PERSPECTIVES: Liz Baugh on ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’
I was first introduced to Saturday Night Sunday morning as a child of 4, maybe 5, as it was a film my Nana greatly related to, being of that generation where, working in Wollie’s making tights for ‘a couple of bob’ Monday to Friday, Saturday night was naturally the highlight of a young person’s week. I clearly remember the scene where Arthur falls down the stairs in the pub blind drunk after a particularly heavy drinking competition, then getting up for another pint, my Nana roaring with laughter shouting “That’s how we did it!” Being set in Nottingham and going through many areas I was familiar with, I was hooked to the film and must have watched it dozens of times, but only attempted to actually read the novel in my teens, not finishing I must add, and again in my early twenties.
Having recently read it for the second time, I can see why Sillitoe’s style of writing changed the literary world so much. It accurately depicts what life was really like for the people of Nottingham at that time, something which had not been previously done so well. Any young man can so easily relate to Arthur. Real problems were highlighted, with families struggling to make ends meet, gossiping neighbours and tricky love affairs. But a younger audience can also see themselves in Arthur’s life, with the Goose Fair and the antics of a Saturday night drink still traditions us Nottingham lot hold dear. Even the way Sillitoe has his characters speak, “Ayup duck” being my particular favourite, echoes through to today.
I’m not sure if, when Sillitoe wrote this, he could imagine what a historic piece he was creating and also think that people would still be reading it now, for enjoyment and for study.
In summary, an excellent book and a real page turner from start to finish.
(What’s your favourite Alan Sillitoe title? Any thoughts on the various film versions? Any memories of the man himself? Send your reviews, anecdotes and reminiscences to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to see them on this site.)