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Manors Maketh The Man
He's already made the transition from underground hip hopper to blue-eyed soul boy du jour. Now Plan B has written and directe Ill Manors, a damning indictment of cameron's broken Britain, and is also about to star alongside Ray Winstone in a reboot of classic 70's cop caper The Sweeney ("Get dressed, you're nicked!") A wellied-up Stuart Clark meets him and his crew in a north Yorkshire forest.
Stuart Clark, 23 Aug 2012
“It’s the lyricism I love,” Ben continues warming to the theme. “He uses normal, everyday words in such an articulate way. It’s not necessarily correct English, but it’s the way that people talk, the slang of the times.”
Has he checked out such gems as ‘Psycle Sluts’, ‘(I Married) A Monster From Outer Space’ and – best of all! – ‘Kung Fu International’ yet?
“I haven’t, he’s still a new artist for me. There’s loads of stuff people have told me I have to hear, which is great because you tend to know everything about modern artists. There are no surprises.”
SPOILER ALERT!!! Not wanting to miss out entirely on the acting action, the singer makes a Hitchcockian cameo at the end of Ill Manors as a taxi-driver.
“Originally I was going to be in the background of every story, but I thought, ‘That’s just going to annoy the fuck out of the audience!’ So I settled for being a cabbie!”
Whilst never gratuitous, the violence in Ill Manors is graphic to the point where a normally unflinching colleague of mine had to duck out of the press screening for a few minutes. As one enforced trip to casualty followed another, I was reminded of the controversy Tricky caused a few years ago when he told yours truly, “I’m not saying knife crime’s right or anything stupid like that, but if I was a kid in England I’d definitely carry a weapon ‘cos it’s so fucking hardcore out there. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a gang or not, if you’re living on an estate you’re a target. I’d be listening to the news and thinking, ‘I don’t wanna get stabbed, so the best thing is for me to carry a knife’. Half the kids are into violence and are fuelling the fire, and the other half are just defending themselves.”
Plan B’s thoughts on the matter?
“My own uncle – he’s a fucking grown man with a family – recently got into some shit where he’s living in Sheffield. He got the fuck smashed out of him by a group of lads from the estate he’s living on for no reason. Just knocked him off his bike. He’s telling me he’s carrying a knife now and I’m like, ‘What the fuck are you doing? You pull a knife out and stab somebody you’re going to prison’. He says, ‘I pick my kids up at night from their after-school activities. I can’t have anything happening to them, so I’m carrying a knife. I’d fucking kill the cunts and do the prison time’. That’s how hard some of these environments are.”