Tuesday, 22 November 2011

From the North

Like many people born in Manchester in the 1970's, I first heard of Shelagh Delaney as a teenager when The Smiths put her on one of their single covers (left) and lead singer Morrissey championed her work in interviews.

Delaney, who has died aged 71, is best known for her play A Taste of Honey, later made into a film by Tony Richardson. Apparently she wrote it while on two weeks holiday from Metro Vicks, the massive engineering factory in Trafford Park where most of my family also worked in the 1950's and 1960's.

Delaney was part of the British New Wave realist film movement in the early 60's, many of whose leading lights were like her Northern and working-class: fellow Salfordian Albert Finney and Bolton's Shirley Ann Field (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning), Hull's Tom Courtenay (Billy Liar, written by Keith Waterhouse from Leeds) and writers Stan Barstow (A Kind of Loving) and David Storey (This Sporting Life), both from Wakefield and respectively a miner's son and ex-rugby league player. It also coincided with the start of Coronation Street on TV.

Here's a homage to Delaney by another member of Manchester and Salford's Irish diaspora:

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