Me having sat at Hanif Kureishi’s knee, as it were, just a few weeks ago, tonight we watched My Beautiful Launderette (1985, directed by Stephen Frears). Kureishi spoke about his screenplay for this film in the context of a discussion about whether writers should consciously write with popularity in mind. He distinguished between hoping and aiming. Clearly, most writers hope for recognition of their art. But to aim for success is to compromise artistic integrity. You should, Kureishi insisted, write what you want to write. Success will come if it wants to. After all, he continued, who would have thought that a screenplay about a homosexual relationship between a skinhead and a young Pakistani entrepreneur trying to make a going concern out of a launderette in Thatcher’s Britain would become a major cult success? By implication, if he had been aiming for success, he would not have written such a screenplay, but it was what he had wanted to write about. The film, inevitably, is a bit dated now, but it remains an entertaining portrait and a touching analysis of what it meant to be an outsider during the transitional 1980s. Kureishi performs a neat balancing act with his script, which is neither judgemental nor plot-based. Even so, the film gets a bit leggy at times and I think Frears could have tightened it up a bit.