The politics of hope in 1970s Britain
First Signs, Speech Day, The Gamekeeper, Tom Kite, The Price of Coal
in Barry Hines
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This chapter focuses on a period of extremely fruitful aesthetic production for Barry Hines, in terms of the novels and screenplays that followed A Kestrel for a Knave. During the 1970s, Hines's political energies were directed towards considering the institutions and structures of life at a time of active struggle for workers' rights. Barry Hines's third novel, First Signs, is probably his least known. As we will see again in Hines's writing, for instance in The Gamekeeper, which was published two years after the broadcast of Speech Day, apparently different varieties of time-keeping all point irrevocably towards the 'time discipline' of an industrial work routine. Hines's 1976 screenplay Tom Kite was never filmed, but, as his surname implies, this drama was about an attempted flight on the part of the eponymous protagonist by means of footballing prowess, one that might take him away from Britain altogether.

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