Lycra Dad is a film about middle age, competition and status.
Director Gray Hughes’ wry, observational short is adapted from a poem by renowned poet Murray Lachlan Young.
An innocent school sports day turns into an epic masculine showdown, as a motley bunch of Dads face off at the annual race. The win-at-any-cost mentality has infected one Dad in a bad way. He’s trained for months. Dressed head-to-toe in professional running gear. He needs this win – badly. In his mind, it’s his for the taking.
The poem was inspired by Murray’s frequent cycle trips around Dalston in North London, as he noticed himself flanked by more and more regular middle-aged men taking to the streets as if they were racing the Tour De France.
He discussed his observation with Shaun Keaveny on the BBC 6 Music breakfast show and the seed of the poem was sown. Susie Babchick, Gray’s agent at RSA Films and avid Shaun Keaveny fan, heard the poem and brought filmmaker and poet together.
Gray Hughes: ‘This film gave me an opportunity to play with modern stereotypes and push the boundaries of decency – just like these Dads do.
If it’s acceptable for a middle-aged man to wear a skin suit, then it’s definitely OK for us to point and laugh. The psychology, language and clothing of elite sport have bled into everyday activity in a ridiculous way – it’s turned everything into a performance.
You’re told to strive for king of the mountain, but you ain’t Chris Froome.
You’re an accountant executive for a firm in Croydon. But you still think you need an edge - anything to win. It’s all or nothing; forget what your kids think’.
‘Lycra Dad’ captures the folly of modern masculinity at its funniest.