The great Barry Hines, the Bard of Barnsley, has died at the age of 76 following a long battle with Alzheimer's.
Hines was an inspiration to me, ever since I saw Kes at high school in the early '90s. He successfully conveyed what life was actually like in a northern town, how we spoke and how we thought, in a way I'd never seen before. Over the years I began to learn more about him and appreciate his other work, thanks to his long-term collaboration with Ken Loach throughout the 1970s and early '80s with films like The Price of Coal, Looks and Smiles and The Gamekeeper. In 1984, Hines dramatised the then very real threat of a nuclear strike on the UK with his chilling drama Threads, which remains a haunting and vitally resonant piece to this very day. It is the film that made me join the CND.
Hines started out as a teacher and published his first novel The Builder in 1966. He followed it up with A Kestrel For A Knave in 1968 which became Ken Loach's film Kes the following year and the book is still taught in schools to this day.