the state of things


10 Things I Think About The Barney Thomson Movie

by Douglas Lindsay - 07:05 on 19 June 2015

We come to it at last, the great barbershop movie of our times. I wrote the book twenty years ago. At the time, not yet in possession of a PC, the book was written out by hand, on parchment, in the blood of my enemies.

Now it’s a movie. Here are some entirely random thoughts.

10. What’s it like watching your character turned into film, when you’ve had no creative input whatsoever? Bit of a mind fuck. But very enjoyable.

9. The timelessness of the movie is perfect. The book was based on barbershops I’d been to all my life, from the late 60s onwards. I don’t know how many shops there are like that anymore, but the all-male barbershop seems much rarer. Forty years ago, if you got your hair cut in Glasgow by a woman, it was your mum. Nowadays, not so much.

8. The film was closer to the book than I expected. The major differences come with Cemolina, but then, in the book she has about three scenes and most of the time she’s watching TV. You can’t get Emma Thompson in, then say, ‘there you go, luv, watch tele and we’ll film it.’

7. Robert Carlyle is bang on as Barney. Everyone will recognise the type, or at least part of him. The character is every bad barber, every bad haircut and every uncomfortable barbershop scene that you’ve witnessed, stitched together. He’s a Frankenbarber.

6. The denouement in the woods is beautifully staged. Was worried when I found out they hadn’t shot it by the loch in the pouring rain, but thought they nailed it.

5. I have this brilliant idea. No really. Should they film any more books in the series, they should use the actors from this film as a kind of repertory cast, bringing them back in different roles.

4. Interesting that the reviews in the English papers were generally very positive, while the Herald and the Scotsman both slagged it off. The fools.

3. Looking forward to the Director’s Cut edition DVD. The film’s the same, but Barney’s hair is shorter.

2. The movie wouldn’t have happened without the input of a lot of people, but it all started with Rich Cowan, who read the book, bought the option, and wrote the first draft of the screenplay. We definitely wouldn’t have been there on Wednesday night without him. Rich, thank you.

1. Loved the movie. Loved the style. Loved getting to meet the brilliant cast. That’s all.

Comment from tanhauser64 at 09:05 on 19 June 2015.
Looking forward to this one My own barber in Uddingston from a similar period was always referred to as "Mad Micks ". Sadly he never brought to justice.. Roll ongeneral releas date.
Comment from Emilie C. at 09:09 on 19 June 2015.
I generally avoid reading reviews. They're just one persons' opinion & so subjective. A bit like a man on the train who you can hear over everything else. They just like the sound of their own voice.
I'd love to see the second book bought to life on film, here's hoping!
I thought it was fantastic, so was the whole evening, but there again, I'm subjective too :D
Comment from David Newman at 14:31 on 19 June 2015.
Hi Douglas. As creators of Plexus, the web company that hosts this site based in Cromarty, it's a great pleasure to finally see Barney brought to the screen. I bought and read the book when you first came to us all those years ago and I remember thinking at the time that this is screaming out to be filmed. Anyhow, I was at the EIFF opening on Wednesday night and it was wonderful to finally see it on the big screen. I also have to add that I think Emma Thompson's perfortmance/character was outstanding. One of her best ever! So... huge congratulations all around.
Comment from Nigel at 17:40 on 19 June 2015.
I was there on Wednesday and had a thoroughly good time. By the sounds of the very regular and loud laughter all around me, so did everyone else. I was pleased that the story represented the book pretty well. I thought some of the visuals and set design were rather special and the cast really went for it. You should be very proud. It's a hit, sir, I'm certain of it.
Comment from Billie at 23:44 on 19 June 2015.
I have to say, number five IS a brilliant idea! It would keep with the humor and make the series fantastic!!!
Comment from Douglas at 10:57 on 20 June 2015.
Thanks everyone for the comments. Glad you enjoyed it. Dave, nice that you came along. Have a new book out, next year, that's set around Dingwall, so keeping up the connection.
Comment from Christoph Schmutz at 09:53 on 23 June 2015.
Hope, the Movie will also come to Switzerland. Read most of your Books. - Great reading!


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