Wednesday, 28 February 2018

RIP Peter Miles

The actor Peter Miles, famous for his three appearances on Doctor Who in the 1970s, has died at the age of 89. Miles' best known role of the three guest spots was that of Nyder, the cold and sadistic, loyal lieutenant to Davros in 1975's Genesis of the Daleks.

Miles was a regular on the Doctor Who convention circuit and a much loved guest. His other appearances on the show were as Dr Lawrence in the 1970s serial The Silurians and Professor Whitaker in 1974's Invasion of the Dinosaurs. Both were opposite Jon Pertwee as the Doctor, and the pair were reunited for the 1993 radio adventure The Paradise of Death. He also appeared in several audio productions for Big Finish as well as recording cast commentaries for the DVD releases of the serials he took part in. Away from Doctor Who, Miles appeared in films, including The Eagle Has Landed, in which he played Hitler, and many classic television shows such as Paul Temple, Colditz, Moonbase 3, Survivors, Blake's 7, Poldark, The Sandbaggers and Bergerac. Asides from acting, Miles was an accomplished jazz singer and musician and accompanied his childhood friend Dusty Springfield on guitar for the very first recording she made; Can't We Be Friends...


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

RIP Lewis Gilbert

Sad to hear that film director Lewis Gilbert has passed away at the grand old age of 97

Gilbert was the man responsible for some of my favourite films; Alfie, Educating Rita, The Spy Who Loved Me, Carve Her Name With Pride, Reach for The Sky, the list goes on in a career that stretched all the way back to his war days when he joined the RAF's film unit and the First Motion Picture Unit of the USAAF. In the 1950s, Gilbert cornered the market in making British war films such as the aforementioned Carve Her Name With Pride and Reach For The Sky, Sink The Bismarck! and Albert, RN, which ultimately put him on the radar of Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman who chose him to direct the Sean Connery Bond film You Only Live Twice. This proved so successful that Gilbert returned to the world of Bond a further two times with 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me and 1979's Moonraker. He returned to the war genre for Operation Daybreak about the assassination of Heydrich.

Away from action, Gilbert was responsible for the 1966 Michael Caine film Alfie (on the recommendation of his wife Hylda who had visited the hairdressers and met an actress in the stage play) and reunited with Caine again in 1983 for an adaptation of another play, Willy Russell's Educating Rita. This film led to another dual partnership with for Gilbert playwright and star as he went on to direct Russell's Shirley Valentine and to cast Rita star Julie Walters in two more productions; Stepping Out and his final film, 2002's Before You Go.

Gilbert died peacefully in his sleep at home in Monaco on 23rd February.


Monday, 26 February 2018

My Feral Heart (2016)

Luke is an independent you man with Downs Syndrome who cares for his ailing, elderly mother, Joan. When Joan suddenly dies, Luke finds himself placed in care, a daunting environment that is a world away from the self sufficiency he has previously enjoyed. Determined to claw back some of his freedom, Luke makes allies with the chirpy carer Eve, and Pete, a troubled local young man performing community service within the care home's grounds. Venturing outside one day, Luke stumbles across a desperate young girl in need and finds an outlet once again for his kindly caring nature and big heart.

A fiercely independent British feature armed with good intentions and wearing its (feral) heart on its sleeve, My Feral Heart is a touching and understated feature from director Jane Gull that captivated Mark Kermode last year. It boasts some fine performance from its central, mostly unknown leads; Steven Brandon as Luke, Shana Swash (Joe Swash's significantly more talented kid sister) as Eve, Will Rastall as Pete and Pixie le Knot as The Girl. It's the latter that contributes to the film's most enigmatic narrative: it's not quite clear just who this mute damsel in distress that Luke tends to actually is or indeed where she has come from. Does she even exist or is she part of Luke's imagination? There's a lyrical symbolism to her appearance - snagged in a fox trap - that fits neatly with the film's spoken themes of reincarnation and people coming back as animals. What you get out of My Feral Heart depends on how comfortable you are with such an enigma.

It's not completely perfect, at times the film does feel a little like an extended episode of the BBC daytime drama strand Moving On, and it never feels particularly cinematic despite Susanne Salavati's nature fixated B roll which is accompanied by a score from celebrated composer Barrington Pheloung. But you'd have to be a particularly emotionless individual to not be touched by this tender and beguiling small film with a big heart.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Out On Blue Six: The Real Thing/The Crystals: RIP Eddy Amoo, RIP Barbara Alston

Sad to hear of the death of vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Eddy Amoo of Liverpool's The Real Thing a couple of days ago. Loved The Real Thing as a kid...

RIP Eddy

Equally sad to hear that Barbara Alston of The Crystals also died earlier this month...

RIP Barbara

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Saturday, 24 February 2018

RIP Emma Chambers

I'm heartbroken to hear the news that Vicar of Dibley actress Emma Chambers has passed away aged just 53.

Doncaster born Chambers played the delightfully dim Alice Tinker in the classic sitcom from 1994 to 2007. She was the perfect foil to Dawn French and became a much loved household name, winning a British Comedy Award for her performance in 1998. Also that year she starred as Charlotte Coleman's sister in Simon Nye's How Do You Want Me?, a wonderful sitcom (and an absolute favourite of mine) that launched Dylan Moran's career. The following year she played a sister again, this time Hugh Grant's sibling on the big screen for Notting Hill from Dibley writer Richard Curtis.

Other roles included Charity Pecksniff in the BBC's 1994 adaptation of Martin Chuzzlewit and an against-type turn as Martha Thompson in Andrew Davies' 2000 adaptation of Kingsley Amis' Take a Girl Like You; a performance that cast aside her usual loveable ditzy demeanour. She also lent her voice to several animations but had seemingly retired from acting by the mid '00s, only returning to her role as Alice for numerous Dibley specials, often for Comic Relief. It will of course be the role of Alice Tinker that Chambers will be best remembered for, a performance that brought much laughter and love.

The actress died on Wednesday of natural causes and is survived by her husband, actor Ian Dunn.


Smack the Pony: I'm Really Interesting

For the past month or so I've been loving the fact that Gold's After Dark segment on Friday nights have been repeating a double bill of Smack the Pony, Channel 4's brilliant (mostly) all female sketch show from the turn of the millennium. It takes me right back to those Friday nights when it first aired and my crush on...well all three girls, but especially Sally Phillips! It still stands up really well and I do feel it's one of the most undervalued sketch shows of British TV. The song spoofs that concluded every episode were often criticised even back in the day, but when they worked - such as this skit on Shania Twain's hit That Don't Impress Me Much that Gold repeated tonight - they really did fly. 

Look out for Sally's bum flash/wiggle...

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Urban Hymn (2015)


How had I not heard of this one before? For one its subject matter is one that instantly appeals to me and ought to have put it on my radar, but secondly it has a cameo from Billy Bragg too. I must admit that last fact is what ultimately swayed me to make this purchase.

Set against the backdrop of the 2011 London riots, Michael Caton-Jones’s Urban Hymn tells the story of juvenile delinquent Jamie (Letitia Wright) who possesses a beautiful singing voice that may provide the key to a better, honest life - providing she can break free of the hold her best friend, the damaged and dangerous Leanne (Isabelle Laughland). Encouraging Jamie to use her gifts and take the right path is Kate (Shirley Henderson), her new key worker who has both taken the job and joined a local community choir to ease the grief from the death of her teenage son, murdered on his way home from football practice in a botched mugging.  

What could have been a rather naff and clumsy marriage of social realism and a cheesy, sentimental ode to the power of music, is neatly averted by Nick Moorcroft's screenplay which refuses to become predictable and sticks more or less rigidly to the uncompromising truth of how some young lives are dismissed before they even have a chance to begin. Violence, harsh language and a dose of reality steer this away from the saccharine storytelling that Hollywood would employ. As someone who has worked in this field, running a programme for young female offenders, so much of Urban Hymn rings true; from the tiny glimpses of potential to be mined within each 'tearaway' society dismisses to the overworked professionals charged with finding just that, as represented by Henderson and a suitably grouchy Ian Hart as her supervisor.  It is with a strong cast and an equal commitment that Urban Hymn soars higher than any uplifting a cappella rendition of a familiar pop classic in some mawkish and predictable Gareth Malone programme (though watch out for a heartbreaking and unpredictable sequence in the second half set to an unseen choir haunting take on UB40's Don't Break My Heart) Ultimately, Urban Hymn's tale is delivered with honesty and a quiet and impressive power. It's a real shame that these low budget indie features just don't get the publicity or release they deserve, even in the country that made it.

Bragg's cameo by the way highlights his inspiring work with the charity Jail Guitar Doors; He's no actor bless him, but his appearance is further testament to the film's commitment to the truth over easy schmaltz.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Out On Blue Six: Manic Street Preachers

Picture the scene: It's earlier today and I'm in a pub in Liverpool. I've put a few songs on the jukebox, the most recent of which are Kevin Carter and Design for Life.

A young guy suddenly calls out "Is that you putting this stuff on the jukebox? Who are they? The last two were really good" 

I told them him that they are the Manic Street Preachers and the tracks are Kevin Carter and A Design For Life

"The Mannie Steve Peaches?" he replied. "I've never heard of 'em, but they're great. Are they old?"

How am I now in a world where people don't know the Manics?!?

Still at least he loved them and he went off with my recommendations of songs that were around before he was even born!

So this Out On Blue Six is dedicated to you, youngster...

I rewatched the 1995 film Judge Dredd - the film that this Manics track was provisionally written and recorded for -  at the weekend. I remember watching it at Warrington UCI back on its release in 1995 and finding it to be complete and utter bin juice and an insult to 2000AD....the rewatch hasn't changed my opinion either.

End Transmission

Brakes (2016)

Mercedes Grower’s film has been attracting a lot of PR-friendly comparisons with Love Actually in that rather hoary vein of ‘It’s like Love Actually…on acid’ (in reality, Love Actually on just such substances would amount to little more than Hugh Grant staring at his open palms for two hours rather than Martine McCutcheon’s pleasingly plump rear end, whilst Alan Rickman would chunner on forever to a dead-eyed Emma Thompson about just why he felt the need to be unfaithful to her with Heike Makatsch because ‘we’re all like…connected, y’know?’) when in actual fact what Brakes actually is is something much more honest, more ragged and punky, as befits its micro-budget aesthetic.

See my full review at The Geek Show

Tonight's Tele Tip: Mum

Mum, Stefan Golaszewski's Mike Leigh-esque sitcom, returns for a second series tonight on BBC2 at 10pm.

Following the channel's repeat of series one in the last fortnight, my blog has spiked in views for my previous post about it, as people want to find out what the theme tune is!

I'm really looking forward to tonight's episode and very happy to hear that the BBC have commissioned a third series before this second one has even aired.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Do The Tories Think We Have Short Memories, Or Do They Just Think We're Stupid?

Theresa May took to the comfy sofa of Philip and Holly's This Morning today (and people say she's afraid of tough interviewers?) to express her concern at student tuition fees and to assure us that her government will do something about it. What they plan to do is look into it for a year. Hmm... 

But what really irks me about this whole thing is that Theresa May clearly thinks we either have very short memories or we are completely stupid. She's counting on us forgetting that one of her first acts as PM was to abolish the maintenance grants for the poorest of students. She's hoping we're stupid enough not to realise that in 2009 she voted in favour of the of tripling tuition fees to the £9,000 per annum figure she now expresses concern over, along with her vote to approve the rip off inflation measure of +3% on any subsequent debt incurred. 

Don't be fooled. This Tory 12 month review into tuition fees is nothing but a sop in the face of the forthcoming local elections and an attempt to try and wrestle a popular manifesto pledge from Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party.

Sacred Cow: Frances McDormand

Might be something of a sacred cow to attack this, but Frances McDormand irritated the hell out of me at Bafta last night.

Now ordinarily, up there on the big screen, I think McDormand is a great talent. But take a look at this video and cringe...

I sincerely hope that her performance in Three Billboards is better than the embarrassing ham she's displaying as she strides up to the podium to accept her award! You really don't need to 'perform' at BAFTA, this isn't the Oscars and here in the UK we can see through that crap at a thousand yards. 

She really irritated me all the way through the night actually; sitting there like everyone's most fearful 'wacky' maiden aunt at a wedding, taking all the praise as if 'of course it's due' and then coming out to say 'I don't do compliance' in relation to her not wearing black for the Time's Up movement. To me that just read as 'I can't be arsed because though I'm gonna say I stand in solidarity with you, I'm actually all about standing out and at the front'

Yeah. Sally should have won.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

It's P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-Pancake Day!

I hate 'em myself, but for those who do p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-partake, happy p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-pancake day, from Maid Marian and her Merry Men!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Out On Blue Six: Gwenno

Once a Pipette (I fucking loved The Pipettes), Gwenno has come along way from those gorgeous bubblegum days. The Welsh songstress has a forthcoming second album entitled Le Kov which is sung entirely in Cornish and this divinely dreamy track, Tir Ha Mor, is the first single from it

End Transmission

Saturday, 10 February 2018

RIP Reg E. Cathey

Reg E. Cathey, who played political agent Norman Wilson in The Wire, has died from lung cancer at the age of 59.

Born to an US Army Colonel father and a DOD Worker mother, Cathay mainly grew up in West Germany before returning to the USA as a teenager. He caught the acting bug following a high school production of To Kill a Mockingbird. He had previously appeared in two other prestigious David Simon TV dramas - Homicide: Life on the Street and The Corner - before taking the role of congressman Tommy Carcetti's savvy advisor in the fourth and fifth season of The Wire. In a career that stretched back to the early '80s and a role on children's TV series Square One, Cathay appeared in numerous TV programmes included Star Trek: The Next Generation, Law and Order and its numerous spin offs, ER, Oz and, most recently a three-time Emmy award nominated turn in House of Cards, for which he won the coveted prize in 2015. His film appearances included Born on the Fourth of July, Clear and Present Danger, The Mask, Tank Girl, Se7enAmerican Psycho, The Machinist and Fantastic Four.

One of my favourite pieces of trivia about Cathey was that, despite such an incredible career in Hollywood, he had long expressed an interest in appearing in the RTE Ireland soap opera Fair City! In 2009, he was starring in a production of The Shawshank Redemption at Dublin's Gaiety Theatre when he became hooked on the soap and the city itself.


Friday, 9 February 2018

Maze (2017)

The problem with being interested in that period of recent history known as the Troubles is that you're sometimes left disappointed by the films that set out to depict or dramatise the events. Often through no real fault of their own, they're dwarfed by other productions who have trod a similar path in telling more or less the same story. That's the case with writer/director Stephen Burke's recent offering, Maze, which fails to step out from the shadows of Steve McQueen's Hunger in its dramatisation  of the mass breakout from H Block 7 of HMP Maze  in September, 1983, just two years after Bobby Sands and nine other inmates died from hunger strike.

Opened in 1971 on the site of the former Royal Air Force station Long Kesh, HMP Maze was considered the most impregnable prison in Europe; a literal labyrinth of H-shaped buildings designed to disorientate inmates, it was surrounded by 15ft-high fences and concrete walls. However despite such seemingly impossible odds, 38 Republicans managed to break out, with 19 caught within two days and a further 19 going on to successfully evade capture. The escape went down in history as the biggest Europe had seen since the POW camps of WWII and served as a massive morale boost for the IRA who had been left reeling from the deaths of ten hunger strikers in the summer of 1981. 

The plot of Burke's film sees the escape-planners determined to succeed in memory of those very inmates who gave their lives two years earlier. As such, comparisons are easily drawn to Hunger and not found in Maze's favour. McQueen's film had an intense yet poetic Alan Clarke-like feel, but Burke fails to invest his material with much flourish at all; visually it's a derivative damp and bland affair which, whilst it impresses from a period recreation point of view, fails to rise above the limits of TV drama. Burke also disappoints as a screenwriter, with too much of the film set at a plodding pace, with some particularly noticeable hackeyed dialogue. One scene has Tom Vaughan-Lawlor's Larry Marley, the mastermind of the escape, accuse Warder Gordon Close (Barry Ward) of being just as much a prisoner as he is -  seemingly there's a screenwriting guide somewhere that states this stereotypical exchange must be included in every prison based movie!

Ultimately the plot depends on Marley efforts to befriend Gordon to achieve his bid for freedom and whilst both actors are capable enough to tell this story, they're let down by Burke's inability to convey any real, deep sense of character for either of them. A particular subplot concerning Marley's disappointment at seeing his son following in his footsteps on the outside goes nowhere too and feels tacked on. The suggestion that there are no winners in a violent and damaging political situation that is forced to repeat itself over and over again is a credit to the film I guess, but perhaps by its very nature, Maze is told primarily and somewhat sympathetically from the Republican POV, a stance which may serve to infuriate those on the other side of this divide even to this day.

In the end, Maze is an unshowy more or less competent dramatisation of events that perhaps deserved a better telling than it gains here. It fails to hold its head up high alongside the likes of Hunger and ought to be filed alongside the somewhat forgettable Troubles set films such as Shadow Dancer instead. It could be worse though, it could have joined the offensive stinkers like The Devil's Own.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

9 Songs (2004)

In which Gruey grew up to be a rather unconvincing glaciologist and is shown shooting his muck on screen. Yes I know, not exactly something we were crying out for, but Michael Winterbottom thought we were and so he gave the world 9 Songs in 2004; a film that tells the story of a modern day romance across nine live band performances, and one of the misses in his surprisingly frustrating hit and miss career.

It's a popular misconception to claim that 9 Songs is the first British film outside of pornography to feature genuine sexual intercourse. Patrice Chéreau's 2001 film Intimacy, based on Hanif Kureishi's 1989 novel, featured Mark Rylance and Kerry Fox getting it on for their art. Aside from this inconvenient truth, 9 Songs bagged the controversy but, having finally watched it, I'm left thinking why? It was one of the most tediously dull films to sit through. It offers absolutely nothing other than a series of vanilla sex scenes and extremely mild bondage interspersed with scenes at the Brixton Academy where our lovers watch various indie bands including Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand, and Elbow.  Well, there are enough bare arses on screen, we may as well see an elbow eh?

I wouldn't mind if the relationship between the aforementioned Gruey (does anyone else other than me remember that?) Kieran O'Brien and Margo Stilley, was an interesting one, but it's not. There's no fireworks here, this isn't Betty Blue, despite the occasional insistence that Stilley's character has 'Issues©', what we have is just two seemingly compatible young people meeting, fucking and ultimately splitting up on good terms. 

It's all quite elegiac and downbeat, which only adds to the nondescript, uneventful nature. Perhaps that's the point - perhaps Winterbottom just wanted to depict an authentic everyday relationship on the big screen. If that's the case I have to hand it to him, he succeeds to a certain extent, but after 66 minutes (mercifully brief) I knew absolutely nothing about the characters. The authenticity is definitely there in the headline grabbing sex scenes, which are shot with a conventional, unselfconcious and straightforward air. It's actually quite interesting to watch real sex on screen as, for all the Mary Whitehouse style cries of 'this is porn!', nothing could be further from the artificial, emotionless, antiseptic world of pornography if it tried. The sex here is tentative, sweaty, and yes, hairy. In short, it is sex you can relate to.

But who does a line of charlie before going to see Michael Nyman's 60th birthday concert? Feck off back to your Franz Ferdinand, you philistines!

Monday, 5 February 2018

A Walk in the Woods (2015)

What an odd film. The standard trope of this kind of story is that our characters go on a dual journey; the journey they're actually making in the literal sense and the journey of self discovery and contentment they make in the figurative sense. Not so with A Walk in the Woods, a very loose adaptation of a Bill Bryson memoir. 

Right from the start, the movie version of Bryson (Robert Redford) is depicted as -  though frustratingly never called out for being - a privileged blowhard of a man who, not only feels it's an injustice that he has to go on talk shows and answer questions in his professional life, but feels a similar sense of injustice in his personal life, most notably at the prospect of having to socialise with a grieving widow and others at a friend's wake. 

Convincing himself that he must undertake one last adventure (perhaps to get away from the stiffs who have the misfortune to not be him) he decides on walking the Appalachian Mountain Trail with his decrepit old friend Katz (Nick Nolte), but he's clearly not given this much proper thought because that's a prospect which will naturally see him coming across various people along the way. Given this opportunity of interaction is on the cards, as an audience we expect his curmudgeonly demeanour to dissipate, but no - instead the film goes out of its way to depict everyone to be the kind of twatwaffle Bryson has long suspected other people to be, and all the journey does is strengthen his bond with the likeminded Katz. That these other 'Non Bryson, Not Katz' unfortunates are all considerably younger (well c'mon, they're hardly gonna meet anyone older than them are they? Not unless those fossils come to life!) and are also in the vast majority female, gives the film a worryingly misogynistic and bitter air that really doesn't cut it today.

Basically if I'd wanted to watch a couple of leather faced old baby boomers trying to prove they can still get it up as they sneer at the energy, optimism and enthusiasm of the youth of today, I'd have revisited those depressing TV debates between students in the Remain camp and elderly Brexit voters in the run up to the EU referendum.

That said, I watched it with my mum who chuckled quite a bit throughout it, and a couple of Redford and Nolte's Last of the Summer Wine style antics did occasionally raise a wan smile from me, but overall this is one trek I'd pass on.

A Walk in the Woods? More like A Wank in the Woods.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Why Rees Mogg's Hair Getting a Teensy Bit Ruffled Is a Step Towards a Fascist State

The BBC was all over one incident  yesterday: the sight of Tory backbencher Jacob Rees Mogg getting caught up between squabbling students following a speech at Bristol University.

As this blog article points out there's something very fishy going on regarding the attention this little scuffle attracted. For a start, the BBC - showing their complicity with the government - refused to report on the mass demonstration in London that occurred yesterday against cuts in the NHS, but now it seems that the whole Rees Mogg incident was not just a convenient decoy but a handy PR exercise on many counts too. It was actually Rees Mogg supporter who started the squabble and the whole event was captured by Ben Kew, a reporter at the right wing Trump friendly Breitbart news who was conveniently in attendance. It ought to come as no surprise that Breitbart would want to capture someone as ultra right wing and odious as Rees Mogg in a (staged) positive light. His politics are right up their street and this incident can only further his strange appeal amongst the extreme conservatives and those who think he's a 'character'. 

But the media, including the BBC, have spun this in a completely different manner. They've chosen to ignore the fact that the instigator was a supporter of the Tory MP's and once again the cry has gone up about the threat of supposedly violent far left Corbynistas and Momentum members out to destroy our democracy. That this White Elephant continues to exist in the wake of both one right wing lunatic committing a political assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox, and another attempting to target Jeremy Corbyn himself with his attack on Finsbury Park is nothing short of astounding. The reality of where the threat truly is is right before our eyes and yet the media and government continue to deflect it and point their accusing fingers at the very people who are most in danger. 

Perhaps most telling of all is the fact that Rees Mogg's little fracas, which did nothing more than ruffle his hair a little bit, coincides with Theresa May's plan to announce a new law next week making it an offence to intimidate those in public life

Now on the surface, this proposal sounds like a good idea. Surely it would help protect targeted MP's such as Diane Abbott and Cat Smith, two female Labour MP's who are routinely subjected to threats of violence and a stream of abuse online. But let's look at this more closely: May's law would allow the police powers to arrest anyone protesting against the actions of a public figure. In other words, if Breitbart pin up Donald Trump were to visit the UK and be met with a mass demonstration against himself and his policies, Theresa May will have allowed the police powers to quell this democratic right by rounding up the most vocal protesters and imprisoning them. In short, Rees Mogg's little stunt has set us on the way to becoming a fascist state where dissent is outlawed. Once again, the real threat to democracy comes from our own government. It comes from the right not the left.

And don't even start me on how disgustingly opportunistic May is being raising this crackdown on the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote. That May will push her desire to create a fascist state whilst paying tribute to the suffragettes - as if there's some common link - is nothing short of offensive, hypocritical politicising. If Theresa May truly thinks she can be considered in the same breath as the suffragettes, if she truly believes she is a feminist, then why has she spent her political career shutting down Sure Start centres, women's refuges and rape crisis centres and making brutal cuts to any service that provides a service and security to women?

Don't be fooled. This is pure political puppeteering and it's time we severed the marionette's strings.

Silent Sunday: Room For a Little One?

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Out On Blue Six: New Order

Amused by the wall-to-wall poodle haired rock and movie tie-in videos that swamped MTV at the time, New Order's manager Rob Gretton hit upon the idea of their next video seeing them adopt a glam metal persona in a performance intercut with footage from a fictional movie - the resulting outcome allowed them to step out from the unfair and inaccurate dour, cold perception many had about the band since the days of Joy Division to reveal instead their natural sense of fun. 

The video was directed by Kathryn Bigelow who at the time had just a couple of movies under her belt, including Loveless and Near Dark. She brought along one of the stars from the latter, Bill Paxton, to appear alongside The Living Daylights Bond girl Femi Gardiner for scenes of the spoof movie. The footage of Paxton running across Battersea Bridge at night in pursuit of Gardiner at the wheel of her car, forcing her to crash before smashing the windscreen to climb in and commence some passionate kissing is certainly an atmospheric if peculiar and quite disturbing love sequence (and especially from a female director, with the outcome being a ban on the video from the lucrative Saturday morning TV market here in the UK) but it adds to the parodic nature of the piece.

The band scenes are nothing short of hilarious; dressed in outlandish Europe style wigs, leather, studs and chains, leaping slo-mo onto the stage as the sparks started flying, Barney catching a guitar to play a solo before tossing it back, and pointing at a keytar playing Gillian (on the precipice of pissing herself laughing throughout) as he utters the line "I have never looked at you in a sexual way before" (speak for yourself Barney!) all shows a band that - at this stage at least - didn't take itself or the industry too seriously. The upshot of it was of course that the American market did take the video seriously: the video was a hit on MTV and New Order's 1988 US tour saw several punters turn up expecting a Motley Crue style band, only to demand their money back when they learned the truth. That's the trouble with jokes I guess, they don't always translate well and some people just won't be able to get them.

End Transmission