The Clash, left melancholia and the politics of redemption
the band were quick to point out the disparity between the ‘everyman’
persona constructed by Joe Strummer and his real background as the
public schoolboy John Mellor.9 In their memoir of the punk era, Julie
Burchill and Tony Parsons, for instance, suggest that the distinctive,
drawling, adenoidal speaking voice of The Clash front man was one that
had required ‘de-elocution’ lessons.10 This vein of inverted snobbery was
exemplified in reviews of the 1980 hit single ‘Bankrobber’. Journalists
were wont to point out that the opening line of the track – ‘My daddy
, with a steady diet of classic country-and-western
tunes on the bus stereo, as Johnny Green’s road-managing memoir tells
THE CLASH AROUND THE WORLD
us.8 You can almost hear that country-music mix-tape, and the sound of
the open road, on London Calling. In the review of that album in Melody
Maker James Truman could hear it, writing: ‘The Clash have discovered
America, and by the same process, themselves.’9 By the time I saw them a
few months later, The Clash were taking to the stage, everywhere, to the
sound of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s ‘Sixteen Tons’, and had
(John Schlesinger, 1961), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Richardson, 1962), Billy Liar (Schlesinger, 1963), This Sporting Life (Lindsay Anderson, 1963).
12 See John Hill, Sex, Class and Realism: British Cinema 1956–1963 (London: British Film Institute, 1986).
13 Robert Shail, Tony Richardson (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012), p. 3.
14 Tony Richardson, Long Distance Runner: A Memoir (London: Faber and Faber, 1993), p. 67.
of time, place, memories, imagined landscapes’ to which he [Jarman] alludes in a subsequent memoir entitled At Your Own Risk .) 38
Gardens are, unsurprisingly, the traditional setting for the medieval dream-vision. In Chaucer’s Prologue to The Legend of Good Women , for example, the poet-narrator returns home after a day spent out in nature, falls asleep and ‘mette how I lay in the medew tho’ (‘dreamt how I lay in the meadow’, line 210). It is also possible that Chaucer’s poem was Jarman’s source for the scene in The Garden where the
director personifies British theatre culture, following his decade-long stint leading the National Theatre, about which he has written a memoir entitled National Service , a title indicative of both duty and sacrifice for the good of wider society. Stage Beauty draws its inspiration from theatre in an ingrained and sustained manner. In articles and interviews about the making of Stage Beauty , 73 Eyre repeatedly emphasises theatrical influences upon his film: the inspiration drawn from Japanese Kabuki theatre; Billy Crudup’s prior stage and Shakespearean experience
during the decade: Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront (1954), based on a story
Otto Preminger’s Bonjour, Tristesse
by well-known novelist Budd Schulberg; and then later David Lean’s The
Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), which brought to the screen Pierre Boulle’s
fictionalized memoir of his years as a Japanese POW working on the ‘railway
of death’ in Burma. If Hollywood can be said to have sponsored a serious
literary cinema in the early postwar period, such filmmaking found a welcoming home at Columbia. The studio proved generally adept at marketing
British Film Guide , London : I. B. Tauris .
Sandbrook , Dominic ( 2005 ), Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles , London : Abacus .
Sandbrook , Dominic ( 2015 ), The Great British Dream Factory: The Strange History of Our National Imagination , London : Allen Lane .
Scala , Mim ( 2009 ), Diary of a Teddy Boy: A Memoir of the Long Sixties , London : The Goblin Press .
Sight & Sound ( 1950 ), ‘ Round Table on British Films ’, May, 114 – 22.
Sinyard , Neil ( 2014 ), A
( 1955 ), Moonraker , London : Jonathan Cape .
Francis , Freddie ( 2013 ), Freddie Francis: The Straight Story from Moby Dick to Glory, a Memoir , Plymouth, UK : Scarecrow Press .
Fraser , John ( 2004 ), Close-Up: An Actor Telling Tales , London : Oberon Books .
French , Philip ( 1966 ), ‘ The Alphaville of Admass: Or How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Boom ’, Sight & Sound , Summer, 106 – 11 .
Goodwin , Cliff ( 2011 ), Sid James: A Biography , London : Virgin Books .
Grant , Elspeth
wound of a rotten field in Vietnam.1
Oliver Stone penned these words, not as part of some reflective
memoir of his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam War, but
immediately upon return from his first trip to Saigon in 1965
where, during a year away from his studies at Yale University, he
had done nothing more dangerous than work as an English teacher
in a Catholic school. US forces had begun arriving in Vietnam during that year as part of a dramatic escalation, although the ground
war that would engulf American foreign policy for the next decade
was not yet
(1948) both received good reviews, but by the time Crimson Lake
(1950) was published its author was behind bars. She had been sentenced to
twelve months for fraud, although she still protests her innocence of the
charge, which may have related to her earlier gambling losses.
After spending eight months of 1950 in Holloway and the new
‘open’ prison at Askham Grange in Yorkshire, she reluctantly
wrote a memoir of her experiences