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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Billy Liar, your train is still waiting

We watched the film of "Billy Liar" on Friday night in honour of its creator Keith Waterhouse. It's a terrific film, directed by John Schlesinger and starring the marvellous Tom Courtenay. Whether as a novel, a stage play, a film or as inspiration for artists like Morrissey, the story of Billy Fisher, who dreams of going up to London and making his name in show business, sits in the back of the mind of anyone who was brought up in the north and ached to get away, particularly in the 60s. The fantasies into which he disappears seem dated now, as does the idea of a grammar school boy going straight into a dead end job rather than being "at uni", but for all the fine talk about devolution there is still something about getting on the train for The Smoke that's as powerful as ever.