Blind injustice



Selected release from 30 September

WITH THE GREATEST RESPECT TO Peter Mullan, it's difficult to imagine him struggling to convey frustration and rage. Consistently in films like Young Adam, The Claim and My Name Is Joe, the Glasgow actor has successfully demonstrated empathy for the pride and erotic aggression of damaged, vulnerable men. Yet for his part in Blinded, in which he plays a blind farmer who sexually brutalises his young wife and tries to kill her lover, Mullan required the advice of 27-year-old model, journalist and broadcaster, Jill Daley.

Daley, who lives in Glasgow, became the production's blind adviser after director Eleanor Yule saw an article about her in the film magazine Rough Cuts. Unlike Mullan's character, Francis, who was blinded in a car crash at middle age, Daley was 18 when her sight was lost to diabetes and she clearly recalls the feeling of injustice.

"I was hugely bitter at first, because you're constantly thinking, 'why me and not somebody else?'" she says. I thought I was going to have an ideal life. I'd grow up, get married, have children and a career. I never expected my life to be turned upside down but that's what happened. I'd be chucking stuff around the kitchen, searching for things and getting exasperated, kicking the cupboard door and nearly breaking my toe. But I slowly realised that this wasn't like a bad marriage; I couldn't just open the door, run away and start again. I was stuck with this. That's when it dawned on me - why not me?"

Yule knew Daley could help Mullan but was worried that the process of remembering might prove too traumatic. "She's very different to someone who's been blind from birth," the director explains. "I knew that if I could make someone like her available to Peter he'd use her really, really well. But I didn't want to upset Jill. I know she got very angry when she first went blind because one of her boyfriends stole from her. She had a lot of anger and I think she used her sexuality to get back at men. And I think that's what's happening to Francis - he uses his sexuality to punish Rachel for not loving him. When Peter understood that, he could understand the role."

"A guy like that can suck the oxygen out of a room," says Mullan. "I've worked with guys like that and I was brought up by a guy like that. All they ever get to know or understand is hurting people because they're hurt.

"Jill was so generous in the sense that I was asking some very personal questions about her libido and sex life, but she was so open about it, it was unbelievable. She's come through as a person but she was happy to go back into the darkness and describe it for me, blow by blow."

Far from being traumatic, Daley found her exchanges with Mullan beneficial. "It was cathartic. I'd really put that part of my life in a box, shut it up inside and just got on with it," she says. "I don't want to be dramatic enough to say it reopened old wounds, but I hadn't talked about it for a long, long time. He was really trying to find out what it was like, how I would move, my attitude to other people. He wanted to know everything that I didn't plan on telling him. I thought it might be painful but both Peter and Eleanor were very sympathetic to what I'd been through, they weren't patronising at all."

Yule and Blinded producer Oscar van Heek now intend to make a film about Daley's life, a development their subject laughingly describes as "my rollercoaster adventures - I think Oscar's going to whip up a treatment, but we'll just have to see what happens."

Daley explains that shortly after losing her sight she threw herself "into loads of different projects to keep myself really busy", but at the moment is content to have settled down with her boyfriend, Gavin. "I can honestly say that I've never, ever been happier than I am now."


Goal! (12A)

General release from 29 September

IF THE trailers are anything to go by, this could be the first ever footie film to feature half-believable action sequences. Kuno Becker stars as Santiago Munez, a Mexican immigrant living in LA who ends up with Newcastle United. Anna Friel lends home support.


Balamory Live: Strike Up The Band

Playhouse, Edinburgh, 23-25 September; SECC, Glasgow, 14-16 October

NEW stage production featuring the much-loved characters from the award-winning BBC TV series.

Tel: 0870 013 4060


Fest 'n' Furious

Various Venues, Dundee, 30 September until 3 October

DUNDEE'S traditional music festival offers a range of events this year, from the traditional - a Fiddler's Rally featuring guest artists Aileen Craig, Maggie Finlay, Alison MacDonald and Ian Lees - to the cutting edge crossover sounds of Croft No.5.

Tel: 01382 434940 or visit


RSNO: Beethoven's Ninth

Caird Hall, Dundee, 28 September; Music Hall, Aberdeen, 29 September; Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 30 September; Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 1 October

THE RSNO's new music director, Stephane Denve, has a chance to show Scottish audiences what he's made of this week as he conducts the orchestra for the first time since taking up the post.

Tel: 01382 434 940; 01224 641122; 0131-228 1155; 0141-353 8000



Carling Academy, Glasgow, 29-30 September; Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 1 October

SHARLEEN Spiteri and friends embark on their first tour in four years, following the release of new album Red Book.

Tel: 0870 771 2000; 0131-228 1155


BBC SSO: Africa Lives!

Tramway, Glasgow, today

THE BBC SSO explore the links between the traditional music of Mali, classical music and jazz, with works by Kevin Volans, Gyrgy Ligeti and Conlan Nancarrow. Ilan Volkov conducts; Roswell Rudd guests on trombone.

Tel: 0845 330 3501