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Thanks to marK for (oh, GOD) this article about (oh, no no no no NO!) this.

Maybe we should start an ANTI icons or REAL icon list:
my first two nominations:

*Danniella Westbrook's missing septum;
*so-haunting CCTV footage of murder victims walking through depopulated 'dead space'
10 minutes before their lonely unobserved End...;
*the Rettendon Range Rover full of de-faced Essex 'faces';

The latter links in with marK's thoughts on 'backwater England'...
In 1996 I wrote a script for Chris Petit about the events - the social shifts, as well as the drug strafed individuals involved in the 'real' scene - that led up to the Rettendon mini-massacre. It was called Cottonfields (I still love that title, tho I say it myself), and was set on Wimpey show-home culs de sac, industrial estates, container lorry parks, two in the morning motorway Little Chef carparks, Essex satellite town discos, sub-Hut pizza takeaways, so on... the sort of England, as marK sez, that doesn't tend to feature in our heritage-fudge film industry; when we do tackle these criminals, they tend to be poeticised or shot like GQ fashion pages - and it was just this deluge of post- and even sub- Guy Ritchie product that scuppered Cottonfields.

The only place you do see this Otherland England is in dodgy SKY documentaries at one in the morning: Britain's Toughest Pubs 3 or Britain's Roughest Seaside Resorts, etc: a world not of broadsheet columnists, 'must have!' moisturiser and Blackberry addiction, but missing teeth, lowgrade ultraviolence, 5 am Shopping Channel purchases, 10 am cans of 79p SUPERCider, knock-off samurai swords, Third Generation devil dogs and z-list celebrity dogging...

posted by Ian 1/09/2006 01:07:00 PM

bloody kids is a (1979?) stephen frears movie abt PUNK APOCALYPSE ahem starrin gary holton (!) about city all over gone yoot crazy set in a shoppin mall

it is a bit neony overlit tho -- and actuall;y on re-viewing reminded me of the bill (old skool non-bad bill) --
ps wz i the only person in the universe who watched (and liked) GHOST SQUAD?
no Mark, I loved it too.... Elaine Cassidy is the best thing on television...
it wz like roger graef directs spy kids!!
Coming back to this Otherland England thing though I think it's important that it isn't a question of ugliness (ugliness is too strong a feature in many ways) but of a dreary (but very very brite) banality... Also wondered as I wrote about it whether it is a peculiarly British thing, or whether it's because I'm British that I'm acutely sensitive to it... in that it's impossible to imagine that same affect from any non-British country, the quotidiana would inevitably acquire an exotic sheen...
yes the BRIGHTness is important - thats what we wanted in the film: how skin looks under fluorescent lights at 3am + No, not UGLY necessarily, not at all... haunting, the way dead space often is (i'm trying not to use the *nc*nny cliche here) - even as a kid i used to find something both sad and yet magnetic about closed-down shops, say... it's sealed off , bright, hard... it's like if we could find a word/concept that was the precise opposite of Benjamin's "porosity" {re Naples i think it was

i dont know why, but the obvious example here - SHAMELESS - it's just never quite worked for me on any level really... what you want is something more like an Estuary Eggleston...
I've never watched Shameless, I don't know why....

The brightness thing: that's why Ballard is right to keep (over)using the word 'overlit'

Do you still have the script Ian?
On the 'icon' thing... when did it start getting used in that sense? (Must have something to do with Madonna)
yeah i've still got the script
i think it was really good for what it was - i'd done other novice scripts just to prove to myself i could, but this one had a pulsion all its own...
i dont know how i'd feel about it now, tho: i feel very differently about crime & guns & "bad" men on film, i have VERY little patience for even supposedly 'superior' artier slicker versions these days...
of course if you can do a Performance with it all then that's a different matter...
re "icon" :
it just seems to have exploded in the last coupla years - it's probably just to do with the profusion of CLIP programmes and 'Best of' and LIST and '13 Best Madonna Videos' and 'I LUV the 70s' programmes... and it became talking head bird flu... you just say "oooh, so ICONIC' and it seems to justify everything... that's the pragmatics of it ... as to what it signifies as a wider historical trend... why now, why so much nostalga, why so much list-making... ?
anti icons
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