The Angel’s Share


Something lovely happened on the radio today.  Every Friday, unless I can possibly help it, I listen to Dr. Mark Kermode’s film reviews on BBC Radio 5 Live.  If you haven’t discovered this show, and you despise wasting hard earned money on crap movies, you must tune in (also available on I-Player and podcast and no, I’m not getting any kickbacks).  Mark – and I do call him Mark – has never recommended a film I haven’t enjoyed and those that he cuts to shreds – and I mean Higgs-Boson-sized shreds – I have the good sense to avoid.

Although I hear a lot of film reviews, I don’t go to a lot of movies.  Being the parent of a young son has something to do with this… But when I heard Mark’s review of The Angel’s Share, a new Ken Loach film about a troubled young Glaswegian father who discovers he has a nose for whisky, I simply made time for it.   I went with my friend Angus, and neither one of us were disappointed – a laugh-out-loud, yet poignant and, at times, hard-hitting take on intergenerational violence in Glasgow, with whisky as a main character, The Angel’s Share is a film that resonates on many levels.  Any film that makes you think while you’re laughing popcorn through your nose is doing something right.

Anyway, today was a Friday and I dutifully tuned in to Kermode’s film reviews.  Unfortunately, the good doctor was sidelined for the first 45 minutes by breaking news of a football variety – not only had John Terry been acquitted for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, Rangers had been demoted to the 3rd league of Scottish football.  On 5Live, this is a big news day.  So, Mark sat idly by, waiting for reporters to describe Terry’s reaction (there was none) and ruminating on the future of Scottish football (there is none – well, we’ll see…).

Then, out of the blue, came the familiar voice of Pat Nevin, former Chelsea winger and Scottish stalwart.  Nevin, widely regarded as the renaissance man of 5Live, gave his two cent’s worth and then did something lovely – he made a reference to The Angel’s Share, in a charming overture to the good doctor, whose programme had been hijacked – and a fine Scottish feature film.  Mark was mightily impressed and I hope the two share a beer or two someday discussing the joys of Scottish cinema, of which there are many.  I always thought Pat Nevin sounded like a decent guy and, today, I was pretty much proven right.