So Long, Hector Bebb
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, Planet
Violence and physical combat are self-identifying touchstones. Hector becomes the essence of what it is to be a man.
- Niall Griffiths
- 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.
About the author:
Ron Berry was born in 1920 in Blaen-cwm in the Rhondda Valley, and he worked as a miner from the age of fourteen. Although he served in both the Army and the Merchant Navy in the Second World War, his consistent attitude to all authority was to absent himself from it. He was a gifted sportsman who had played for Swansea Town, and was an occasional boxer, but it was a year in adult education at Coleg Harlech in the early 1950s that released him from sporadic casual work to concentrate on writing. Against all odds he never flagged in this determined pursuit.
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).
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.