The Blog

My Year of Reading a Bit More than I Usually Do

By Bernard O'Keeffe

This time last year, inspired by Andy Miller’s excellent ‘My Year of Reading Dangerously’, I wrote this – http://www.bernardokeeffe.com/?p=738 . The idea was to spend 2015 reading a bit more than I usually do. History suggested that this New Year’s Resolution was likely to go the way of all previous ones, the early January flame of enthusiasm … Read moreMy Year of Reading a Bit More than I Usually Do

What I don’t get about ‘Not Now Bernard’

By Bernard O'Keeffe

There are many books I don’t get ( see, for example, ‘What I don’t get about Stoner’ – http://www.bernardokeeffe.com/?p=262), but I was surprised last week to discover that I might have been misreading my all-time favourite for many years. The book in question is David McKee’s ‘Not Now Bernard’, and it’s my favourite for several reasons: 1. It … Read moreWhat I don’t get about ‘Not Now Bernard’

Boyhood, Hydra, and Leonard Cohen

By Bernard O'Keeffe

Watching Richard Linklater’s brilliant ‘Boyhood’ left me asking the impossible question posed in that old Fairport Convention song -“Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” The film shows a boy growing into a young man, but it does so by filming him and his family in real time. They all, literally, age before your eyes and … Read moreBoyhood, Hydra, and Leonard Cohen

The literary thwack!

By Bernard O'Keeffe

Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! As I grow older one of the sounds which gives me increasing satisfaction is the thud of books hitting my bedroom wall. This is not, I hasten to add, the result of a strange literary fetish. It’s what happens when I decide I can go no further with whatever it is I … Read moreThe literary thwack!

Randy Newman and Short People

By Bernard O'Keeffe

How do you teach irony? It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times over the years and the only answer I can offer with any degree of honesty is  – with great difficulty. There’s a simple reason for this. With irony you either get it or you don’t, and trying to help those who don’t … Read moreRandy Newman and Short People

Could try harder

By Bernard O'Keeffe

As school years come to a close a lot of report reading is going to be happening in a lot of households. For those who find reading these reports tedious, please spare a thought for those who write them because, believe me, making these things interesting is not easy. I’ve written more reports than I … Read moreCould try harder

One balloon and one shot on target — QPR at Wembley

By Bernard O'Keeffe

Here’s a message for any Derby County fans who brought their kids to the Play-Off Final against QPR at Wembley on Saturday I know what you went through. You may well have travelled to the game looking something like this (with different coloured balloons and different shirts, obviously). And you may well have travelled back … Read moreOne balloon and one shot on target — QPR at Wembley

My long weekend with Pete and Clive

By Bernard O'Keeffe

  Not many records survived my ill-judged and much-regretted mid-1980’s vinyl sell-off, but one entire oeuvre made the cut – the series of 1970’s albums by Pete Atkin with lyrics by Clive James. There are several reasons why the Pete and Clive LP’s were considered worth saving. It wasn’t just that I spent many of … Read moreMy long weekend with Pete and Clive

My long weekends with Leonard Cohen

By Bernard O'Keeffe

I have recently spent several long weekends with Leonard Cohen. Not in person, you understand, but even so I feel I now know him much better than I did. In the unlikely event that we were ever to get together for a real-life weekend (and time and circumstances seem to make this increasingly unlikely) I’m … Read moreMy long weekends with Leonard Cohen

Lucinda Williams

By Bernard O'Keeffe

    Today marks the reissue of Lucinda Williams’s self-titled album – a significant moment for me and, I suspect, for many others who have followed her since the beginning of her career. Not only has it made me revisit the music itself to discover just how good it is; it’s also made me acutely … Read moreLucinda Williams

The Great Gatsby Revisited — or why it’s really all about Nick

By Bernard O'Keeffe

Watching Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 version of The Great Gatsby has made me realise just how much my reading of the novel has changed over the years. When I first read it as an impressionable seventeen-year-old I didn’t really notice Nick – all my attention was focused on the mysterious central character, the man whose capacity … Read moreThe Great Gatsby Revisited — or why it’s really all about Nick

What I don’t get about ‘Stoner’

By Bernard O'Keeffe

John Williams’s ‘Stoner’ is undoubtedly a great novel, worthy of rediscovery and of the universal praise it has received. There is, though, one scene in it which I still find troubling and which, to be frank, I still don’t quite get.  This is not a minor scene. It is an absolutely pivotal part of the … Read moreWhat I don’t get about ‘Stoner’