As has been highlighted in this collection, Shane Meadows' persona as a white, working-class man from a deprived community in post-industrial Britain is inexorably connected to his status as a contemporary British auteur. Recurrent links between his proletarian Midlands background and the thematic and aesthetic concerns of his films made by both critics and the filmmaker himself reinforce the narrative construction of Meadows as a filmmaker with a particularly authentic worldview (Romney 2004). Meadows' cinematic vision is informed by and indebted to his own position at the ‘social and geographical margins’ (Fradley 2010: 290); the worlds he presents are the down-trodden and deprived communities which had been ravaged by the inexorable march of post-industrialisation. Indeed, it seems that it is precisely Meadows' own marginality – his distance from the London-centric media world – that distinguished him from many of his contemporaries and helped to garner critical acclaim for his films.
Meadows began making films in 1994; this was a moment in time where the confluence of ‘Cool Britannia’ commingled with discourses of ‘new’ lad culture, neoliberal meritocracy and ‘girl power’ to produce a particularly contested cultural terrain of gender and class politics. Imelda Whelehan notes that the aspirational discourses of ‘new laddism’ were often far removed from the ‘lad on the street … disenfranchised by his own lad heroes whose massively inflated salaries serve to underline the growing chasm between the rich and poor’ (Whelehan 2000: 74).
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