With a foreword by Niall Griffiths
Almost three decades on, I can still remember the thrill of discovering So Long, Hector Bebb. Five pence it cost, or something like that, from a church hall jumble sale somewhere in Liverpool. What drew me to it I don’t know – the Americanism in the title? The author’s pretty name? Simpler to state that there were forces at work. The mysteries of my eight year old mind forever forgotten long since, I remember taking it home and up to my bedroom and I remember sitting on my bed beneath the football posters and I remember opening it and I remember reading this: We’re each and every one of us shaped for muck and glory, thank the Jesus Christ All-bloody-mighty for it and all. And I remember reading this, too: Hect just vanisht. Not so much as ‘So long then Lennie, see you in the mornin’. All cause Milly flasht her old twat inna Transport Caff. Milly and her big greesy minj. And I remember thinking something like: My God, the grownup people around me and the ways they talk, the words they use so unlike anything in a set-text syllabus… they can be Literature.
How far will friends go when a single-minded fighting machine becomes a killer?
The traditional values of family and friendship are stripped bare by the relentless world of boxing.
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Hector Bebb and his loyal associates stand as symbols of the put-upon, the inarticulate underdogs of our grubby industrial society … whose humour, tenacity and fierce spirit pass almost unnoticed in English Literature. Alun Richards
Ron Berry, novelist and scriptwriter, was born in the Rhondda Valley in 1920.
He worked as a miner until the Second World War. In addition to So Long, Hector Bebb, he published four works of fiction, including Travelling Loaded (1963); The Full-Time Amateur (1966); Flame and Slag (1968), and This Bygone (1996).