These press clippings are part of a larger collection of published journalism by Hanif Kureishi.
In ‘Dirty Washing’, published by Time Out in the 14–20 November 1985 issue, Kureishi provides an account of his recently released television film, My Beautiful Laundrette. The film follows the fortunes of a young gay British-Pakistani boy living in Britain during the Thatcher years. Here, Kureishi raises issues around British writing that focusses on, and that is written from within, oppressed minority groups. He questions the ‘difficult moral position of the writer’: ‘I began to think about how the Asian community might view the film and what I could legitimately say about Asians’. He argues that contemporary writing must represent, with honesty, the complexities of social and ethnic diversity in Britain:
If there is to be a serious attempt to understand present day Britain, with its mix of races and colours, its hysteria and despair, then writing about it has to be complex. It can’t apologise or idealise. It can’t sentimentalise and it can’t attempt to represent any one group as having a monopoly on virtue.
If contemporary writing which emerges from oppressed groups ignores the central concerns and major conflicts of the larger society, it will automatically designate itself as minor, as a sub-genre. And it must not allow itself to be rendered invisible and marginalised in this way. In similar fashion, the problem of race in England is in danger of being marginalised, when it must be seen as central.
Hanif Kureishi’s interview with David Bowie was published in Interview magazine in 1993. Bowie was an inspirational and heroic figure for Kureishi who, like his hero, had grown up in the Bromley suburbs and even attended the same school. Bowie stood for the possibility of transformation, showing that identities – whether those relating to class, race, sexuality or gender – do not have to be fixed.
Bowie’s influence is felt in Kureishi’s semi-autobiographical 1990 novel, The Buddha of Suburbia. In 1993 Bowie wrote the music to the television dramatisation of the novel, broadcast on BBC2.
The article includes photographs of Bowie by Michel Haddi.
‘England, bloody England’
‘England, bloody England’, published by the Friday Review on 15 January 1988, is a heated critique of the contemporary Conservative government. Thatcherism, Kureishi argues, is increasingly suppressing creative and cultural freedoms within Britain. Kureishi was moved to write the article after Norman Stone, the right-wing historian, speechwriter and foreign policy advisor to Thatcher in the 1980s, attacked his screenplays My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid in a piece titled ‘Sick Scenes from English Life’, published in the Sunday Times. For writers, Kureishi reasons, ‘part of their job is to say what is not normally said; to show what is forbidden; to reflect seriously on our actual lives, both private and public’.