To the NFT Studio – sorry, BFI Southbank Studio -yesterday, to see Terence Davies’ 2008 poem to Liverpool. Narrated beautifully by the writer-director himself – alternately funny, moving, angry (never have I heard such venom injected into the phrase “curling irons”) – it uses archive footage and sweeping landscape shots, classical and classic pop music to devastating effect.
As the credits ended, the Hairy Muse laughed: “I didn’t know I was taking you to see a great, big poem!”
Because a poem it was. Not just because Davies quotes from Julian of Norwich, Shakespeare, Eliot, Larkin – and probably loads more writers that I missed – but because his own writing is so prismatic and affecting. I loved the deft images: “radios brown as Hovis” and the use of what must be texts from the Catholic Church. And his rapt, intense voice….
Wonderful. We walked out over Waterloo Bridge afterwards, with new eyes for our own city. The crowd of cranes around St [pauls and the Square Mile, the tethered river barges. The people in the wind, with their flash cameras and their scarves. The uplit Shell Building. That crazy Eye.