Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Southern Softies

Film maker John Shuttleworth
Humour’s a strange thing! Yorkshire man John Shuttleworth decided to travel to the southern most part of England: the Channel Islands (aren’t they part of France?) to confirm or not whether its people are the Southern Softies (2009) of northern myth?  Whose is Shuttleworth, you may ask, I had no idea. Apparently he is a singer songwriter and Radio 4 presenter a slightly nerdish man whose main possessions appear to be a dodgy Y reg Austin Ambassador and a Yamaha PSS portable keyboard. This affable man, with his anti Borat approach, interviews unsuspecting folk to prove his theory.

Austin Ambassador Y Reg
Unfortunately Mr Shuttleworth did not attend Monday nights RBC Film Club, rumour has it that he was a little put off by the interviewing techniques of our very own grand inquisitor Darren Conner (he must have seen Alec Barclays film of the interview with Peter Mullan) any way he sent along a rather nice chap called Graham Fellows who seemed quite happy to take part in the evenings QA session. He told us how the film was made on a shoe string budget of approximately £10000.00, a lot of which was probable spent on getting the Ambassador around the country, and how this latest documentary was a sequel to Its Nice Up North (2004) which explored the theory that British people are nicer, the further north one ventures. Both these films, we were told, tend to break normal film making rules with no real structure, the interviewees are not primed beforehand and in fact the cult that is John Shuttleworth does not plan in advance what he will say much to the annoyance of his agent/manager Ken Worthington, a man with an unusually high pitched voice!

I don’t mean to be critical of this fine piece of rebel film making but I did have a problem buying into Mr Shuttleworth low key humour and must admit that this evening’s documentary would be better suited to the medium of television. Although to be fair many of Monday night’s audience did find the film very amusing. Personally I found the QA funnier than the on screen entertainment, or was that just me?

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