Did you like Sing Street? Did you find to be a little too washed over and sanitary? Is that a crazy sentence when I type it? Maybe this book is for you? When I was a kid, we had some movie we bought on VHS that had a trailer for this movie. I am a little too young to have watched it then, and for some reason, twenty-five years later I picked it up and read it straight through.
So an Irish dude about town wants to start a band. He has strong, strident opinions about American music. It’s the mid-1980s and Ireland is poor as dirt, or rather the Barrytown section of Dublin definitely is, and maybe people are a little sick of new wave and they want to dive into some raunchy American soul music. So they do. No one can play too well, and only one person can sing. There’s ten of them. They don’t like each other too much. But for a short, wonderfully short amount of time, it’s going to come together. And then fall apart.
This isn’t a novel that you have to read aloud because of the dialect. Trainspotting this isn’t, but it is a weird kind of riot of a book. It’s super short….it’s a bit of a drag to read in one sitting, but that’s how you’ll want to read it. It’s basically five or six bulls***ing session/practices. One gig. And constantly ragging on each other, fighting each other, and genuinely capturing a feeling of energy, temporariness, and spirit. It’s an incredibly rich and alive book. And then it’s over.
I am not sure if and/or when I will read the other books in this loose trilogy. They are longer, less immediately compelling, but I will let you know.
Just in case you’re wondering what it’s all about, here’s a sample:
“–We’ll ask Jimmy, said Outspan. –Jimmy’ll know.
Jimmy Rabbitte knew his music. He knew his stuff alright. You’d never see Jimmy Jimmy coming home from town without a new album or a 12-inch or at least a 7-inch single. Jimmy ate Melody Maker and the NME every week and Hot Press every two weeks. He listened to Dave Fanning and John Peel. He even read his sisters’ Jackie when there was no one looking. So Kimmy knew his stuff.
The last time Outspan had flicked through Jimmy’s records he’d seen name like Microdisney, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Otis Redding, The Screaming Blue Messiahs, Scraping Foetus off the Wheel (–Foetus, said Outspan. –That’s the little young fella inside a woman, isn’t it?
–Yeah, said Jimmy.
–Aah, that’s f****’ horrible, tha’ is.); groups Outspan had never heard of, never mind heard.”
The dialect is sparse and interesting. It’s not hokey. It sounds about right. The book itself hits a nerve, and then just stops.
UPDATE: I watched the movie. It’s pretty near perfect as far as movie-adaptations go.