Another year…

Ruth-Sheen-and-Jim-Broadb-006

I have been trying to write a novel for a while- I say trying as it is a stop-start thing, with an emphasis on the stop. I have little cameos, pictures, characters waiting for their journeys to unfold. Most of all, I have this feeling for what it is all about- the love I have for people, trying to make sense of life and one another and in the midst of all the mess this thing called kindness, lying like bullion in compost.

I found myself looking through a window into the book I have not written tonight- watching Ken Loach‘s Another Year.¬†Loach always saturates you in a kind of beautiful discomfort. Brilliant acting, improvised scripts, woven together to make the closest thing to political art that British cinema has ever achieved.

The couple at the heart of the film are happily married, heading towards gentle retirement, but their calm centre seems to become an anchorage for all sorts of people for whom life has been anything but happy. At first, your sympathy is all for the couple as their lives are invaded by drinking, sobbing, lonely men and women. Slowly however, you start to wonder whether one lot of happiness must always form a counter point to the brokenness of others- almost as if the couple are some kind of monsters, whose well being depends on their sense of superiority over the lesser beings they are surrounded by…

Watch the film. If the book is ever finished, I only hope that the life in it is half as vivid, half as true.