Jimmy Rabbitte is knackered. He’s living the lives of two men. But he only seems to have the energy of the older one.
And that’s the problem. The younger Jimmy is running him ragged. He’s up on a stage all day, in a theatre in London called the Palace. He’s in a musical, for fuck sake, and it’s opening in a few weeks. He’s the Jimmy Jimmy used to be when he was a kid. It’s kind of nice to see him again, even to be him again. But it’s killing him.
How did he manage back in the ’80s without a mobile phone? He had to go places, actually meet people, wait ages for people and buses, find a pay phone – find a pay phone that fuckin’ worked. It was a full time job, just communicating. How did he cope?
These days, if he can’t find the remote control, he wouldn’t … Read More »
It’s been a brilliant summer. The summers in the ’80s, like most things about the ’80s, were shite.
Jimmy Rabbitte doesn’t really believe that, about the ’80s. It just seems to come natural. Whenever the ’80s get mentioned, you have to slag them, or it. But the ’80s were no worst than now. Although, granted, he never experienced the ’90s, or the ’00s, because Doyle wasn’t using him; he was kind of on the fictional dole, being kept asleep in the spare room in the back of Doyle’s head.
The ’00s – is that how you refer to the last decade? No one seems to know and a decade without an agreed name can’t have been that fuckin’ great.
Anyway. It’s a bit chillier in the early mornings but three of his four kids have gone back to school.
And that worries Jimmy.
He’s … Read More »
Jimmy Rabbitte can’t get his head around it.
He’d spent most of the last twenty-five years in the spare room in the back of Doyle’s head. He was 21, kind of frozen, dormant. He was in there with Paddy Clarke; and he’s an insufferable little bollix, that fella.
Next thing, Jimmy was brought out of the spare room and thrown into a brand new book, The Guts. He was middle-aged, with teenage kids, grey hair and a dollop of cancer.
But – and this is the bit that’s keeping him awake – at the exact same time, he’s gone back to being young Jimmy Rabbitte and he’s forming The Commitments again. He’s managing the band, he’s watching them play and loving it while, at the same time, in The Guts, he’s remembering how they broke up years ago and he’s meeting Outspan Foster, the guitarist, for the first time in twenty years.
This – the two lives of Jimmy Rabbitte – is happening because Doyle … Read More »
‘What was it like going back to Jimmy?’
Jimmy Rabbitte has been listening to that question, again and again and a-fuckin’-gain, for the last month. Journalists, radio presenters, even your woman, the sexy one from Scotland who used to do the news on BBC2 – they’ve all been asking Doyle why he’d decided to start writing about Jimmy again. One of them had even asked why he’d – listen to this – why Doyler had ‘resurrected’ Jimmy.
For fuck sake.
No one has asked Jimmy what it feels like being fuckin’ resurrected.
Because he’s fictional.
He’s had to go from studio to studio, down to the basement, into the bowels of the Palace Theatre in London – that’s another fuckin’ story – and up to the Edinburgh Book Festival, hidden away in Doyle’s fuckin’ man bag. And he’s had to endure Doyle’s explanation, nearly word for word every time, sometimes five, six or seven times a day. And Doyle says he’s sick of it!
Anyway. Jimmy doesn’t care why Doyle has brought … Read More »
Jimmy Rabbitte, suddenly middle-aged and the main character – the fuckin’ protagonist, like – in a novel for the first time in more than 25 years, could look at his wife – his life partner – Aoife, and know that he’d loved her for half his life. Even though he hadn’t. As far as he knew.
How had that happened?
Well, her name hadn’t come out of nowhere, just for this new book, The Guts. She’d been mentioned in one of the old books, The Van. Doyle had written that one in 1990. Jimmy himself was hardly in The Van. It was more about his Da. But there was a mention of Jimmy’s girlfriend. Aoife. His Aoife, like.
He – Doyle – gave her the name, Aoife, because it’s Irish and a lot of middle-class people were giving their kids Irish names … Read More »
Jimmy Rabbitte had never been to a book launch. He’d been in a fair few books but no one ever thought about inviting him to one of the launches.
Because he was fictional.
But anyway. The Commitments launch, back in 1987, was legendary. It had the look of a legend while it was still on.
And there was a reason for that: free drink.
Or, at least Doyle thought it was free.
But anyway. The Commitments was self-published. Back in the days when he had hair and a teacher’s jacket, he couldn’t find a publisher. So one day he said, ‘Fuck it, I’ll do it myself.’ His first-year English class didn’t really know what he meant but, still, they cheered.
Anyway. He got a bank loan – Jimmy had no idea how many times he’d had to listen to this shite – and himself and his friend, John Sutton, published the … Read More »
Jimmy Rabbitte knew his music. He knew his stuff alright.
They were two sentences from the first page of the first book Jimmy Rabbitte had been in, The Commitments.
But, actually, he hadn’t a clue about music.
He did – he used to – back when Doyle wrote The Commitments. But not now, in this new book Doyle’s after writing, The Guts. This thing, ‘feat.’, for example. Like, Pink (feat. Lily Allen). What the fuck was that about? Selfishness – that was what Jimmy thought. Ego. Back in the days when music was roundy, it was ‘and’. It was Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood. They shared the glory. It was Roy Orbison and k.d. lang. It wasn’t Roy (feat. k.d.). It wasn’t Laurel (feat. Hardy), or the Lone Ranger (feat. Tonto). And the ‘feat.’ people; the guests singers or whatever – Jimmy … Read More »
One minute Jimmy Rabbitte was 21. He was the manager of a band called The Commitments,
although they’d just broken up. He’d got over that shock and was just about ready to start a new
band. He’d learnt from the Commitments experience: never let a bollix be your singer, even if he
can sing; and never let your elderly trumpet player ride all, some or even one of the group’s backing
vocalists. Armed with this wisdom, he’d been gearing himself up, listening to new sounds, all set to
knock U2 off their fuckin’ perch.
The next minute he was 48 and he had bowel cancer.
How the fuck did that happen?
The author, Jimmy’s creator, Doyle, heard the word ‘recession’ on the radio one morning a few years
back, and decided to bring Jimmy back. Or, so he’s telling anyone who’ll listen.
Now, if Jimmy was doing one of … Read More »