Saturday, 12 October 2013

Blog: A day with Shane Meadows

It's not often I get ill and even more rare that I'm able to sit still for very long. However, a heavy cold laid me up today and gave the perfect excuse to enjoy a day with my favourite short tubby man from Uttoxeter, Shane Meadows. His semi-autobiographical films, often set or filmed in Nottingham, where I'm from, have always struck a chord through a simple combination of unusual but likeable characters, identifiable backdrops, machismo and incredible music. 

I once had the immense pleasure of meeting Mr Meadows at Sheffield Documentary Festival and, I'm sure, came across as the kind of super fan who may, say, spend an entire day watching his films and write live updates on  them. Which is exactly what I've done below. One for fans really, I decided to cover four of his main films I watched from about lunchtime but his 30 shorts are also well worth a watch. 

Twenty Four Seven
Concept: Darcy, played by Bob Hoskins who would later become 'that bloke from the BT ads', tells the story of a likeable fella who sets up a boxing club for lads he's trying to prevent from turning to crime. It's short in beautifully grainy black and white and came out in 1997.

12.28pm - We're introduced to Tim who's 'getting shit 24/7' via our narrator, a unique technique in a Meadows film. Van Morrison - Still on Top booms out as Bob Hoskins is getting ready and practising dancing. Woody the dog appears, we'll meet Gadget later - odd names for Meadows to pick twice.

12.51pm - James Corden appears with some cracking curtains, taking tea from a flask. Takes a thump in the boxing gym. Bruce Jones shows why he was a class act as Les Battersby in Coronation Street with an aggressive performance as Jim's dad. 

13.03 - Darcy tells the lads they're going to Wales ahead of big match. They look at him like he's just produced a Mongoose from his trousers. 

13.08pm - Meadows Montage Alert. Music - Charlatans - North Country Boy. Running up hills. Bashing stuff with sticks. Wellie wanging. 

13.27pm - Darcy puts his hand on the handprint Jo has made on the shop counter. First tears of the day.

13.46pm - Tragedy strikes when Darcy loses his temper. Second tears of the day.

13.54pm - Weller sings 'Like pebbles on a beach, kicked away, displaced by feet' over the end credits. Can't believe it's over.

Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee 
Concept: This 2009 film took the Spinal Tap mock rock-u-mentary to a new level with the majority of those on screen playing themselves. Paddy Considine excels as down-and-out roadie Le Donk attempting to get his act, rapper Scor-zay-zee, a opening slot at an Arctic Monkeys gig.

13.57pm - Existential crisis over what to watch next. Plump for Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee as can't take more heartbreak straightaway. Instantly happy with decision at first sight of the day of Considine, wearing two hats stepping out of a van.

14.07 - Scor-zay-zee admits his real name is Dean.

14.12 - Olivia Coleman reveals Le Donk's name is Nicholas. "Not in front of Shane!" he says. 

14.27 - Scor-zay-zee considers doing 'a Beth Ditto' and belly flopping into the Old Trafford Cricket Ground crowd. 

14.42 - The talented duo cram into a revolving door. Sides hurt.

14.50 - Le Donk talks of a sexual encounter after a night at a Bernie Inn. Thought of Mike Tyson to last longer. Scor-zay-zee, with a towel round his hair, nods. 

15.05 - Le Donk is a dad! Calm down Mork and Mindy. 

This Is England
Concept: Meadows' 2006 masterpiece aims to flip the imagine of fearsome skinheads as 13-year-old Thomas Turgoose as Shaun joins a gang after being bullied at school. A skilful art in characterisation, Meadows sets the scene of disenchanted youth robbed of parents by the Falklands war who turn to the National Front.

15.34pm - My copy of This Is England has an advert for that annoying US film Brick with a quote from 'Ain't It Cool News'. The jar from Meadows-world is horrible, I fast forward quickly until the 1980s montage set to Toots envelops me in images of Maggie Thatcher at a computer and the first CDs being pressed.

15.49 - Shaun shoots his catapult at some polystyrene while Gravenhurst lilts in the background. Such a perfect juxtaposition. 

15.57 - Shoe shop scene. Just glorious. "Because these ones are special and from LONDON they don't have the Dr Martens sign on. "
"They say Tompkins in them," Shaun moans.

16.01 - Meadows Montage Alert. THE montage with Louie Louie set to the gang strolling looking fucking cool. So jealous. (see left)

16.15 - "Who drinks a brew that big?" As Banjo stands outside slurping. 

16.45 - Shaun asks Smell to be his girlfriend. So tender amid aggression and tension.

17.01 - My girlfriend bustles in just at the climax to The Scene. Not great timing from a squeamish type.

A Room for Romeo Brass
Concept: Romeo and best friend and neighbour Gavin befriend Morell (Considine) and older oddball intent on winning the affections of Romeo's sister. However, the bond between Romeo and Morell has unfortunate circumstances in this 1999 picture.

17.21 - Funny to see Andrew Shim as a kid in Room for Romeo Brass. Shane Meadows rocking a cracking wig behind chip shop counter to the sound of The Specials. Great little amusing opening with fight for chips. 

17.38 - That shell suit is class.

17.52 - Where in Nottinghamshire is that hanging car?! Considine getting in the swing of things, character beginning to dominate. 

18.09 - Meadows Montage Alert - Gavin rehabilitates to the sound of Donovan's Colours.

18.25 - Tuck into some Rice Krispies just as Considine shows Ladene his pants. Pleasant. 

18.38 - Weird how tables turn and am pleased to see Romeo's dad as Morell losses it.

18.44 - Stone Roses close us out, a mere 14 years before Made in Stone comes out. 

18.56pm - I roll off the sofa to dig out a LOT of records.

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