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Screwdriver in the Eye

Paul Mendez: David Keenan, 7 October 2021

Xstabeth 
by David Keenan.
White Rabbit, 168 pp., £14.99, November 2020, 978 1 4746 1705 5
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Monument Maker 
by David Keenan.
White Rabbit, 808 pp., £25, August, 978 1 4746 1709 3
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... David Keenan’s​ first novel, This Is Memorial Device: An Hallucinated Oral History of the Post-Punk Scene in Airdrie, Coatbridge and Environs 1978-86 (2017), documents the rise and fall of a fictitious (though awesomely real) band called Memorial Device. Its members are from Keenan’s home town of Airdrie – about thirteen miles east of Glasgow – and the book takes the form of 26 testimonies from band members, friends, jilted lovers, relatives, hangers-on and rival acts ...

One for water, one for urine

Stephen Smith, 3 December 1992

An Evil Cradling 
by Brian Keenan.
Hutchinson, 297 pp., £16.99, September 1992, 0 09 175208 6
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Hostage: The Complete Story of the Lebanese Captives 
by Con Coughlin.
Little, Brown, 461 pp., £16.99, October 1992, 0 316 90304 3
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... but I can’t be the only hack on nodding terms with the hostage story whose collection of Brian Keenan minutiae would take very little time to dust. In terms of media interest, Keenan was the least remembered of the captives of Lebanon, the George Harrison of the hostage scene, the other one. The reporter Robert Fisk has ...

Diary

Ronan Bennett: The IRA Ceasefire, 22 September 1994

... explain and go to check the newspapers. The Independent has a well-informed and balanced piece by David McKittrick on the genesis of the ceasefire. He seems cautiously optimistic. Not so that other old ham, Conor Cruise O’Brien, writing on the same newspaper’s opinion pages. O’Brien sees the timing of the ceasefire as evidence of a Machiavellian plot to ...

How Movies End

David Thomson: John Boorman’s Quiet Ending, 20 February 2020

Conclusions 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 237 pp., £20, February, 978 0 571 35379 8
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... it with Angie Dickinson, in yellow and orange, as the woman, and a corps of supporting actors from Keenan Wynn to Carroll O’Connor. It felt as if the newcomer had spent his life in the corrupt canyons and corridors of LA.The extra miracle of Point Blank is that Boorman didn’t see the real Los Angeles until 1965. But to him the city was a myth as powerful ...

My son has been poisoned!

David Bromwich: Cold War movies, 26 January 2012

An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... the Communist Party as a career move: ‘You will meet big people.’ By the end of that year, David Platt, the Daily Worker’s movie reviewer (a witness frequently summoned by Hoberman for counterpoint), announced that ‘never before in the history of the screen have there been so many forward-looking people in positions of responsibility as in ...

A Bit Like Gulliver

Stephanie Burt: Seamus Heaney’s Seamus Heaney, 11 June 2009

Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney 
by Dennis O’Driscoll.
Faber, 524 pp., £22.50, November 2008, 978 0 571 24252 8
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The Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney 
edited by Bernard O’Donoghue.
Cambridge, 239 pp., £45, December 2008, 978 0 521 54755 0
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... craft to folk culture, Catholic to Protestant everyday life. Heaney met the singer and filmmaker David Hammond in the ‘pre-Troubles, upbeat folk scene Belfast of the mid-1960s’; through him, and after the move to Dublin, he ‘got to know a lot of people, north and south, who were involved with traditional music’, among them Garech Browne of Claddagh ...

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