Upcoming gigs

Upcoming Gigs

Click here for my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @Henry_Raby

Resolution of Sound @ Stained Glass Centre 3rd June 2017

ADAM Festival @ Acomb Library 15th June 2017

Say Owt Slam Clash of Champions III @ The Basement 2nd July 2017

Deer Shed Festival 22nd July 2017

Nerd Punks 3-D @ Edinburgh Fringe, Banshee Labyrinth 20-27th 21.50-22.50


Friday, 21 October 2016

20.16 Blog #23: Ken Loach & Hope

This afternoon, I watched the squatters occupying the old BHS building be evicted by bailiffs and police.  They piled plants and possessions onto bikes, said thanks to Subway opposite their temporary home (for free cookies I believe) and headed off.  Seems advertising their anti-Phillip Green party to be held at the old BHS building had encouraged the owners to push through an eviction sooner rather than later.  I got home and listened to the Autonomads, a Manchester ska/punk/dub/folk band who sing about security guards at the Job Centre and exposing the systematic cyanide of signing on.

In between these events, I went to see I, Daniel Blake.

I have loved Ken Loach since Film Studies at York College back in t’day.  At a time when I was discovering real-world politics, his films presented real-world humans.  3-dimensional, honest, believable and human, this form of British kitchen sink drama felt so touchable to accompany a need to grow up swiftly to exist within my new post-school world.

The last Loach film I saw in the cinema was Looking For Eric, and although I enjoyed The Angel’s Share, I can’t say either are my favourite.  But throughout Loach’s work is a real sense that working class people are good, decent and friendly.  He’s a myth-buster.  From Riff-Raff to My Name is Joe to the heavily polarised worlds of Bread & Roses and Land & Freedom, his working class characters are there to support one another.  Sweet Sixteen maybe is an exception, which is why is makes that film so powerful in its sheer hopelessness (but that’s just my reading).  At least with I, Daniel Blake he could rely on his neighbours, co-workers and the friendliness of strangers at the Library.  It’s not much, but it’s something.

I Daniel Blake is an old story now, one of benefit sanctions, ATOS and job seekers’ which still exists, but is sliding off the agenda of the right-wing tabloids who have now turned their sights to target refugees and immigrants in the wake of the EU referendum result.  If anything, they have shifted the zeitgeist us vs. them mentality now (peddled by the Tories) from “scroungers” and the disabled to “foreigners”.  The film ends with Daniel Blake declaring his is a citizen, no more, no less, and yet Mrs May might well ask Mr Blake, were she ever to walk amongst the people of Newcastle, “a citizen of where?”

There are a number of powerful moments peppering the film, and I cried so many times I lost count.  But one moment that has stuck with me is when the young child, Daisy, visits Dan who is refusing her help.  She insists.  She says, “If you helped us, why can’t I help you?”

With a handful of exceptions, Loach’s films show humans helping humans.  Yes, there are humans hurting humans too.  I often quote folk-punk band ONSIND, and one song states:  True hope resides in that moment where a person holds their hand out to a stranger on the ground.

There is despair, darkness, sadness and blood in Loach’s films.  There are tears, fists and poverty that grinds into your guts.  But there is also friendship, family and community.  There is solidarity between people and therein lies the hope at the centre of Loach’s films, like glinting treasure in the mud of an ocean floor.

And this, dear reader, is why I want to write hopeful poetry.  Angry, bitter and loud.  But hopeful.


I will not allow myself to be destroyed by these betrayals / I won’t ever let these bastards grind me down. 

No comments:

Post a Comment