Socialist Worker

Half Nelson | Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare

Issue No. 2048

Half Nelson

Half Nelson

Half Nelson
Directed by Ryan Fleck
Film out now

Heard the one about the sexy, 20-something, crackhead, inner city, history teacher whose star student is his dealer’s runner and whose parents are alcoholic anti-Vietnam war lefties?

No? Well here it is.

Ryan Gosling was short-listed for the recent best actor Oscar award for his performance in the lead role as Dan Dunne.

You might get a shock at finding dialectical materialism being explained so carefully on a cinema screen. But it’s something of a comedown to see that Dunne can’t keep it going because of his habits.

While I would never say that good teachers I know are permanently drug-free, the grimy realism here is just too far-fetched to be true, particularly the risky relationships.

I’m inclined to believe that the film’s mission is to assert that charismatic teaching and revolutionary theory are as illusory as any narcotic nirvana.

But maybe I’m being too old and cynical. Check it out for yourself.

Nick Grant

Favourite Worst Nightmare
Arctic Monkeys
CD out now

This, the second album from Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys, is another burst of pulsating drums and guitars.

It is full of the same worldly-wise observation of northern, working class English life as their first album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.

The lyrics on songs such as “Only Ones Who Know” and “Fluorescent Adolescent” show why the Arctic Monkeys are so rightly acclaimed and so popular.

Many of the songs are packed with humour and with references to pop culture.

But the lyrics are also wonderfully touching on the lives and broken dreams of the people who populate the album.

And all this is sung in a broad Sheffield accent that is proud of its roots.

Simone Murray

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Article information

Tue 24 Apr 2007, 19:09 BST
Issue No. 2048
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