Saturday, October 01, 2005



Meantime, a film by Mike Leigh. Released in 1983. My unreliable memory of this: The drab colours inside the dark smoky pubs, streams of foggy light entering through the mottled window pane. The pub with its side rooms has a separate atmosphere of its own and a hatch to pass pints of lager top through. Skin heads in their bomber jackets and underage kids in duffle coats taking it in turns to go to the bar. At home the houses are fitted with simple angular technology with no 'Bass Expander' or mini-disc nor CD player. The white metal washing machine with has bare shiny metal edges and a Russian porthole for a door. Through the window children are seen rolling marbles into the gutter. The streets are grey and wet, the housewives scuttle around the angles, through the shadowy underground passes and into the indoor shopping centres, on their way to shop, some wearing exotically coloured head scarves. A young Gary Oldman dances along the wall that lines a litter strewn walkway, screeching and barking in the cold air. He opens up a pale blue door and asks if somebody is in. His tall figure, fitted with bleached jeans, bomber jacket and bobble hat, is seen to step inside. The dingy flat on the second floor of a block of flats is decorated on the outside with a regular viridian green in flat squares punctuating strips of wet grey wall. The sky threatens rain as the grey clouds encroach to seal the vision of a run down London estate where there are long queues outside the benefits office with an officias lady behind the bullet proof screen at the counter - 'sign your name there love', the young man clothed in layers of oddly fitting jumpers and greyed drainpipe canvas trousers, squints he eyes behind his broken national health glasses at the form moved towards him across the wooden desk where the varnish has worn off and where he pulls at the metal chain to grasp the shiny black pen, scribbling his name.

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