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NELL DUNN
Up The Junction


click to enlarge

Pan, London, 1968
(price: 3/6; 128 pages)

(first published by MacGibbon & Kee in 1963)


The blurb on the back:

'Innocence in Battersea lasts as long as the flower remains unsooted by the power-station' - Sunday Telegraph
'Gets over the joyous message that life may be hell but it's not to be missed' -
Sunday Citizen
'With
Up The Junction Nell Dunn joined the freedom fighters of the sex war, the women writers who express themselves with a candour which would make a colour sergeant cry' - Daily Mail
Winner of the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize.
Over 450,000 copies sold in Pan alone.


drawing by Susan BensonOne of the key texts of Britain in the early-1960s as society pretended to be classless and swinging, Up The Junction became genuinely huge when it was filmed in 1965 by Ken Loach for the Wednesday Play slot on the BBC. The inclusion of an abortion was one of those shocking moments in British TV that simultaneously broke down barriers and inspired Mary Whitehouse to try to sort the country out.

This edition, however, is based on the subsequent movie version, which is much less celebrated: apart from anything else it was in colour and wasn't directed by Ken Loach, so it's not as gritty. Now personally, I see that as a recommendation - God preserve us from kitchen-sink 'realism' - and the film can also boast a cast that includes Dennis Waterman, Hylda Baker and Liz Fraser (I'm not going to mention the living evil that is Maureen Lipman). Even so it wasn't much good, but at least it doesn't have the pretensions of the TV version.

The book too is unpretentious, and mildly entertaining. Doesn't really work much beyond the confines of being a bit of social history, but it's okay.

Oh yes, and it comes with line drawings by Susan Benson.

Nell Dunn
Nell Dunn


ARTISTIC MERIT: 2/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
2/5


click to enlarge
the soundtrack album
bonus Nell Dunn covers
Incurable
Incurable
Living Like I Do
Living Like I Do

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