I grew up as a lad in the Meadows area of Nottingham and 'though Alan Sillitoe's era was before my time and Shane Meadows's after it i can identify with both styles.I regard them as equals in their portayal of working/under class people's lives and social environment in the uk as they really are. I just wish more actors could master the East midlands dialect.After all we are talking about an area of 3 counties here. Perhaps the country thinks we in the east midlands are the 'south Riding' of Yorkshire - Not!
I'm a Hyson Green girl myself (though left Nott'm some time ago). I read a lot of Sillitoe in the early 70s, mainly because of the local connection I have to admit (my mum grew up in the same street as him in Radford and worked at the Raleigh with his sister Peggy). Funny, but although I loved Saturday Night and Sunday Morning at the time, I can't watch it now without being overwhlemed with the impression that Arthur Seaton is a totally obnoxious, misogynist twat. In contrast, one of the things I love about Shane's films is the way he deals with men/masculinity in such a reflective and critical way (in my humble opinion, that's one of his real strengths as a film-maker and one of the reasons he's important). But, of course, times change and, as you say, Sillitoe was trying to paint a picture of working class life as it was, without apology. Still have a lot of time for The Loneliness of the long Distance Runner-book and film. All the best, Jill
On the accents thing, to her credit Shirley Henderson made a pretty good stab at it in Once Upon a Time in the Midlands. Problem was that in trying to get the inflection right, her delivery was way, way tooo slooow and, consequntly, she sounded about 10 :-). While Shane uses a lot of local actors, you hear lots of regional accents in his films (just as you would in the E. Mids). I think that makes his film all the more 'authentic.' Jill
In Nottingham in the 70s i was a 'Home ales bitter' drinker ( Forest supporter) as opposed to many Nott's county fans who (being generally older) preferred 'Shipstones bitter'.Sadly both local brewers were swallowed ( pun intended) up by 2 national brewers. As for your view of Shane's use of accent diversity to apply authenticity to his work I will accept that in the case of 'Once upon a time in the Midlands'. I would like to compliment Shane on attracting big budget actors to work with him.What a coup.These people didn't do it for fame or money. They have that. In my opinion they came because Shane's work appealed to them. My compliments to them also. Whilst telling Local storys with local accents promotes local area interest there could be a danger of the film becoming directionally myopic and losing a wider audience's attention. The great British public are fine tuned in the art of pidgeon holing accents and identify instantly with 'them that speak like wot we do'. Aside from the visuals all this happens as soon as the vocals start and before we get into the storyline. So i see it as a percentage trade off between authentic locational accent use and appealing to the ear of a wider audience. Maybe there just aren't enough actors with an east midlands accent in their repertoire.Great to see Shane using local talent when he can though.
Hi Rob, think I should take back my Shirley Henderson comment. I dug out Once Upon a Time again and, actually, her delivery isn't particularly slow, but she does sound about 10 (maybe we all do :-)) The accent thing can be irritating when it's suppose to be 'local' and is clearly tyke :-) e.g Albert Finney (crikey, this is starting to sound like the League of Gentleman). I suppose in relation to Once Upon a Time, the 'big stars' turned out to be a mixed bessing. Kathy Burke was great (but isn't she always), but Robert Carlyle was disappointing (and I'm a big fan of him), but I am sure that you're right about their desire to work with Shane.
There are folk who lament the passing of Shippos. Can't think why. But then I'm a larger drinker, which puts me at the bottom of the beer drinkers food chain (I was once banned from a Real Ale tour for asking for a dash of lime in my pint :-))
As a Londoner who then discovered Derby and Notts (I now reside and make films here in Derby), I have to agree, the accent is hell to get right. And I trained as an actor!
I think being from the middle of the country, that soft-Nothern (from a Southern perspective) and soft-Southern (from a Northern perspective) makes it tough to nail. But it is still an accent, and nowhere better represented than in Shane's movies.
The Meadows is now notorious for all the wrong reasons, and it does remind me of the South East London I grew up in. Maybe that's why I find this part of England so fascinating. There is some fantastic history here, and culturally, it holds it's own against the big cities. The one thing that does fascinate me the most though, talking of accents, is the way that they change so much all over the East Midands. My other half is from Mansfield (which is Nottinghamshire) yet sounds loads different from someone just 15 miles down the road. No wonder it so hard to get it right eh?
Big respect to this part of the country. I've lived in a lot of different houses (lost count after 30) and areas, but this is one of my favourite.
Yes. While I don't think it's worth getting hung up on the accents thing re Shane's films, local accents are fascinating. I was watching Shane's Shorts a little while ago and was struck by his 'dunna' which sounds Stokie to me (lived there for a while) but is also common in Eastwood (just 5 miles from Nott'm). Went to watch Forest a little while ago and took the usual short cut from the station down Arkwright Street-through the Meadows. Like to think I'm street savvy, but that little walk scared the shit out of me. That said, it's a real pity Nott'm's getting all this 'gun city', drugs, media hysteria nowadays. It's really hurting the city economically now (eg. Nott'm Uni has suffered a big drop in recruitment this year) because per head of population it's no worse than other places (Manchester, Glasgow, London). I go home to see friends/family fairly regularly and now that I no longer live there I notice it's very particular culture. Shane really captures that-especially in 24/7 and Romeo Brass.
just on a side note to this thread until i started watching shane's films i wasn't 100% aware of the ins and outs of the nottingham/east mids accent and i'm only from the west mids! It does seem a very hard accent to pin down.
Agree also with comparisons with sillitoe. I think one of shane's strength's is the way he portrays people warts and all showing their weaknesses (especially males)