Blake Morrison on the literature of the east coast. - "Writers from Crabbe to Sebald have been drawn to the fragile beauty of the east coast of Britain – and have immortalised it in words"
Oil City Confidential is a new film from director Julien Temple, previously responsible for The Filth and the Fury, about the Sex Pistols, and Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten, focusing on Strummer and The Clash. This time round, in a kind of prequel to both those films, he tackles the life and turbulent times of Dr. Feelgood. Finding fame on the same Pub rock circuit (as remembered by writer and Kursaal Flyers drummer Will Birch) that also supported Ian Dury's Kilburn and the High Roads (not to mention Eddie and the Hot Rods and Joe Strummer's pre-Clash band The 101ers), Dr. Feelgood played stripped-down, taut and aggressive R&B. Hailing from the wildlands of Essex's Canvey Island – the "Oil City" of the film's title – Dr Feelgood were punk before punk really hit, a whirlwind of raucous energy, with a fierce work ethic. In Wilko Johnson, they had a guitarist with a scorching, slash and burn technique, while their singer, Lee Brilleaux (1989 interview), who died of cancer in 1994, aged just 41, oozed cheap-suited menace, and, into the bargain, helped found Stiff Records. [more inside]