Newcastle and North East · Notes

Jack Common: Forgotten Geordie Writer – Introduction


Before I decided to write my undergraduate dissertation on the history of British film criticism, I originally toyed with the idea of forming an argument on representations of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in film and television with possibly a chapter devoted to reality shows, focusing predominately on – you guessed it – Geordie Shore. To do preliminary research for such a task, I bought Geordies (ed. Robert Colls and Bill Lancaster), a book of essays on a wide range of subjects, from sporting heroes to black Geordies, dialect and Newcastle as the capital of the North East. After reading these essays – which are interesting in themselves and are recommended to those who have a passion for the history of Newcastle and Geordie culture – after University had finished, I decided to continue my education in all matters Newcastle. So I turned to the further reading section to see what the editors recommended to the interested reader. In their section on Geordie literature, Colls and Lancaster state that the ‘writings of Jack Common and Sid Chaplin continue to cast a benign shadow over the local literary scene’ with Common’s Kiddar’s Luck occupying the place as the ‘seminal text of Geordie culture’. Despite my interest in literature and being from Newcastle, I had never heard of Jack Common – Sid Chaplin on the other hand was a name which rang a bell – and neither had any Geordie I came into contact with. So if this was meant to be the ‘seminal text of Geordie culture’ as argued by Colls and Lancaster, I had to read it. What follows is a short biography of Common with a review and discussion of the representation of Newcastle in Kiddar’s Luck thrown in. For the enthusiastic reader of Common, Keith Armstrong’s thesis ‘From the “freedom of the streets”: a biographical study of culture and social change in the life and work of writer Jack Common (1903-1968)’ (available online) is recommended and is a resource which has greatly informed the article which follows.


One thought on “Jack Common: Forgotten Geordie Writer – Introduction

  1. Thank you Tom for introducing me to Jack Common. The book of essays, Geordies, sounds interesting – especially to long – gone Geordies, like me. Your articles will help me to keep up to date with the current Newcastle culture. Cheers Christine

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