Tag Archives: Colin Bateman

The Day I Met… James Nesbitt

 
Happy

This bonus entry in the The Day I Met… Competition comes from Emma, who lives in the northern Irish countryside. She blogs at Adventures of an Unfit Mother. Her story involves an encounter with a very fine actor who is also well known for his charm and twinkle – James Nesbitt.

Emma herself admits she’s cheating with her entry.  “I’m playing a bit fast and loose with the rules,” she says. “But felt it was worth sharing.” And she’s right. I’ll reveal her rule bending in a moment, but first here’s a reminder of James Nesbitt’s work for those who need it.

Unhappy

He hit the big time as one of the ensemble cast of Cold Feet – a bit like a British Friends. He was going out with Helen Baxendale, who later popped up in Friends to marry Ross. (Didn’t work out.) He was the menacing undercover cop in Murphy’s Law (based on stories by Colin Bateman) and appeared in various films including Waking Ned (Waking Ned Devine in America) and is in the forthcoming hairy-footed epic, The Hobbit.

Hobbit (Okay, not really a hobbit, but a dwarf called Bofur in The Hobbit)

He was just great in Bloody Sunday directed by Paul Greengrass (Bourne & United 93) as civil rights leader and MP Ivan Cooper – and great again as the bereaved brother in Five Minutes of Heaven who refuses to give a killer easy absolution for the sake of TV cameras and the “peace process”.

The catch in Emma’s story is that it wasn’t her, but her Mum who met this particular star. But that’s fine, because that’s why it works. So here is…

The day my Mum met… James Nesbitt.

At a family wedding a number of years ago, the guest list included none other than James Nesbitt, the Northern Irish actor. He had gone to school with the groom. At the time he was starring in BT [British Telecom – the main UK phone network] ads on TV, as well as being one of the leads in Cold Feet – a very popular drama at the time.

In other words, he was doing very well for himself, thank you very much.

There was a low hum of excitement as he entered the church, but in typical Irish fashion he was then pretty much nonchalantly ignored..

Later in the day my Mum happened to be placed next to him at the table. Too this day, I have no idea whether this was a clever orchestration or happy chance, because Continue reading

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Three crime writers spill the beans

Deep inside the perfect secondhand bookshop, the sign above an enticing locked door says Mysteries. Above that again are crime novels and a Thompson sub machine gun. You cant beat Westsider Books on Manhattans Upper West Side for atmosphere.

I shouldn’t really be telling you this, because I’m about to flit the country again and I’m unprepared. But SamHenry from On My Watch insisted. So here goes.

The other night I sat down with three award-winning or nominated crime writers who opened up (in a non-machine gun way) about their trade. Among the secrets they laid bare were:

1. What’s the point of crime writing?
2. The difference between crime writing and literary fiction?
3. Crime writing v. noir?
4. Does crime writing change anything?
5. Does it work in colonial or post-colonial societies?
6. Can you have a whodunnit in a developing economy?
7. Should put your friends and neighbours into the story?
8. Is there too much graphic violence against women?
9. Is Nordic Noir for wimps?
10. And – What they think you should read next (apart from themselves)?

The three writers were Continue reading

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What (Irish books) I’ve been reading 21st November 2009

Far Green Fields: Fifteen Hundred Years of Irish Travel Writing
Forget the proverb. You definitely should judge this book by its cover. The illustration is beautifully conceived and appropriate to the wide-ranging delightful tales of Irish travel inside. The cover artist is Philip Blythe (from Ireland, moved to Australia). The publisher is Blackstaff. I salute you both. (Unfortunately, nowhere could I find a good copy of the book’s cover to use in this post, so I’ve used a different Philip Blythe picture of Killyleagh castle in Co. Down.) Meanwhile, editor Bernard Share has put together a bunch of exiles, explorers, soldiers, deportees, imperialists, rebels, playwrights, actors and others, men and women, who wandered the world and wrote about their wanderings. You’ll not be surprised that the collection kicks off with St Brendan the Navigator (wasn’t he the first European to make it to America?) and includes the intrepid cyclist and muleteer Dervla Murphy. But apart from some flighty Earls, the action happens mainly in the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s.

Luggage – by Peter Hollywood. It’s a long short story about a Northern Irish family’s driving holiday round France. On the surface, nothing out of the ordinary happens on this well observed family holiday. But a sense of creeping unease follows the father. It could be merely that hard-to-shift Troubles anxiety, or perhaps someone really is out to get them.

The News from Ireland and Other Stories (King Penguin) – by William Trevor. Short stories of regret, fear, loss, loneliness, alienation, passing youth. Not a bundle of laughs, but then, hey, that’s life sometimes. In Trevor land though, that’s life all the time. However, there’s gentleness too and the small ways in which people interact physically and emotionally are captured perfectly.

New Selected Poems 1968-1994 – by Paul Muldoon. Sure he wrote lyrics for Warren Zevon, and appeared on The Colbert Report. But it’s his poetry that I return to again and again. He writes about his quoof – a family term for a hot water bottle. (In our house we’ve invented the term broast – somewhere between bread and toast, ie very lightly done.)  Somebody else said about Muldoon: For sheer fun,verve,wickedness and grace, he has no rivals. So here’s an example. Just a wee quick short one:

Ireland

The Volkswagen parked in the gap,

But gently ticking over.

You wonder if it’s lovers

And not men hurrying back

Across two fields and a river.

What I am about to read:

Mystery Man by the prolific and funny Colin Bateman. The hero is a bookshop owner who turns private eye. But most excitingly (to me now) is that the shop he owns is No Alibis – a real life mystery bookshop on Belfast’s Botanic Avenue. I’ve been in it! The hero offered me a cup of tea! (He’s one of the charming men of Ireland.) Or did he? That is – is the real owner the same as the fictional owner? I’m looking forward to finding out. I’ll just take a little peek inside the book before I start reading to look for clues… Yes! Page 7. The owner makes a visitor a cup of coffee. It must be him! In no other bookshop have I been offered a cup of tea or coffee for nothing. (By the way, there are other good bookshops in Belfast. I must get round to telling you about them in a future post.)

And, as soon as I get my hands on it, I’ll be starting Soldiers of Folly: The IRA Border Campaign 1956-1962 by Barry Flynn. It’s about the ’50s campaign, which spawned the song The Patriot Game, and less forgiveably the film from the Tom Clancy book Patriot Games.

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Unhappy Endings

There’s a great nasty new short story from Colin (“Divorcing Jack”, “Murphy’s Law”, etc) Bateman on the Crime Scene NI website. I recommend it. It begins like this: “I say yes to a lot of things I shouldn’t really say yes to…” Now read on.

Here’s the man himself somewhere that looks like Bangor.

Colin Bateman

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