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
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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
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.”
“I live just up there, top of Barnaby Street.”
“Right by The Rex?”
“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.
- 20th January 2020 New Interview - MICK & SARAH & Beyond.
Author Mark West interviewed me about MICK & SARAH, the Unbound campaign, writing, filmmaking, and a possible sequel to THE ELECTRIC.15th January 2020 Is This a Failure? Or, Where To Go From Here?
Mick & Sarah At The Pictures, even in its unpublished state, is my biggest success and my biggest failure.
It is a success for two reasons – the first is that this novel was awarded a grant from the UK Arts Council in 2018. The only time I have ever received a vast amount of money for my work (or really any money for that matter). I never thought that would happen, but it did, and it gave me the…23rd October 2019 Five Facts about 'Mick & Sarah At The Pictures'
Mick & Sarah At The Pictures will be my first published novel written in 3rd person. My previous two novels, The Electric and Dead Leaves, were both in 1st, but I needed this one to have a wider reach in viewpoints, going back and forth, chapter by chapter, between my eponymous lovers, and found that 3rd was the best way to approach this.
It is set at a fleapit cinema called…1st October 2019 Writing 'Mick & Sarah At The Pictures' Part 3 - The Aftermath
When I’m not writing I always tend to feel a little lost.
There is something missing from myself, a part that I know should be there, but isn’t. Mick & Sarah At The Pictures was (mostly) written in an intense four period in the summer of 2019, from May to August. I've never written so fast or with such focused before and I found it really locked me into the story. I was there every day, in the…13th September 2019 How Did I Get Here?
I never thought I would get here. I never thought I would write anything, let alone be published, yet here I am, forty-four years old, two novels behind me, a few short stories, articles, interviews, screenplays, and now, Mick & Sarah At The Pictures. My third novel, and what I’ve come to think of as the final part of a kind of trilogy.
The Electric is the end of childhood, Dead Leaves is the…7th September 2019 Writing 'Mick & Sarah At The Pictures' Part 2
The other day, fellow Unbound author – and member of the Leamington Writers Group I’m also part of – Patrick Kincaid (The Continuity Girl), wrote a post about how writing is incompatible to doing pretty much anything else, and how impossible it is to explain the sheer compulsion to write to anyone who, well, doesn’t. He said, ‘It demands time and head space, but it’s impossible to justify making it…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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