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John Smith
Smith's world is a fag-end one, of dislocated characters who uneasily straddle the past and the present.

There is a troubled bohemianism that melancholically attempts to recover an Arcadia which has been lost, knowing that this is futile. Slow Glass is a key film in this interpretation. '...When I look at the world now, it seems a long way away. I mean it never used to', utters the protagonist in his fine-tuned monologue on glass, DIY, his neighbours and life in general. He opines 'It's not the same, people are different, everything's different. I mean, nowadays, I don't think people know what the smell of linseed oil is like, what it's like to roll a bit of putty in you fingers'. This is a discourse of nostalgia, in the same way that the drunk in The Waste Land reciting Eliot in a pub toilet at the end of a long night is re-enacting Eliot's own sense of cultural loss, a nostalgia of longing. Smith ironically uses Eliot employing the vernacular ('Goodnight Bill'), while his drunk recites the high-art rhetoric of 'nymphs'. This is also a loss associated with the pastoral in which 'simple' characters (here Smith's drunk) are the purveyors of complex ideas (the drunk's recital of Shakespeare).

Still from Slow Glass by John Smith, 1988-91
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