I’ve always wanted to find out more about video so I put together this trailer back in September, when we launched the first three Year Zero novels. Unfortunately, FaceBook made me take it down, and told me if I repeated the offence they would withdraw my membership. (Something tells me they may not be here in a year’s time?) It probably needs a revamp, so criticism is welcome. As Freud said: eliminate the negative, accentuate the positive, don’t mess with Mr Inbetween …

If you click on the second icon from the right at the foot of the screen it should play full screen.


~ by yearzerowriters on February 14, 2010.

22 Responses to “1963”

  1. Larry, it’s a great video, looks amazing, but I have some specific questions to raise. Before I get into those, I can only imagine FB wanted it removed for the 1 shot of a needle injecting? Couldn’t see anything else vaguely offensive or liable to corrupt & deprave… Oh these curators – sorry guardians of morality…

    The two specifics I have relate to its function as a book trailer: as great as it looks in a filmic way and though there are shots of the cover art, I do always feel that a book trailer ought to have either some quotes from the text or a voiceover reading of same, just to give the viewer an insight into the style of the book in its own terms, ie the writing.

    Also, a British readership may recognise the Krays & Keeler, but a Transatlantic one less likely and I wonder whether that can be overcome by the overall feel and impression of the video as a whole – I don’t know the answer to this as obviously I’m British.

    Don’t know if any of that helps you. I’m in the process of having 5 voicedover & visual enacted reading videos being edited. I’ll post them to here when they’re done.


  2. I thought this was excellent. Yeah it had to be that needle scene that sent them scurrying. I can’t understand why. When I see it, it brings back bad memories of friends lost. It sure doesn’t make me want to pick up a needle. And if it did turn me on, the video couldn’t be blamed for it; the urge would already have been there.

    Anyway, I loved the video montage. The images seemed to move from the forties up to the sixties, seventies and more recent times. Was the chronological layout intentional? And you can’t beat Bird at his best.

    • Thanks. The story has flashbacks to the Forties and Fifties, so there are some references to this era, but most of it is set in 1963-64. Not supposed to be later, but one or two images may be anachronistic!

  3. Thanks Marc. I have another trailer which I’ll post another day, for comparison purposes. It does contain a reading, but it seemed a bit obvious and I was trying to get away from that approach here. But you may be right – the present video may just confuse people?

    The Transatlantic question is an interesting one, because I was told by one publisher that Americans wouldn’t be able to read the book, as it’s too culturally strange – not just the slang but the idea that any nation ever legally prescribed heroin and cocaine for addicts, or that a story about addiction would take the piss out of AA and the 12 Steps movement. Like the visual images of Chris Keeler, Ruth Ellis and the Twins, the book may not travel – and our American comrades will tell us – but I was encouraged that Marion Stein (who’s NY based?) wrote a review of Glimpses recently, and picked up every facet of it. But maybe she’s an expert on all things British?

    • I don’t see how a reading can be too obvious – it’s the meat of what we do. You only need a snippet, it doesn’t have to dominate the video in terms of time given over to it.

      I don’t think the video confuses people, I just think you have to keep reminding the viewer that this is actually referring back to and promoting a book.

      Groan at what you said re the publisher. Does James Kelman only sell in Scotland? Surely the Americans with their drug problems could do well to consider the ‘case history’ of our little experiment? I don’t buy the 12 Steps degradation at all, this is clearly set in the 1960s, 50 years ago now, it was a government policy that is no longer in use, but well worth literary consideration. Yes some of the specific references are probably going to be beyond Americans, but then I loved Delilo’s “Underworld” which is chockfull of American politicians and even starts off with a long description of a 1960’s World series baseball game, ‘the shot that was heard around the world” – didn’t spoil my pleasure any that I didn’t know who the real life players were. Marion is NY based – I read her book on Authonomy and she’s very into the US equivalent cultural scene as “Glimpses” to judge by it.


  4. Yeah, the body piercings and a few other images were a tad anachronistic. The chronology wasn’t strict.Flashback, hmmm. I’ll have to give it another run-through with that in mind.

  5. Very striking and imaginative! From an objective position (if I’d never known about your book or you) I’d definitely be intrigued by this film.
    The animals are really scary. I wonder what gave you to idea to use them. That orange fox (or dog) with the snarling teeth stays in my mind. Fantastic idea.
    I’m really impressed by the talent shown in this short film. I think it was very well done. I think it represents your book totally.
    Anne LG

    • Thanks Anne.

      In the 1950s it was common for bourgeois women to wear fox fur stoles – a complete dead fox draped around their neck, with glass eyes. As a child, I found it horrific. The woman who seems to be stalking Ronnie Jarvis wears one, and she appears in several guises in the video, and the fox also appears on its own. Symbolically, the fox/dog/jackal is Ronnie Jarvis’ death, coming to meet him.

  6. Great video, Larry!
    And, you know how I feel about Jackals 🙂
    Though, I think it might be worth photoshopping the girl’s piercing out, as it drags one up to the 90s.

    • Thanks Daisy! (And Anpu makes a guest appearance in my book.) Yes, I totally missed the body piercings when I put this together, probably because I like piercings – I used to wear earrings in the 60s when it was considered offensive – but you and PD are absolutely right. I’ve just taken them out of the pic, ready for an edit of the video.

      Any other anachronisms folks?

  7. Yeah, I wore earrings from the late seventies through the eighties. Pierced by ear twice all by myself. Might do it again to reopen it. But the piercings in this shot did pull me up closer to the present.

    • Yes – you both spotted it – lips and nose piercings. Very 90s, as Daisy said.

      We used a darning needle to pierce the ear lobe, with a leather knife scabbard held behind the ear to press up against? Hard men never wore earrings because they could be ripped out in a fight. I took them out in the 70s, when I worked with kids in Clapham Junction. But children have such acute eyesight they would spot the perforations and say “Here, you wear earrings?” [ I digress … ]

  8. Great trailer which captures so well the feel of the book! Hope it’s doing well. Has it been sent to any universities or professors? It feels like it should be MUST reading for anyone who’s studies touch upon drug and alcohol policy.

    • Thanks for this Marion. I’ve sent it to colleagues in the Midwest – we used to have a student exchange when I was an academic – but nowhere else. Would fall foul of the 12 Steps police in many US centres!

  9. i love this and i’m so impressed!! it’s perfect the way it is. i get it. it does make me want to read the book.

  10. It’s excellent, but the odd one-liner, to give us a taste of your style, wouldn’t go amiss.

  11. The way the images flash by briefly makes it feel like something subliminal is going on and adds a sinister quality even to the more upbeat shots.

    • The speed is linked to Bird Parker’s playing. I’ve got an idea that psychologists no longer believe in subliminal perception? When I was a boy, Television Wales & West tried to use a subliminal message to keep people viewing during commercial breaks. Unfortunately it wasn’t fast enough, and viewers were shouting out ‘What was that? What did it say?’

      When they decoded the message, there was an angry public reaction, which did the TV company no good at all.

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