Stuck for something to do over Christmas? You can’t go wrong with these two choice cuts from the library, write Conor O’Nolan and Steven Balbirnie
Title: Hey Nostradamus! By Douglas Coupland
Four characters narrate the book. Cheryl, who died in the shooting, explains the events of the massacre and how she married Jason from a distant purgatory-like place. Jason carries on the narrative in the form of a letter to his twin sons that he secretly fathered. The third account, that of Heather’s, Jason’s partner, and then finally Reg, Jason’s fundamentalist preacher father, who never accepted Jason until he disappeared off the face of the earth.
While the plot seems convoluted in summary, it is actually relatively simple and pleasantly paced, which overall makes it very easy to read. It deals with some complex issues like teenage sex within a very religious relationship, and how religion colours one’s view on life.
It’s not as quirky or funny as some of Coupland’s other work (like JPOD or All Families Are Psychotic), but what it lacks in laughs, it makes up for in plot. It is a beautifully written and gripping book.
Dead Meat (2004)
Dead Meat is an independent Irish film from 2004, written and directed by Conor McMahon. It is also probably the only horror film based in Leitrim that you will ever see. I say horror, but this is really more of a tongue-in-cheek comedy than anything else, reminiscent of the old B-movies which would elicit laughs rather than screams.
The premise is suitably ridiculous for a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously: an outbreak of a mutated strain of mad cow disease occurs in the west of Ireland, resulting in the bovine tormentors attacking the locals and turning them into ‘ghouls’. Thrown into the midst of this rural chaos is Helena, a Spanish tourist who must team up with the local gravedigger and a psychotic hurling coach as they fight for survival.
This film isn’t scary but it is hilarious, worth watching for the comic value of the hurling coach’s insane antics alone. As far as low-budget independent films go, this is one of the most entertaining I’ve seen.
– Steven Balbirnie