OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea is what I say to myself silently whenever a loved one, bandmate or colleague has an idea I am unsure of. Then I smile and try to seem open to the idea until it dies of natural causes (if you fight a stupid idea, I’ve discovered, it gets stronger and outlives). Sometimes what happens, however, is you realise it’s not actually a stupid idea and now, because you haven’t loudly objected, you get to share the credit. The not-stupid idea for this book came from my editor Brendan Barrington after I had sent him several of the personal essays contained within it.
Before I had written these, I’d largely been reporting and writing a column about television for the Irish Times or I’d been writing short stories about made-up people for literary journals. I hadn’t really written about myself before and once I started doing it, new things kept occurring to me. The book just accumulated.
I wrote about my time in a band, about being involved with an anarcho-syndicalist pirate radio station and about working on the set of Braveheart for Mel Gibson and his arse (more context on this is provided in the essay). I wrote about my brother’s birth and my crucial role in it and I wrote about hanging out for a summer in Bremen where I found myself frequently squalid and occasionally nude. I wrote about staking out paramilitaries with my army man father when I was a child. I realised I had more to say. I wrote about singing, driving, journalism, working as a care-worker, not having children, mental illness and grief. I ended up writing my way into and out of several problems. But it’s not therapy. I’m trying to be entertaining and helpful. So I hope that if you think, after reading, that it was a stupid idea, you’ll also find it was an enjoyable one.
Patrick Freyne spent most of his twenties trying to be a rock star before turning to the much more stable and secure world of journalism. He is a features writer at the Irish Times. OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea is his first book.