The Day the Music Died by Tony Garnett
The Day the Music Died
When he was five Tony Garnett lost both his parents. At Christmas 1941, as German bombs fell on Birmingham, the bewildered boy witnessed his mother’s agony as she died from septicaemia after a backstreet abortion; his father killed himself days later. Garnett tells us in his autobiography that he shut down emotionally and “entered Siberia”, replacing his real self with an act. It was only in middle age, after finding a sympathetic psychoanalyst, that he allowed himself to remember and grieve. Garnett’s relentless energy and old-fashioned, working-class, left-wing convictions led him to produce a body of influential TV and film work, including slice-of life 1960s dramas such as Cathy Come Home and Up the Junction. He worked closely with Ken Loach and encouraged a multitude of young talents. Garnett never forgot his roots in Brum; his anecdotes about his decent, loving, Uncle Harold and Aunty Pom, who raised him as their own son, pepper the book. It’s a sad, funny, inspiring story.