James Newton

May 31, 2019, 09:29 AM
My guest this week is James Newton who is a filmmaker and lectures in Film Studies at the University of Kent. We talk about making the transition from being a student to becoming a member of staff and around the pitfalls of meeting students in pubs and the changing culture around drinking beers and coffees, and James explains why pubs are today a gentrified space and an indulgence.

Originally from Wolverhampton, James discusses what he knows about his parents’ occupations and we talk about the disjuncture between family members’ public and private profiles as well as about the baggage that comes with our professions and why we feel the need sometimes to be defensive.

James doesn’t have many memories of things he liked doing as a child. He was quite sporty and does many of the same things now that he did then. We discuss the Guinness Book of Hit Singles, the influence of punk and agitation and how particular forms of music define us. James discusses the bands he enjoyed when growing up and we learn that he first went to a gig in 1992 and saw a number of bands at their peak when they played at Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

Tarantino had a massive impact on James and we find out why his films spoke to him and the zeitgeist of the period, and we find out which is his favourite film and why.

The conversation then turns to James’ long route into academia, which has included making a film set in a radio studio and doing a degree in Film, Radio and Television with Religious Studies. We talk about teaching techniques, why his teaching was once spectacular and why he hopes he hasn’t become jaded.

James explains that he was interested in religion when undertaking his undergraduate degree and we find out that spirituality is something he thinks about a lot these days.

In the final part of the interview James talks about the need to learn from past experiences, why it is detrimental to look too far into the past or the future, why he doesn’t think he has fulfilled the dreams he’s had since he was young and why nostalgia is not simply about the past but the present and the importance of seizing control of the narrative.

Please note: Opinions expressed are solely those of Chris Deacy and James Newton and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Kent.