Foregone Conclusion

Gay filmmaker Terence Davies talks about his ode to his childhood love of Liverpool, Of Time and the City.

BY Lawrence Ferber

February 06 2009 1:00 AM ET

 Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick as characters Julian and Sandy xlarge (album cover) | advocate.com

Did you ever learn Polari and speak it with friends? No. You can only get away with that if
you’re Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick. If
you do it in real life, it sounds really rather sad.

I’d love to take a Polari language course. Oh God, don’t!

What was the toughest archival material to locate? It wasn’t so much what was difficult as
what to leave out. There was a huge amount of archival
material. We went through the material on two
occasions and it took an entire day to get through it.

What is your fondest memory from your Liverpool days? There was a rich street life. When you’ve
got nothing you tend to live in the street and have
nothing together. But I suppose what I miss most is
the fact that within walking distance of my house there were
eight cinemas, and another eight in town. It was so
wonderful. There was always something interesting to
watch -- always. I miss having that abundance of
cinemas.

How do you feel about Liverpool when you visit it today? The city I knew is largely gone. It’s a
city of my mind, my imagination. But everywhere I go
there are memories, so that makes it difficult. But
also most of the places I knew have been pulled down.

I was there in November and it seems a city in the
process of being reinvented and updated -- I visited the
Catholic Church–turned–restaurant,
which was pretty glamorous.
The Alma de Cuba. It’s been very well
done.

You and Derek Jarman were both part of the British
Queer Cinema wave. Do you see many parallels between
your careers?
Stylistically he was doing something completely
different, but I think there are two things we had in
common: We’re both gay, and he had a very good
sense of humor and so do I. He was a life-enhancer. He
really was. He was so full of life and generous, a
lovely man. I can’t say I’m a
life-enhancer, although I try to be.

Tags: film

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