No News At Throat Lake by Lawrence Donegan

517AAZN5KFL._SY445_ Lawrence Donegan has a job with The Guardian and is fed up. He has lived in his London flat for eight years and ‘had still to pass a civil word with anyone in the street’. Perhaps he should have tried harder. He thinks that throwing it all over and leaving his life to go and live a half-imagined rural idyll in a tiny Donegal village called Creeslough will be better. It’s hard to credit the former bass player of Lloyd Cole & the Commotions with this level of idiocy but people always surprise you. Donegan had been happy that the band split because he couldn’t imagine being on stage at 50 with a grey ponytail and brushed denim. This is lucky because the reason they split was that Lloyd – who Donegan is good enough to admit had most of the songs and the talent – wanted to go it alone. Finding that life in Creeslough is not like Ballykissangel, Donegan joins the local newspaper (the Tirconaill Tribune), which takes liberties with the facts but whose heart is more or less in the right place – that is, on the side of the downtrodden such as travellers in appalling conditions, and keen to minutely scrutinise and expose arcane business such as local planning, which is dull but important. He joins the local Gaelic football team, in part to ease his loneliness. There are walk-on parts for the saintly Meryl Streep and the hateful Newt Gingrich, a bit of intrigue about a Creeslough boy Bernard Lafferty who became a celebrity butler in Los Angeles and knew Elizabeth Taylor. There is even a decomposing whale called Stinky. At one point Donegan watches one of Lloyd’s gigs in Dublin, having driven five hours from Creeslough.  ‘I would happily have stuck a dagger in my thigh to have been on stage with him,’ he realises. It is the beginning of the end: Donegan leaves Creeslough (‘Throat Lake’) for the prospect of a Commotions reunion tour, which eventually happened five years after this book was published. His last gig had been at Wembley Arena in 1988. I remember it as quite disappointing. But that’s stadiums for you.  The reunion concerts were decent enough, apparently.

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