Mick & Sarah At The Pictures

By Andrew David Barker

Ten years, ten dates, one cinema. Mick & Sarah fall in love, but life isn’t like the movies

Fiction | Pop culture
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In the autumn of 1970, Mick and Sarah meet at their local cinema, The Rex, and go and see a Hammer horror double bill. They are nineteen and the future seems wide open. But they have no idea what kind of a decade they are about to grow into.

How long can first love continue to burn bright?

Set against the backdrop of the turbulent seventies, moving from one year to the next, Mick and Sarah come of age in a world of Bruce Lee movies, political turmoil, naughty sex comedies, bombings, blackouts, and Bowie. And through it all, there is The Rex, and Mick and Sarah’s loyalty to the old fleapit.

They grow up, experiencing all the joys and agonies life in your twenties can bring, each shaking off adolescence in different ways. Sarah yearns for experience and life beyond their drab world. She also dreams of becoming an author. Mick is a working man; a few pints down the pub, fish & chips in front of the telly, and a film down the piccies at the weekend.

‘Mick & Sarah At The Pictures’ is a love story told in glimpses; it is a journey into the life of two young downtrodden people, whose only outlet and escape from the harsh realities of 1970s Britain is at The Rex on a Friday night. 

From glam to prog to punk, from Heath to Thatcher, from ‘On the Buses’ to ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, this is a bittersweet tale of first love and the movies; a story of two people and the picture house that shaped their lives – a place that was a cornerstone. It is a novel about a Britain that has long gone, a celebration in the miracle of movies, and a study in how we communicate to one another, how we love, and how we stay in love.

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  • Andrew David Barker avatar

    Andrew David Barker

    Andrew David Barker is an author and filmmaker. Born in Derby, England in 1975, Barker has had pretty much every job going. He has worked as a window fitter, a rail track worker, a factory worker, a carpet salesman, a car cleaner, a delivery driver, a bricklayer's labourer, a shop assistant, and a care worker, among others. None of them stuck.
    In the late 90s he played lead guitar in a rock band. They got signed, made a single, played London, thought they were famous, and, subsequently, imploded.

    As a filmmaker he wrote and directed the little seen opus, ‘A Reckoning’ - a last man on earth tale which won acclaim from many who saw it - and the award winning short films, ‘Two Old Boys’ and ‘Shining Tor’.

    He is the author of ‘The Electric’, ‘Dead Leaves’, and the short ghost story collection, ‘Winter Freits’.

    He now lives in Warwickshire with his wife and daughters, trying to be a grown up.

  • They found a table by the window. They didn’t speak for a while. The road outside was white with frost, scored with black tire lines. A bus went by on its way into town. It looked packed. 

    ‘All Right Now’ finished, but nothing else came on the jukebox, and the silence was very noticeable.

    Mick took a sip of his Guinness and said, “You go to The Rex a lot?”

    “Yeah, I guess so. You?”

    “All the time. I can’t believe I’ve never seen you before.”

    “Guess we just kept missing each other,” she said.

    The weight of these words seemed to temporarily stun them, and they fell silent. Sarah tucked one side of her hair behind her ear, and for possibly the first time in his life, Mick Maystock truly noticed the simple grace of a woman.

    “How come you’re out on your own?” he asked.

    “I don’t know. None of my girlfriends would want to come and see films like these.”

    “Never met a girl that went to the pictures on her own before.”       

    “You don’t approve?”

    “No, I think it’s great.”

    “Well, I like people watching as much as film watching.”

    “You live nearby?”

    “Just down near the rec, off Bolton Lane. With me mum and dad.”

    “Oh, yeah, I know.”

    “You?”

    “I live just up there, top of Barnaby Street.”

    “Right by The Rex?”

    “Yeah.”

    “No wonder you go all the time. I probably would as well if the pictures were down my road.”

    “Been goin’ all me life.”

    They both took a drink. Another bus rattled by. Mick watched it. He could see the lights of The Rex further down the road. He noticed her looking at him.

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  • Andrew David Barker has written 1 private update. You can pledge to get access to them all.

    19th August 2019 Writing 'Mick & Sarah At The Pictures' Part 1

    I tend to think about an idea for a long time before I actually sit down to write. I find that the urgent ideas – the ideas that are bursting to get out – are usually short works: short stories, short films. They’re the ones that I usually set to work on pretty soon after the initial spark came to me. The longer works – the feature screenplays and the novels – tend to stay in my head a bit longer…

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