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Growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, film was like Valium to me. But Steve McQueen's Hunger is anti-Valium cinema

By Mark Cousins   December 2008

I grew up in Northern Ireland and was 16 when hunger striker Bobby Sands first refused food. His action electrified Belfast’s Catholic enclaves like the Falls Road, where my mum grew up and my granny and uncle lived. I remember the frozen spine of the streets on those days. The warmth of my granny’s welcome, her homemade soup, Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks on the telly are sutured in my memory to the sound of women banging bin lids on the streets in protest. This was our ululation, our way of piercing the air.

Bin lids, whispers that the “Shankill…

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