The Singing Rabbitte:
I didn’t smile during the first half. I’m referring to the Chelsea-Fulham match, not The Commitments. But it’s true of both events.
I went to the Chelsea game last Saturday, to take my mind off the first preview of The Commitments. It didn’t really work. The football was bad and the man beside me who kept shouting, ‘You’re not farking Arsenal!’, stopped being amusing after the seventh or eighth roar.
I left at half-time. It wasn’t a protest. It had been a late kick-off – 5.30pm – and I had to get to the Palace Theatre by 7.30pm, for the preview. Chelsea scored twice while I was on the Tube, so my departure was a stroke of tactical genius that Jose Mourinho failed to acknowledge after the game.
But, anyway, I went from one event that irritated me – I usually love being at Stamford Bridge – to … Read More »
The Singing Rabbitte:
I went to have a look at the Black Market Clash exhibition on Berwick Street a few nights ago, during a break in rehearsals in the Palace Theatre. I didn’t have much time, but I didn’t need much. It’s a quick, witty charge through images and sound – a bit like a Clash song. But it got me thinking about the past and the present and the music we take with us from then to now.
There’s a line in the Commitments script that the young actor playing Jimmy Rabbitte, Denis Grndel, has been saying again and again for the last six weeks of rehearsals: ‘They’re finished, Outspan. Believe me.’ He’s talking about U2, in 1986. But the line isn’t in the novel, which I wrote in 1986.
So, am I cheating? I’m giving Jimmy a look at the future. … Read More »
The Singing Rabbitte:
I’m in London, for rehearsals of a musical version of my novel, The Commitments. I wrote the book – the book of the book; I find it easier thinking of it as the script – so I’ve been here since early August, watching a gang of people construct a show out of lines and details on 127 pages of script.
I’m staying in Earl’s Court and usually enter the Tube station from the Warwick Road side, at the Exhibition Centre. On Friday I walked into the station and saw hundreds of women coming at me. Hundreds of women, and one man. I looked back at the Exhibition Centre to see what was on: the Bake and Cake Show.
The women all looked like keen cake eaters and the man, about my age, maybe a bit younger, was holding hands with, actually clinging to one of them. He looked terrified, like a kid afraid he’d lose his mammy in the crowd.
I … Read More »
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 »
Guardian Edinburgh books podcast: Roddy Doyle and Mark Forsyth
11 August 2013
Jimmy Rabbitte of The Commitments makes a happy return – as do some of the more exotic words in the world’s dictionaries.
It’s 27 years since Roddy Doyle’s Jimmy Rabbitte started trying to import soul to Dublin. Doyle joins us to update us on his hapless hero, now aged 47 and suffering from bowel cancer. If Jimmy’s stock in trade is the single evasive word – “grand” – Mark Forsyth’s is all the words he might have used were he to have had had access to some of the world’s smaller dictionaries.
Listen to the Podcast.
Read Roddy Doyle’s interview with Jake Kerridge for The Telegraph.
There is something about Roddy Doyle that reminds you, when you meet him, that he worked as a teacher for many years, even after he had become one of Ireland’s biggest literary celebrities. He has the air of the schoolmaster – a gently sardonic manner belied by the enthusiasm glinting in the eyes behind his owlish specs. My guess is he was a very good one…
Read in interview.
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 »