Thursday, 5 March 2009
Network, Neverland and Nineteen Eighty-Four
Peter Finch’s famous scene in that great film Network popped into my head today as a middle-aged man in the local high street was obviously at some point in his life when a good scream was the only answer. He was talking on his mobile and suddenly he let the phone drop from his ear and started to bang his forehead rhythmically against the window of New Look, yelling, “No, no, no no no!” in time to the slight vibration of the glass as his head hit it. Most of us hurried on, another man stopped and in one of those blokey acts of tenderness asked him in that time honoured way, “You alright, mate?” He stopped and looked at this man as if he had only just realized he was in a public place, “Not really, but what else can you do, the buyer of my house just pulled out .” The other man nodded,
“Some things just do your head in don’t they, bad times mate, it’s bad times, could be worse though” and with that he walks off and the head banger wanders on his way.
Watch this and you’ll know why I was reminded of that scene, it still resonates in this time of credit crunch.
Twenty-five years since the miner’s strike, my uncle was a miner, I used to sit in the Miner’s welfare and listen to the brass band practicing, sounds a bit of a cliché image but that and his old convertible Morris Minor with a crinkled yellow celluloid back window are two pictures that I can still smell and touch let alone see. My uncle was a miner and my dad was a policeman, not a good family combination but luckily my dad was retired by the time of the miner’s strike and my uncle was dead, coughing up years of coal dust. That scene in Billy Elliot where he walks in between the two opposing lines of striking miners and policemen is a total travesty, it was nastier than that, really nasty there might have been a few moments of humour to alleviate the confrontations but for the most part it was bitter and the memory of it amongst people who lived through it remains so even to this day. This great montage gives you a real feel for those times. It did feel significant that it was 1984, big brother was watching, only it was big sister at the time.
Twenty-five years ago Thriller was the best selling album, Michael Jackson was strutting his stuff and still had much of his own face although it was starting to be someone else’s. He announces today a series of farewell concerts ( yeh right and my name is Frank Sinatra) . He has lost Neverland and needs to get it back, don’t we all now and then?