The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'midlands'
A recollection of growing up as a heavy-metal fanatic in the British Midlands in the 1980s:
The drummer was called James and the singer was called Jez. We met at the Bavisters' a few weeks later and, as they got out of their car and started unloading their gear, I froze. They were both wearing spandex trousers and had long, impressive mullets. I'd never seen anyone as cool as them in real life before.
When we first saw Kurt Cobain, it wasn't clear that he was the assassin who'd come to slit our throats. He had long hair for a start, professed a love of Black Sabbath and, with his grubby bandmates, had made a snotty but hardly radical debut album called Bleach. That was OK; metal was assimilating the nascent grunge movement pretty well. There certainly weren't any lines in the sand - until Nevermind.
Tonight I watched a rented DVD of Once Upon A Time in the Midlands, a British comedy concerning a small-time crim/deadbeat dad (played by Robert "Begbie" Carlyle) journeying down from Glasgow to somewhere in the British Midlands (it wasn't said exactly which city or suburb; perhaps the Midlands are an endless homogeneous suburban sprawl these days?) to win back his ex-girlfriend (the very pretty Shirley Henderson, who played Tony Wilson's first wife in 24 Hour Party People) from her dull-but-dependable suburbanite partner (Welsh actor Rhys Ifans), all the while pursued by a crew of Scottish bampots in an assortment of bizarre stolen vehicles (milk floats and the like). The plot's the usual comedy/drama; though the setting surprised me. I always thought that the Midlands would be presented a bit grimy, down-at-heel and somewhat rough, yet with an authentic character from amidst the shabbiness. (Mind you, my experience of the Midlands extends to Wolverhampton railway station and glimpses of brutalist Birmingham through a dirty train window.) The Midlands in the film was an endless suburbia of double-glazed dream homes, spotless, brightly-lit bingo halls and shiny new sedan cars, populated by well-fed, complacent suburbanites in shellsuits. It all seemed rather soulless and deracinated and much like any other dormitory suburb of McWorld, save for the accents and street signs; change those and add a few barbecues and it could just as easily have been Rowville or Mount Waverley or someplace.