Bunch Of Fives: Carl Green In Particular | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Carl Green In Particular is the new solo project of ex-Head Of Light Entertainment frontman and songwriter Carl Green. He follows up his first EP, Off Duty, with Off Guard a four-track EP, which in his own words is a “lo-fi, home-cooked, live and loose continuation.”

This collection of short alt-pop offerings flirts a little with folk and jazz, yet still features Carl’s distinctive vocal, playfulness and songwriting style. That, along with the reverby, no-frills production makes for an interesting and enjoyable listening.

Here, Carl tells us about his top five British kitchen sink dramas…

I adore the British Kitchen Sink drama films of the 1960s. The storytelling, the characters, the warmth, the wit, the smoke, the rain, the laughter, the pathos – it evokes something in me. Maybe it’s a northern thing, but whatever it is, I’m a true devotee of films that lovingly illuminate and bring focus to an England that gets hazier and hazier with each passing year. So, in no particular order, here are my top five:

I’ll start with the one everyone knows – Saturday Night And Sunday Morning (1960).

Albert Finney plays Arthur Seaton, a working-class rebel in a rough part of Nottingham. Causing trouble in a variety of locations (the factory floor, smoke-filled pub back rooms, the terrace streets he calls home), his anti-authority righteousness fills every scene. Though largely dark in tone, it’s not short on humour, and the scene where Arthur chats up Doreen in the pub (played by the most gorgeous “ordinary” girl ever, Shirley Anne Field) gets me every time. An absolute classic of British cinema, richly deserving of all the accolades it’s received over the years. “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”.

Possibly my favourite film ever is John Schlesinger’s adaptation of Stan Barstow’s A Kind Of Loving (1962). Alan Bates is Vic Brown, a young man about town whose carefree life is dealt a jolt of reality when his girlfriend Ingrid (touchingly portrayed by the hugely underrated June Ritchie) falls pregnant. He does “the right thing” (for the early 1960s) and marries her, but wedded bliss is short-lived when she miscarries. Thora Hird delivers a star turn as Ingrid’s acid-tongued mother whose constant bickering hastens the inevitable. Shot in black and white, at times it’s like looking back through an old family photo album. Heavenly.

Billy Liar (1962) is another jewel in British cinema’s crown. Starring Tom Courtenay and Julie Christie, this film also has its roots beneath the ginnels and backyards of working-class England in the 1960s. Essentially a story of coping with life by living an imaginary one, Billy’s need to escape from his unsympathetic family and two demanding fiancées, see him rule theatrically over his fantasy kingdom of Ambrosia. Unusually for the British New Wave, comedy (verbal and visual) is an integral part of the film, adding a quirkiness that makes it stand out. When Billy’s song (Twisterella, now the name of Middlesbrough’s annual music festival) gets played at the company dance, you’re as thrilled for him as if he were your own brother.

An amazing cast (Hayley Mills, John Mills, Hywel Bennett, Wilfred Pickles) helped make The Family Way (1966) one of the most affecting films of its generation. I love it. Two young newlyweds battle old traditions, coarse friends and practical jokes (a collapsing bed on their wedding night), and end up battling each other. The odds are stacked against them and you can feel your heart sinking. It’s an innocent, simple story but the emotional twist at the end is so poignant, so moving, just thinking about it now has brought a tear to my eye. The gentle soundtrack (by Paul McCartney) just adds to the everyday pathos of it all. A bit special.

Less well-known but every bit the equal of the above masterpieces is Spring And Port Wine (1970), one of the last great kitchen sink dramas of the era. Like The Family Way, this was written by Bill Naughton, and is another authentic tale of working-class life in Northern England. James Mason plays a strict, religious father determined to maintain control and discipline over his growing family. His authority is challenged by his resentful daughter who refuses to eat her herring one teatime. The cold fish is subsequently brought out every mealtime as two very different generations come into conflict in a battle of wills. An unlikely mix of hilarity and profound sadness, the table scenes resonate with me to this day.


Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout