entertaining and charming man, Barry Hines, of Kes fame,
agreed to be interviewed at his desk. This Barnsley/ Sheffield United
fan wrote a number of novels and screenplays before and after Kes
and he is in the process of writing Springwood Stars,
a novel about a football team in the 20s. He describes it as more
dramatic and completely different to anything he has ever written
Hines wanted to write about real working-class people
He started to write, he says, because he read and wanted to read
novels that, like Allan Sillitoe and Stan Barstows work, had
real working class men and women as their main characters.
first novel was called The Blinder. It was based to
a certain extent on himself and his aspirations; an extremely academic
footballer with 4 A levels and the chance of playing
for Manchester United. He says he wrote with more energy then and
that those novels are so far away that he no longer feels they are
anything to do with him.
shies away from the whole Kes thing and finds it mildly
amusing that people are still performing the play, a combination
of modesty and real disbelief.
says, Theyve done it in all sorts of ways, theyve
even done a musical, all thats left is to do it on ice.
Hines's opinion, the best thing he has written is a short play called
Two Men from Derby which he claims wrote itself.
It was based on the experience of his granddad, who had a great
talent for football but never realised his potential as he was a
bit of a Jack the Lad.
Hines talks about how he came to choose a bird in the novel; he
and his brother used to watch them nesting every year in a wall
close to his home and they always wanted one. They dont
like to make eye contact, he says of hawks, they sulk,
it makes them feel uncomfortable.
he claims the character of Billy is not him, he hints at a relatively
wide knowledge of kestrels and their habits as is evident from the
kept baby magpies as a child and humorously related his experiences
of stealing them from their nests (something he regrets now), fattening
them up on scraps of food and having them flying around the house
until they were strong enough to be set free, which would roughly
coincide with the time his mother said that bird has to go.
bird would always sit on the windowsill outside and look in, he
reminisces, before it finally flew away.
Hines based his characters in Kes on stereotypical characters
around him at the time and admits that he sympathises more with
the character of Mrs Casper, the struggling mother trying to raise
two boys and hold down a full-time job, now that he is an older
These days Barry Hines reads mainly American novels because of their
energy. He comments on the vigour of the language in
these novels. Roddy Doyle, Philip Roth and Walter Mosely are among
his favourite writers.
also visits The Showroom regularly, continuing a lifetime of cinema
going and says his writing technique is based on watching films.
He calls it a show and tell style which gives the reader
the opportunity to form his or her own thoughts and opinions.
said his bit of an office job, as an apprentice-mining
surveyor, became a teaching job when Mr Hawksworth, a neighbour,
showed disapproval for him working for the Rockingham Colliery near
where he used to live.
if he thinks there will be a remake of the film Kes,
Barry Hines shakes his head. Despite the main issues still being
relevant today, he feels the original film is such a classic that
it would be impossible to even attempt to re-create it.