be neutral. You’re either for them or against them.

 

Dev should have contacted his friend Mr Hitler and asked to borrow a couple of his

doodlebugs. Then a couple of us could have dropped them on the House Of Commons

under the cover of darkness and blown the shaggin lot to kingdom come.

 

They say De Valera fought against the English. But he fought against his own people too. Should we praise him for that?  Brother against brother, father against son. Ireland lost some of her finest sons in that little disagreement.

Do you know what, instead of executing Pierce, Connolly and the rest of them they should have charged them with disturbing the peace and given them seven days, and that would have been the end of the republican movement…

 

                                 ……………………………………..

WHO KILLED JAMES JOYCE?

My Writing Life


//

Who Killed James Joyce? by Patrick Kavanagh

Who killed James Joyce?
I, said the commentator,
I killed James Joyce
For my graduation.

What weapon was used
To slay mighty Ulysses?
The weapon that was used
Was a Harvard thesis.

How did you bury Joyce?
In a broadcast Symposium.
That’s how we buried Joyce
To a tuneful encomium.

Who carried the coffin out?
Six Dublin codgers
Led into Langham Place
By W. R. Rodgers.

Who said the burial prayers? –
Please do not hurt me –
Joyce was no Protestant,
Surely not Bertie?

Who killed Finnegan?
I, said a Yale-man,
I was the man who made
The corpse for the wake man.

And did you get high marks,
The Ph.D.?
I got the B.Litt.
And my master’s degree.

Did you get money
For your Joycean knowledge?
I got a scholarship
To Trinity College.

I made the pilgrimage
In the Bloomsday…

View original post 9 more words