Tuesday, 1 March 2011

David Peace, Mike Hodges, Newcastle, & Me

The Story Engine is an annual forum (founded by filmmaker Ian Fenton in collaboration with New Writing North) where British screenwriters and filmmakers convene in Newcastle to discuss their work and working methods. This year’s focus is on crime fiction – genre’s conventions, creative choices within those, adaptation from book to film. Story Engine: Scene Of The Crime takes place at the Tyneside Cinema on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th of March. Scheduled for the Saturday at 11am is a session entitled THE BLOODY NORTH, where the brochure promises that Mike Hodges and David Peace will “explore the importance of place within the genre and discuss the problems of mixing fact and fiction.” (It further proposes that Peace’s celebrated Red Riding Quartet “lies squarely in the shadow of Hodges’ Get Carter.”)
I tell you all this because I’ll be the chairperson of this Peace-Hodges symposium, which will be a considerable pleasure for me as well as an interesting listen, I expect. There’s little I need say myself about Get Carter (though I do always like to remind people that it marked the memorable screen debut of the Pelaw Hussars Juvenile Jazz Band.) But I can’t wait to hear what Mike Hodges will say of it, looking back nearly 40 years to his masterpiece. I’m extremely keen to know what David Peace will think of it too. And then what will Hodges make of the TV version of Peace’s Red Riding, which was widely felt to be as strong a piece of British ‘cinema’ as these shores have produced in years? (I remember Nicolas Roeg marvelling to me about the James Marsh-directed 1980 episode in particular, wondering also why we’re not allowed to be so stylistically bold in movies anymore. I remember Paddy Considine enthusing to me, not long after 1980 was in the can, about the joyous experience he’d had on the production. I drop these names really because Considine and Roeg are, I think, the last two people I interviewed on stage, in November 2008 and August 2009 respectively. I used to do more of this stuff, actually, but I’m always happy to turn my hand to it, and am also available for children’s parties.
Two clips: Red Riding in US trailer form because it shows just how forcefully this package was assembled from a modern genre perspective. And the ageless , glorious beginning of Get Carter – because that’ll be me in a week’s time, see – on the train from London to Newcastle, the finest of all journeys, and one to which I paid homage in the opening chapter of Crusaders...

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