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Guardian review of Partick McCabe book

    


This review mentions"a dream-sequence out of Joni Mitchell's 'California Sunshine'' (whatever that is), but it doesn't say if or how Joni figures in the latest novel from the great Patrick McCabe. If you plan to read it, please make a note of the Joni content and let us know what it is. For what it's worth, here's the review:
Here's to Ireland
Patrick McCabe's humour in Call Me the Breeze disguises a tough treatise on the relationship between the artist and society, says CL Dallat
Saturday September 6, 2003
The Guardian
Who ate all the pies? And can Scotsfield's Joey Tallon really tell us much new about the complex, if predictably depressing, intersections of sex, drugs, skinflicks and paramilitary rackets in a 1970s border town? Fans of Patrick McCabe will have relived 60s Ireland through the endearingly homicidal Francie Brady in The Butcher Boy (1992) and discovered the downside of the 70s through the eyes of student teacher and Charles Manson fan Malachy Dudgeon in The Dead School (1995). Now Joey, his latest spaced-out hunk of mother love, siege-survivor, bystander at terrorist atrocities, graduate of Mountjoy Jail and erstwhile community film-maker, offers a weepingly explosive take on that most distressful border between two unstable political realities.
Joey's present position in a dilapidated caravan on Scotsfield's outskirts, and the events that have led him there, piece themselves together gradually from the excavation of a leatherette holdall of manic scribblings dating back to 1976. This year was remarkable in Joey's book for dropping acid; first seeing De Niro in Taxi Driver; being inducted into the worlds of TS Eliot, John of the Cross, Ginsberg, Tagore and Hesse; proximity to a kangaroo-court execution; and the seismic arrival of Jacy, a dream-sequence out of Joni Mitchell's "California Sunshine".
Subsequent episodes parallel the real-life bombings and shootings that characterised the period, while Joey's pursuit of Jacy remains a figment: and when a peace and reconciliation rally becomes the scene of still further carnage, his Jacy-rescue strategy is, predictably, misunderstood as a terrorist kidnapping. Hence the prison diaries.
This overweight butt of local humour knows too much about the town's darker side and who-was-who back when. Beneath the usual slapstick and skulduggery, Call Me the Breeze is, untypically for McCabe, a tough treatise on the relationship between the artist and society; about nothing less than the obligation to speak. The well-meaning prison governor who includes self-expression in his rehab toolkit is replaced on Joey's release by a creative-writing tutor: a bank clerk whose after-class camaraderie is merely groundwork for his own forthcoming "troubles" epic.
One of the real targets here is the shift from writing as philosophical exploit to the recent autobiographical upsurge. This might be vital to understanding Ireland's mid-century stasis and the more recent maelstrom, but it often peddles populist simplicities. Joey's ability to exploit funding bodies for his community project, the absurd enthusiasm of London publishers for anything Irish, and the mirage of film-backing from U2's Bono tell us much about McCabe's wariness of a smugly hurt Ireland and the gift of "interesting times". From the cranky neighbour to the dippy friend who finally ODs in Clapham, the supporting cast is well worth watching: the ubiqui tous "Big Fellow" is a version of Damon Runyon's lugubrious white-suited augur of death; cellmate Bonehead's insistence that he's not a "tinker" (despite having a tinker name and being inside for de-leading a church roof) registers a particular local snobbery; and Boyle Henry's sinuous segue between commerce, politics, vice and gangsterism will be familiar to followers of current affairs at local or national level in any country.
Then there's Mona, Joey's caravan companion: an inflatable stand-in for his father's long-dead mistress. The psychological complex characterised by this relationship lacks a Freudian/ classical title only because fin-de-siècle Vienna and the Attic mythologisers lacked the antic decadence of McCabe's borderland. However, Joey's indulgences hardly register on the depravity scale against the power-sex-and-cash nexus that fuels local politics on both sides of the law. Such implacable forces are unlikely to allow the autodidact auteur to shoot his masterpiece, The Animal Pit, a would-be one-man truth and reconciliation process, and Joey ends sadly hoist on his own artform. McCabe's epistolary method acknowledges the Victorian Irish Gothic of Bram Stoker's Dracula, but his grand-guignol imagination has roots in the primitive harshness of other 20th-century writing from the borderlands. Though our pie-eating, Mohawk-tonsured Candide is second cousin to Ignatius J Reilly of John Kennedy Toole's New Orleans novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, the world he frequents - Doc Oc's, The Ritzy, Lakeland Local Radio and the mobile-home site - nods rather towards the hazily indolent Florida of Thomas McGuane's The Bushwhacked Piano. But the blistering, unmediated rawness owes still more to earlier southern (American) gothic precursors: Carson McCullers, William Faulkner and - most persistently - the Flannery O'Connor of Wise Blood.
If McCabe has earned a reputation as a comically savage truth-teller about a country too often regarded with the deluded fondness of hindsight, Call Me the Breeze is his "To Ireland in the Coming Times", and must be read, not just for its reflections on the unenviable state of the nation or a generalised despair of the human condition at large, but for sheer warped humour.

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Books (115 references)

» A & R by Bill Flanagan
» About a Boy by Nick Hornby
» American Purgatorio: A Novel by John Haskell
» Anything Goes by Madison Smartt Bell
» Apprentice to the Flower Poet Z: A Novel by Debra  Weinstein
» The Arrival of Fergal Flynn by Brian Kennedy
» The Association by Bentley Little
» Bang! by A Collaboration 
» Barlett's Familiar Quotations by Justin John/Kaplan Bartlett
» The Beautiful Room is Empty by Edmund White
» The Biography: Kate Bush by Rob Jovanovic
» Blackbird by Larry Duplechan
» The Body: A Novel by Hanif  Kureishi
» Both Sides Now: Ecclesiastes and the Human Condition by Peter Barnes
» Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems by Camille Paglia
» Catching Heaven by Sands Hall
» Chain of Hearts by Maureen McCarthy
» City of Glass: Douglas Coupland's Vancouver by Douglas Coupland
» The Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney
» Come in from the Cold by Marsha  Qualey
» The Complaints by Ian Rankin
» Consumption: A Novel by G.S. Johnston
» Coyote by Lynn Vannucci
» The Dark-Eyed Girls by Judith Lennox
» Demonology by Rick Moody
» Dig Infinity! The Life and Art of Lord Buckley by Oliver Trager
» Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
» The Drifters by James A. Michener
» Economy of Errors: SatireWire Gives Business the Business by Andrew Marlatt
» Eight Days A Week by Larry Duplechan
» Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson
» Engleby: A Novel by Sebastian  Faulks
» Essays In Love by Alain de Botton
» Everything You Know by Zoe Heller
» Fight Club , A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk
» A Firing Offence by David  Ignatius
» The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa by Elizabeth Stuckey-French
» Flight: A Celebration of 100 Years in Art and Literature by Anne Colli Goodyear
» Forgive the Moon by Maryanne Stahl
» Fraud by David Rakoff
» Friction Shifting by Daniel   Wesolowski
» Fury: A Novel by Salman  Rushdie
» The Good People of New York by Thisbe Nissen
» The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage by Mark Klempner
» Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
» High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
» The Hindenburg Crashes Nightly by Greg Hrbek
» The Hissing Of The Silent Lonely Room by Paul Charles
» A Home at the End of the World  by Michael Cunningham
» Home Fires: An Intimate Portrait of One Middle-Class Family in Postwar America by Donald Katz
» The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
» How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over  by Theo Pauline Nestor
» Howl: A Collection of the Best Contemporary Dog Wit  by Bark Editors
» I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan
» Icarus by Russell Andrews
» In the City of Shy Hunters  by Tom Spanbauer
» Inconceivable by Ben Elton
» Intimate Nights: The Golden Age of New York Cabaret  by James Gavin
» IPod, Therefore I Am by Dylan M.  Jones
» Izzy and Eve by Neil Drinnan
» Kalki by Gore Vidal
» Killer Cocktail (A Molly Forrester Novel) by Sheryl J. Anderson
» Kiss the Sunset Pig by Laurie Gough
» Lawnboy by Paul Lisicky
» Looking Back by Thomas A. Becker
» Love Me by Garrison  Keillor
» Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen
» Men May Come and Men May Go, But I've Still Got My Little Pink Raincoat: Life and Love In and Out of My Wardrobe by Gigi Anders
» Mercy by Jodi Picoult
» Mothers Are Dangerous With Knives (Moeders zijn gevaarlijk met messen) by Do van Ranst
» Murder at Cleaver Stadium by Douglas Lee Gibboney
» My Life by Bill  Clinton
» My Sister from the Black Lagoon: A Novel of My Life by Laurie Fox
» The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon
» No Touch Monkey! (And other travel lessons learned too late) by Ayun Halliday
» The Official Preppy Handbook by Lisa Birnbach
» On the Road with Bob Dylan: Rolling with the Thunder by Larry Sloman
» One Day by David Nicholls
» Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
» Other People's Dirt: A Housecleaner's Curious Adventures by Louise Rafkin
» Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source by Scott Dikkers and Staff of the Onion
» Paving Paradise by Craig Pittman and  Matthew Waite
» A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
» Prince: Life and Times by Jason Draper
» Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America: A Memoir by Elizabeth Wurtzel
» The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth  Berg
» The Quality of Life Report by Meghan  Daum
» Rapunzel: A Groovy Fairy Tale by Lynn Roberts
» Rhymes with Useless by Terence Young
» The Ruins of California by Martha Sherrill
» A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffet
» Salvo el Crepúsculo by Julio Cortázar
» The Science of Discworld by Terry Pratchett, et al
» Seafood Lover's Guide by Rick Stein
» Sensing Others by Frank Tallis
» Shadow of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann,  Ray Lawrence
» Shadow Tag: A Novel by Louis Erdich
» Shanghai Baby by Wei Hui
» She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
» The Silk Road by Jane  Summer
» Sky Full of Ribbons by Marilyn Arnold
» Spadework by Timothy Findley
» Speaking with the Angel by Various Writers
» The Stand by Stephen King
» Take Another Little Piece of My Heart: A Groupie Grows Up by Pamela Des Barres
» Tea by Stacey D'Erasmo
» The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
» A Traitor to Memory by Elizabeth George
» True Enough by Stephen McCauley
» An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey  by Richard Brautigan
» Violets Are Blue by James Patterson
» Waist-high in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled by Nancy  Mairs
» A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks
» Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore
» The World's Room by Todd London

Films (46)

» 200 Cigarettes (1999)
» 9 1/2 Weeks (1986)
» After Hours (1985)
» Alice's Restaurant (1969)
» Almost Famous (2000)
» The Bridge (2006)
» The Brothers Bloom (2008)
» The Brothers McMullen (1995)
» Camp
» Changes (1969)
» City of Ghosts (2003)
» The Commitments (1991)
» DIVA (1981)
» Down To You (2000)
» Elizabethtown
» Fight Club (1999)
» Foxes (1980)
» Get Over It  (2000)
» Grace of My Heart (1996)
» High Fidelity (2000)
» Hustler White (1996)
» Into The Wild (2007)
» Just Wright (2010)
» The Kids Are All Right (2010)
» Laurel Canyon (2003)
» Life As a House (2001)
» Live Nude Girls (1995)
» Love, Actually (2003)
» Married to It (1991)
» Midnight Cowboy (1969)
» Out of Sight (1998)
» Practical Magic (1998)
» Songcatcher (1999)
» Starting Out in the Evening (2007)
» Still Crazy (1999)
» The Strawberry Statement (1970)
» Swing Vote (2008)
» Switch (1991)
» Tarnation (2003)
» Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991)
» Two Weeks Notice (2002)
» Under the Cherry Moon (2004)
» Vanilla Sky (2001)
» Waking the Dead (2000)
» A Walk on the Moon (1999)
» You've Got Mail (1998)

Television (97)

» The 70s (2002)
» Absolutely Fabulous
» Alias
» Alias (2002)
» Ally McBeal
» Ally McBeal (2000)
» As Told By Ginger
» The Brady Bunch
» Brothers and Sisters (2009)
» C-SPAN White House Meeting & Barangrill (2009)
» Canadian Idol (2004)
» Catterick
» Chicago Hope (1996)
» The Chris Isaac Show
» The Colbert Report (2006)
» The Colbert Report (2008)
» The Colbert Report (2008)
» Dawson's Creek
» Design by Surprise
» Dharma and Greg
» Dr. Phil
» Ellen (1997)
» Emmerdale
» ER
» ER (2002)
» Frasier
» General Hospital (2006)
» Gilmore Girls (2003)
» A Girl Thing
» Grandeur et décadence (1986)
» Guiding Light
» Hey Arnold! (2007)
» I'm Alan Partridge
» Jam and Jerusalem / Clatterford (2009)
» Jeff Buckley
» Jeopardy!
» Jeopardy!
» Just Shoot Me
» Kathy (2013)
» Late Night With Conan O'Brien (Quentin Tarantino) (2005)
» The Late Show with David Letteman
» The Late Show with David Letterman
» The Late Show with David Letterman (1986?)
» The Late Show with David Letterman (2000)
» The Late Show with David Letterman (2000)
» The Late Show with David Letterman (2000)
» The Late Show with David Letterman (2002)
» The Late Show with David Letterman (2002)
» Melrose Place
» Melrose Place
» Melrose Place
» Mercy (2010)
» My Family
» New Girl (2012)
» Nip/Tuck
» Northern Exposure
» Nurse Jackie (2010)
» Once and Again
» Oprah interviews Julia Roberts
» Providence (2002)
» Re:Covered (2002)
» Rose Parade coverage (2003)
» The Rosie O'Donnell Show  (2002)
» Saturday Night Live (2003)
» Second City TV
» Six Feet Under (2002)
» The Sopranos
» Southland (2009)
» Star Search
» Strangers with Candy
» Strangers With Candy
» The L-Word (2006)
» The Today Show (2005)
» The Wendy Williams Show (2013)
» Third Rock from the Sun
» thirtysomething (1987)
» thirtysomething (1987)
» thirtysomething (1989)
» Today Show interview with Mandy Moore
» The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Goldie Hawn) (2002)
» The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Louise Goffin) (2002)
» Tracey Takes On
» Two and a Half Men (2010)
» University Challenge
» The Vicar of Dibley
» Walk On By (2005)
» The Weakest Link  (2002)
» The West Wing (2004)
» When Hippies Ruled the World
» Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (2002)
» Will & Grace (2000)
» Will & Grace (2002)
» Without a Trace (2005)
» The Wonder Years
» The  Wonder Years
» The Wonder Years
» The Wonder Years (1992)

Plays (19)

Poetry (19)

» A Alejandra Pizarnik by Julio  Cortazar
» Bericht aan de reizigers by Ingmar Heytze
» For Joni by Kerry  Furber (Kezz)
» I Met A Woman In A Joni Mitchell Song by David Geary
» jammin' with joni by Terry 
» Joni Mitchell  by Joseph  Hutchinson
» Joni Mitchell Can Bite My Ass by Curtis Meyer
» Joni Mitchell, Coffee & the Rain by Carmina Gitana
» Learning the Hard Way by Jane McGuinness
» Libro de Manuel by Julio  Cortazar
» Lonely With Joni by Rebecca  Stang
» Pas de Deux from a Distance by Nora Maria Iancu
» Paved Paradise  by Heidi  Lerner
» Practical Water by Brenda Hillman
» Purr by James Servin
» Radical Sentimentality by James Sevin
» Somewhere in the Buddha Night by Lester Hirsh
» Upon hearing Joni Mitchell's Travelogue by Peter Tadd
» You Don't Know What You've Got . . . by Paula  Harris

Miscellaneous (75)

» 2nd Avenue Grill Drink  by Craig Silliphant
» Coyote Inspired Briefs & Bras by Marlies Dekkers
» My Old Man residing in Shangri-La
» A music store named Sharon in Maidstone
» Anna Quindlen column
» Ashley Judd in Reader's Digest interview
» Ben Whishaw: “I can’t write poetry. I’ve written love letters”
» A bench at Princeton
» A Bermuda tour boat narration
» Big Yellow Taxi - New Hampshire
» Big Yellow Taxi in a political column
» Bissell Commercial
» Capitol Steps Political Parody of Both Sides Now
» Cartoon in The New Yorker Magazine by Victoria  Roberts
» Celebrity Taboo - The Game Of Unspeakable Fun!
» CHUM-FM questionnaire
» Clean White Linen by Mark Aster
» Cloud Physics Course
» Coldwater Creek catalogue
» Desert Island Discs - Jack Vettriano
» Dirty Car Art
» Doonesbury by Gary  Trudeau
» Doonesbury by Gary  Trudeau
» Edie Falco in Watch! interview
» Esquire Magazine, July 2002 by Jeff Gordinier
» Extra-credit question for 5th grade students
» From a New Yorker article by Ian Frazier
» Graham Nash radio interview
» Guardian review of Partick McCabe book
» Hotel Isolabella OUR HOUSE Room - Trentino, Italy
» How Keith Richards Inspired Dr. Evil by Unknown 
» Jacksonville Transit Poster Art
» Joni mention on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Disk
» Joni mention on high rotation TV commercial
» Joni-inspired painting names by Jack Vettriano
» Ken Bruce's BBC radio show
» Lafayette Electronics & Larry
» Lorrie Moore in Reader's Digest interview
» Mermaid Café in Nantucket
» Metro interview with Adrian Edmondson
» Motorsport Journalism - Formula One Diary by Simon  Arron
» My prom date, the spy by Lisa Zeidner
» National Lampoon parody
» National Lampoon/Bernie's column
» New South Wales Higher School Certificate Exam  by Unknown 
» The Night Before Christmas by Bob Muller
» Night Ride Home by Lindsay Stamhuis
» NPR science show promo
» Obama Town Hall Webcam by Reginald  Cunningham III
» A paper from War Resisters International Triennial Conference
» Parade Magazine Article by Bruce  Feiler
» Parody of Woodstock
» Peggy Baker Dance Projects
» PhillyBaseballNews.com column by Cole Hamels
» Pop The Question: The Ultimate Pop Trivia Quiz Card Game
» Postcard for Common Good Planning Center in Rochester, NY
» Prop O poster in Paradise, California
» Radio 4 program about natural foods
» The Reptile Garden by Louise Erdrich
» A Sacrifice for Friendship, Chapter 3 by DS  Bauden
» A Sacrifice for Friendship, Chapter 5 by DS  Bauden
» Salon.com political commentary
» Spaceship "Stardust" news story
» A Spray-painted cardboard sign
» Starbucks Calendar
» Stevie Nick's Moonlight Video & Wild Things Run Fast
» Summer music and drink suggestions
» The Laura Ingraham Show
» The Times of London interview with Brian Cox
» Tori Amos radio interview by Toyah Wilcox
» Tristam Shandy, A Cock and Bull Story by Steve Coogan
» Valentine's Day Editorial
» Whole Foods ad
» Windy City Media Group online interview of writer Paul Lisicky
» The Writer's Almanac by Garrison  Keillor

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