Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Oil City Confidential (2009)

I love Julien Temple's music biopics; witty, inventive, a clear love, affinity and dedication to the subject matter and a veritable confetti of clips and snippets of sound to enhance the story, you could certainly never call them dry!

Oil City Confidential tells the story of R+B pub rockers Dr Feelgood (the late Lee Brilleaux, Wilko Johnson, John B Sparks and The Big Figure) their rise to success in the pre-punk 1970s and their playful, irreverent Americanisation and mythologising of their hometown, the rundown Canvey Island, as The Thames Delta or the Oil City of the film's title. Temple equally mythologises using great clips from British and American crime and gangster films to draw parallels with the band's rough and ready wham bam appeal.

Our guide for the film is largely Wilko, still as much a skittish, eye popping imposing figure - albeit one who is in turn surprisingly charismatic, articulate, romantic and poetic - as he was on stage as he is leading you through his life and the locale of his beloved Canvey.

Watching it now is quite saddening however, Wilko's diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer late last year and his decision not to receive any treatment means we're set to lose a true giant of British music, one of it's finest, powerful and striking characters. He's currently surpassed the six months the doctors diagnosed him as having left to live and firmly believes the diagnosis has made him feel 'vividly alive', taking each day as a blessing. The writer Mary Jean Iron once wrote a paean for the notion of a normal day; 'Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so' I hope Wilko has many more normal, and as such utterly joyous, days to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment