February 27, 2019

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.”


February 14, 2019
The South looking North

On the 19th of April 2019 (Good Friday) Bill Drummond will be spending much of the day on the border between County Derry and County Donegal on the island of Ireland. This border is on the Culmore Road, just north Ballynagard and just south of a town called Muff. This is also considered to be on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Bill Drummond will have with him forty freshly baked hot cross buns and a copy of the Good Friday Agreement.

Added to his copy of the Good Friday Agreement is an additional proposed clause. This proposed clause, if instigated, would become clause 20 of the NORTH/SOUTH MINISTERIAL section of STRAND TWO.

This clause would read:

If either the Government of Ireland or the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland were ever to instigate their own country leaving the European Union, both governments would guarantee that as long as the island of Ireland existed, the border crossing between County Derry and County Donegal on the Culmore Road, would remain freely open for all those that wished to cross it, in either direction.

The first forty folk to cross the border, on this particular Good Friday, will be invited by Drummond to read and consider this additional proposed clause to the Good Friday Agreement. They will then be invited to agree or disagree with the additional proposed clause. They will also be offered one of the freshly baked hot cross buns and a mug of tea.

Both John Hume and David Trimble will also be invited to cross this particular border on this particular day.

Once forty folk have responded to this invitation and all forty of the hot cross buns have been consumed, the count will begin. If more than twenty have voted in favour of the border between County Derry and County Donegal on the Culmore Road to remain open for all those that wish to cross it in either direction as long as the island of Ireland exists – then it will. The people will have spoken. The people will have made their choice.

An open border means an open border.

If invited, Bill Drummond may repeat this process at other border crossings between the north and south of Ireland, on subsequent Good Fridays.  Tenzing Scott Brown is writing a play based on these events on this coming Good Friday. The proposed title of this play is Forty Hot Cross Buns. This play will be performed sometime between the 9th and 14th of July 2018 in the city of Galway. The first draft of Act One of this play has already been written. It can be read by clicking HERE.

The North looking South


January 24, 2019
When I Was Sixty Three still

On the 27th of January 2019 the 60th and final Sixty Second talk by Bill Drummond will go live on the site 60 Sixty Seconds

This final talk has the title When I Was 63

The first of these Sixty Seconds talks was made in December 2012 and had the title The Birth of Punk. Although the first to be conceived and written was Stockhausen & Little Richard.

And this is the Penkiln Burn Poster that marked the beginning of these talks:

Penkiln Burn Poster 438
When I Was Sixty Three Still
Filmed and directed by Tracey Moberly


January 11, 2019

The Curfew Tower – 2019

The Curfew Tower

For the year of 2019 the artist’s residency in The Curfew Tower is being curated by the North American artists Elizabeth Withstandley and Westen Charles. They are based in Miami, Florida and are the co-founders of Locust Projects.

The title they have given for their year as curators of The Curfew Tower is SEARCHING FOR THE MIRACULOUS.

The Curfew Tower has acted as an artist’s residency since 2003.Since 2009 each year has been curated by a different set up.

These include:

2009: Void in Derry
2010: Catalyst Arts in Belfast
2011: Eastside Projects in Birmingham
2012: Static in Liverpool
2013: Spike Island in Bristol
2014: The Seamus Heaney Centre in Belfast
2015 / 2016: Nothing but Longing in Jerusalem
2017: Penthouse in Manchester
2018: Neu! Reekie! in Edinburgh

Below this is the Penkiln Burn Poster that proclaimed back in 2003 that The Curfew Tower was now to be set to work as an artist’s residency. Since then some things have evolved and changed, but there are still no curtains and no grants to be applied for but… the email address that you should contact if you need to know more is now

Penkiln Buen Poster 55
 The Curfew Tower by bonfire light