kilo-kesLes Back: If you had to say which books caught your imagination, I mean are there like a handful or two or three books that you read.

M Y Alam: Just one and I mentioned this the other day, and that was Barry Hines’ Kes really. I read that at school, first and then I saw the film on television. That worked great – seeing the same story in two different formats was amazing. Up to then, I never really considered films as books. Books were books (and shit) and films were films (and great). The funny thing, after I read Kes, maybe a few years later, I read another book by Barry Hines but only because my brother was reading it. And he was only reading it because it was about football and my brother, at that time, was well into and a pretty decent player. So he was reading a book called Blinder about a footballer, and I said well what’s this about and I read that too. I read a few more things but nothing really sticks in my mind.

Les Back: When you think back to what was appealing about it, were there things that you thought that seems recognisable to me, I can imagine that?

M Y Alam: Yes, absolutely. I think everybody recognised the games teacher, played by Brian Glover. In middle school our games teacher was a fat bastard, but he was a horrible fat bastard as well, you know. A very mean, nasty and pretty fucked up man, I tend to think. I went to a school that was very violent. I’m not talking about a school full of violent kids, I think all kids have the potential to be violent, but I’m talking violent teachers. Fucking head cases, some of them. You know we had a teacher who was an ex Hells Angel. An ex Hell’s Angel teaching kids how to draw and shit. Go figure. And we had this games teacher who just seemed to take pleasure in hitting children. Fucking bizarre. Other teachers just seemed to take pleasure in humiliating children, you know, physically and verbally but this guy, he was a sadist. So I mean the Brian Glover character was kind of a nice version of our bastard from hell, our games teacher. And then there was the kid himself. I remember Billy Casper when he’s getting changed and he’s not got his shorts, he has to wear this very long pair of shorts. That happened to me man. I had to wear these horrible old smelly fucking blue shorts that went down to your knees. So there were moments like that and then there was his English teacher, was it Colin Welland who played him. For some reason, English teachers are always cool.

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