FOR THE GOOD TIMES & ME
By Bill Drummond
For The Good Times is a song written by Kris Kristofferson in 1968.
For The Good Times was a hit single released by Perry Como in 1973.
For The Good Times is a novel written by David Keenan in 2018.
For The Good Times was a novel published by Faber & Faber in 2019.
For The Good Times might be the most brilliant novel written in the 21st Century so far.
It is certainly the most brilliant novel that I have read in the 21st Century so far.
But then I am steeped in and compromised by the subject matter of this novel.
And maybe it is because I am a man.
And of a certain age.
And have an ongoing interest in man’s many relationships with a thing we call God.
I first read the novel a few weeks ago.
I am reading it again now.
And while I am reading it I am making notes in the margin.
I am scheduled to be doing an “in conversation with” David Keenan in front of an audience at the London Review Bookshop at 7pm on Wednesday the 27th of February.
As in this tonight.
The novel is written as an unreliable and rambling memoir of someone doing time in The Maze sometime in the 1980s.
This someone was a member of the IRA.
I have an Associate who did time in The Maze sometime in the 1980s.
This Associate was a member of the IRA.
I would stay in the Europa Hotel in Belfast sometimes in the 1980s.
From the disco / bar on the top floor of the Europa Hotel all of Belfast stretched out before me.
The security lights surrounding The Maze could be seen on the horizon.
The Europa Hotel is a fixture in this novel.
As is The Maze.
This novel is punctuated with shards of shimmering truth concerning the lot of man. And the Irish. And the myth of Ireland.
David Keenan and I are both Scottish but…
To those living in parts of Ireland and parts of Scotland, our names mark us out as coming from very different traditions.
These traditions fester.
I gave my Associate a copy of For The Good Timesto read.
Some of the notes in the margin are based on the comments that my Associate told me.
I wanted to have forty questions to chose from to ask David Keenan in our “in conversation with.”
These forty questions evolved from the notes in the margin and into many more than forty. And many of those were not questions but quotes from the novel that triggered all sorts of thoughts and responses in my mind.
After hitting send on this Newsletter, I will type of them all up in readiness for this evening.
But before I would like to misquote Chuck Berry:
“Roll over James Joyce and tell Samuel Beckett the news.”
Or should that be a misquote of Jimi Hendrix:
“Move over Leopold let Xamuel take over.”