— What’s that you’ve got there?
— The Commitments. Roddy Doyle.
— Any good?
— Care to expand on that?
— You can read it in 24 hours, easy. Mainly dialogue and onomatopoeic transcriptions of music …
— Onomato …
— That’s words which sound like …
— I know what it means!
— DUH DUH DUH DUH, BA DA DA DA …
— Okay, I get it, I get it! Anything else?
— It’s about a band. The hardest working band in Dublin, a working class band, for working class people. They’re on a mission to bring soul music to Dublin.
— What’s their message?
— Sex. Also politics. Mostly sex.
— Okay. Who are they?
— The main guy, the ideas man, is Jimmy Rabbitte. He auditions them and manages the band. Young guys, three girls. An old guy who plays the trumpet called Joey The Lips Fagan. Because he has a stage name, they all have to have stage names. But most of them have only just learned to play an instrument or sing.
— They’re novices.
— Exactly, which is why it’s so exciting. Optimistic. They think they can do anything, and they almost can. And it’s funny; really, really funny.
— Better than Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha?
— It’s a different kind of book. It doesn’t pound you in the guts and then steal your playlunch in quite the same way. But it does have soul.
— Lots of soul?
— Heaps of soul. Overflowing with soul.
— And this punctuation?
— Well, it’s not as if he’s French, is it? But he can get away with it.