Glasgow’s Miles Batter?
Watching ‘Sweet Sixteen’ By Ken Loach.
every film made that is set in Edinburgh or Glasgow and which features
working class people, also features criminal gangs, drug dealing and violence as primary
ingredients of the plot. It was when U-J lent me the recent Ken Loach
film Sweet Sixteen that I finally realised it was time for a working
class Scot to yell “aw, haud oan, pal, whit’s ‘a score here?”
Once again it is time for the voice of reason to be heard – just when
I thought Trainspotting had finally killed off the risk of any further
insults to ordinary working class people in Scotland, along comes this
pile of pish. It would be both fair and accurate to say that I am sick
and tired of middle class film directors (most of whom aren’t even
Scottish) portraying us as drug dealing members of violent criminal
gangs. Make another film like that and I’ll chib ye, so ah wull. But
seriously, compared to the thoroughly unmitigated tripe that comprises
Trainspotting (surely one of the most dreadful and insulting films ever
made), Sweet Sixteen is a masterpiece.
was destined to be complete sensationalist rubbish because it was based
on a distinctly risible book by an author who reveals himself to be
total arse-hole. I refuse to waste my intelligence thinking up a witty
riposte to express my contempt for this miserable little urchin –
he’s not worth the effort so ‘total arse-hole’ is sufficient. To
set such tedious drivel as that book to a full length film was a cynical
exercise in marketing working class Scottish people as drug dealers and
wasters and, of course, it was a highly successful commercial venture.
That a bunch of white middle class media merchants with their bottles of
Perrier, copies of Spotlight and The Face have managed to make a profit
out of insulting the working class is a savage indictment of the film
industry in Britain.
unlike the banal treacly mouthed creeps responsible for Trainspotting, I
don’t believe Ken Loach would ever deliberately, intentionally set out
to insult the working class of any country. It is generally an integral
aspect of his films to ensure that ordinary working class people are
given the opportunity to express their ideas, ideals and grievances.
It’s unfortunate then that most of his films are so incessantly grim,
depressing and miserable – believe me, Ken, we do know how to have a
laugh and enjoy ourselves – no, really, we do.
has never been to Glasgow. If he hadn’t met me, that film by Mr Loach
would be his first introduction to working class life in that
beleaguered city. Thanks, Mr Loach, what do you do for an encore?
Let’s be brutally honest here: there are small criminal gangs in
Glasgow and Edinburgh; there is drug dealing, drug taking; there are
also acts of violence. However, these antisocial attributes apply with
equal veracity to Manchester, Birmingham, London or Telford, for that
matter. The point is really very simple but I am obliged to reiterate it
time and again until people finally wake up and take notice: in all
these films that purport to portray the lives of ordinary working class
people in Scottish cities, the fact remains that they simply bear no
relation to reality whatsoever. The majority of us are not like that,
we need English middle class intellectuals to tell us about the lives of
working class Scottish people? Well, since all of them have so far
managed to be spectacularly wrong, evidently not. The trouble is, Ken
Loach shares with the Redgraves and Tariq Ali the unfortunate
distinction of being a typical Trot – they’ll moan about injustice
but they won’t advocate (and far less participate in) any action which
may lead to a genuine working class revolt. Well, I think we can do
without people like that speaking on our behalf, don’t you?