Billy Liar (1963) The Crown, Tong Road
Starring: Tom Courtenay, Julie Christie
At first I didn’t recognise any of the places,
then I saw Leeds Town Hall,
followed by Forster Square in Bradford,
and Wellington Road in Wortley
not far from where I watched the film.
These shots were, I realised, a patchwork
of The North.
Tom Courtenay spoke as if he came from ‘Ull,
which he does, and Julie Christie said bath
with a short ‘a’ like she meant it,
and she glowed through the film
with the new blonde beauty
of a Dusty Springfield or Marianne Faithful.
I was sixteen, and as I watched
it fuelled my need to escape,
not wanting Billy’s broken dreams
So I went away;
but returned not so long after,
fitted that short ‘a’
back in my mouth
like it belonged there,
and carried on.