Wednesday 7 December 2016

Miriam gets it write amid a lot of old heave-ho

Published 22/01/2011 | 05:00

Two things I normally don't like much: Miriam O'Callaghan's Saturday morning Radio 1 show, and listening to writers talk about writing. The first because Miriam Meets can be cloying, annoying and -- whenever they have on overly sentimental mother-daughter combos -- soul-destroying.

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The second because listening to writers talk about writing just reminds me of my own failed aspirations in that area. Talk about self-inflicted pain. It's like choosing to cut your hand and then rubbing in the salt yourself.

Surprisingly, then, I really enjoyed this week's Miriam Meets which involved, yes, writers -- three of them. Paul Murray wrote last year's much-lauded Skippy Dies, which seems the kind of thing I would hate because it's about school-kids, but that's personal preferences for you. Claire Kilroy thought up the coolest title ever bestowed on an Irish novel: Tenderwire. And Chris Binchy wrote an outstandingly good book called Open-Handed about two years ago which, shamefully, didn't seem to catch on with the public.

All are in their mid to late-thirties, all have been friends for years, and all were very nice and amusing and interesting. They had a bunch of good stories and anecdotes, and told them well. They seemed unpretentious and unaffected and, basically, all-round good sorts. They also seemed quite cheery and sanguine about the tough world of writing and publishing. Easy to be so, maybe, when you're had several books released and won awards and whatever; but still, none of the three would, I imagine, be millionaires quite yet. Yet, they remained positive.

Meanwhile, the Fianna Fail heave-that-wasn't-really-a-heave made the rest of the week disheartening, depressing and deadly dull.

There was oodles of coverage across all stations, but it was hard to be bothered or engaged by any of it.

Who cares, really? Bald men fighting over a comb, as they say. Olivia O'Leary, in her Drivetime column, put it best -- as she often does -- when she compared the lot of them to a bunch of drunks who've caused a car-crash and refuse to just get out of the way so someone else can clear up their mess.

Just go, she finished, in a tone of exhaustion. The listener sympathised.

dmcmanus@independent.ie

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