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Awaydays world premiere

The Philharmonic Hall rolled out the red carpet for Kevin Sampson's first feature length film last week. What was it like? Who went where?

Published on May 26th 2009.

Awaydays world premiere

FIRST it was The Farm's bass-player, Carl Hunter, with Grow Your Own, followed by their drummer, Roy Boulter, who produced Of Time and the City. Now Kevin Sampson, novelist and the band's former manager, completes the line-up by writing the screenplay to the football flick of his book, Awaydays.

And flick is the word, from the 1970s wedge haircuts to the knives the characters casually employ in every other scene where the blood spills amid the thrills and pills of the post-punk scene to a soundtrack of the Bunnymen, Ultravox, Magazine and Joy Division.

But for once this is no nostalgia fest, rather a period piece. Awaydays, set on the Wirral, is a boys own adventure from hell, bleached photography and Crosville buses taking the viewer back to a time when football violence was as normal as testosterone surges with nowhere to go.

You can almost reach out and squeeze those pimples as you are reminded of why much of the late 1970s, and the lads you knew, were truly so grim, and why the major weekend activity for the rest was standing outside Probe on a Saturday afternoon and being jeered at by the staff. Authenticity of setting and believability of character (there are one or two dodgy-scouse -accent-moments), get full marks.

As you would expect then, given the subject, this makes for dark and uncomfortable ride, with little humanity on the face of it. “Carty meets Elvis at a Bunnymen gig, they fall headlong into a volatile friendship that each of them aches for but neither can control,” says the blurb and that much is true.

Elvis (a top performance by Liam Boyle) you occasionally like and have hope for, but even he lets you down, and we are left with Carty's rite of passage tale, a motherless boy gone

bad in a need to belong, but on screen it is hard find time to feel empathy for either boy when brutality insists on elbowing its way back into the main frame at every turn.

By the end of the fast-paced action, slow-motion blood letting and jugular slashing you are now made of hard stuff and will never wince again at the sight and cinematic sound of a head butt. You are desperate for light relief and this, for many of the premiere audience last Thursday, comes, so to speak, when Carty (Nicky Bell) prematurely ejaculates in a fumble outside the pub. Yes, all human body fluids are here.

Nevertheless, this is a well crafted film about a certain kind of male, and will appeal to a certain type of male. The sports footwear industry, made rich in their wake, knows who they are.

So with all that in mind, and with a major general release for the 18-cert movie, Heebiejeebies was the venue for the world premiere “after party”. DJ sets from Peter Hooton and Andy Carroll were billed, the Rascals definitely did play live.

Even Shaun Ryder was meant to be somewhere among the heaving throngs of bald oldies who were “there” and the young and beautiful of Hollyoaks who were playing them on screen. Here are some pix.
Rating: 8/10

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DigMay 26th 2009.

The boy has done well. Dutchie is an old mate of mine from Kirkby. From Why don't you to Snatch and Gangs of New York amongst others. Well done Ste.

maxieMay 26th 2009.

Exactly what Liverpool needs - films about violence, drug taking , casual sex with teenage girls, and a celebration of celebrity ignorance.Welcome to Dantes inner circles folks, its all you will ever want.

MagistrateMay 26th 2009.

Was it filmed in Scallorama?

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