Donegan, Lawrence No News at Throat Lake

ISBN 13: 9780141802329

No News at Throat Lake

9780141802329: No News at Throat Lake

This text presents a Guardian journalist's account of his year working on the Tirconaill Tribune - only 32 pages long, with a circulation of 2500. Serving the people of the Donegal coast, the paper is published in the small coastal town of Creeslough, and it is here that Donegan lived during 1998.

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Giving up one's dream career as a pop star is one thing--understandable, in fact, if half of what they say is true--but giving up a second, successful career as a Guardian journalist--a post which you readily admit is the realisation of a life-time ambition--could be considered, er, hasty. Whatever, Scottish-born Lawrence Donegan, sometime bass guitarist with Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, packs his notebook and, with nary a glance behind him, walks away from Farringdon Road to a new life in the remote, rural Irish village of Creeslough. Donegan, ay, to be sure, his very name it is that's brought him hot-footed back to delve into his hitherto little-known (and somewhat surprising) ancestry, soon blags his way into a reporter's job on the local Tirconaill Tribune. But then, for a newspaper that is often forced to give beached whales lead story status, the arrival in town of an ex-Guardian journo is not something that could in any way be described as uninteresting. The job is his, for little more than an hour or so's pitiful begging.

Alan Cumming, with his own Scottish accent and wonderfully lyrical Irish takes, makes a perfect reader of this beguiling, affectionate tale of a city lad who chooses to jump ship and get back to basics. As in any rural community, it is the brave, feisty and often outlandish inhabitants that make this audio book such a delight. Throw in a meeting with a powerful, despicable American politician and a Hollywood superstar, plus a disarmingly, hilarious account of Donegan's hugely unsuccessful foray into the complex, chaotic game of Gaelic football, and you're guaranteed to be smiling for almost all of No News at Throat Lake. --Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes --Carey Green

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Tirconnaill Tribune was the last newspaper I picked up from the pile on the bottom shelf.

Donegal seemed to have more newspapers than Fleet Street. The Democrat the People's Press, the Journal, the News. I flicked through them all, looking for the job adverts. I could have been anywhere in the world. It was all the usual stuff: irate politicians, planning rows, sporting triumphs, wedding photographs featuring fat brides with big hair and grooms with bad teeth. The jobs didn't signpost a lifetime of adventure: tractor driver wanted, assistant required by Gary's Pet World, Sales! Earn #400-a-week.

The Tribune was different from the others. It was smaller, for a start, a tabloid. It didn't have job adverts or many adverts at all, just stories as epic as a Dickens novel. Page one declared, The Irish Republic has become a nation of entrenched little Catholics because of the absolute stranglehold of the Bishops sine the foundation of the state and the last twenty-five years have been a disaster reflecting the whole manifestation of corruption in our midst and there are more scandals ahead, said John Cooney in speech during which Councillor Fred Coll walked out in protest saying he would rather go to mass than listen to this nonsense.

I was exhausted just reading it.

I turned to the inside pages. Every story read like the public lynching of someone in authority. The Church, the Government in Dublin, the phone company, the electricity board. On the back page there was a story about drugs which read like it had been written on LSD:

Gardai were called to a number
of drug related incidents on
Monday following a major week-
end of acid parties, raves and
fun activities on beaches. Con-
cerns were first aroused on
Sunday after several bouts of
erratic behaviour and couples
(believed to be of the opposite
sex) were seen to be acting
strangely and passionately along
public roads. In a different town-
land another youth was found
trying to make a phone call from
a local bush and it was presumed
that he was frustrated because
the entire Telecom Eireann net-
work had gone down again but
on closer observation this man
was having a spiritual experience
with God.

There was another thing I liked about Danny - he didn't care if you read his newspapers and didn't pay for them. I stood there for fifteen minutes, flicking through the Tribune. It wasn't like any local newspaper I'd ever read before, not least because it had a medical column headlined SOLVING FLATULENCE! Which began with the words "Everyone has wind. If you don't you're not alive."

Looking back it was obvious. Sure, it was a step down from the Guardian - hell, it was a drop through a trap-door from the Guardian- and it meant going back on all those promises I made to myself about seeking new challenges. So what. I never did have much time for all that New Age gibberish.

"Do you know this paper Danny?" I said as he walked past. He nodded. "Think they would give a job to a trained journalist like me?"

"Good lads at the Tribune, you know." He smiled and walked towards the door carrying a pensioner's shopping bag. "Game for just about anything - you should go and see them."

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