Hello. Please excuse the delay. This blog would have commenced a half an hour earlier had it not been for the rediscovery of a few old CDs nestling on the shelf next to my computer. This shelf sees pretty scant action in these days of iTunes match; the CDs remain unopened, unflicked, unsorted and gathering a layer of dust that in a forgiving light would donate to them a timeless quality, like ancient texts along the bowing shelves of a medieval chained library. Except made of plastic. And featuring a predominance of 90s indie albums. Look:
Gosh, I do like REM don’t I? (and Noel Coward – what of it??) Anyway, I was distracted by The Libertines which I have just been reminded is a truly, fabulously dirty and brilliant collection of indie rock tunes. Then of course Pete Docherty took too much heroine (not sure there is “just enough” heroine) and went mad. And went out with that model lady. Kate Moss. Yes, that’s her. And wore hats a lot.
Anyway, more hat-related banter later. This is a FILM BLOG so I’d better make a stab at giving you some recent Long Arm news because I know you’ve all been utterly bereft since my last entry into your electronic lives. Well, we finished our short Ex Libris and Jimmy and I are delighted with the results. I am afraid that I must be coy and keep Ex Libris concealed beneath my blouse for now as we are submitting it to various film festivals and they require exclusivity and therefore make us promise that we haven’t shown it to all of our mates by shoving it on YouTube and allowing rude American children to write filthy comments beneath. But one day, I shall unbutton the blouse (just put on some good music and ply me with a few half-decent glasses of red, this usually does the trick) and reveal to you Ex Libris in all her glory. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
At least one of our cast has given the film the metaphorical thumbs-up (and maybe even the literal thumb-up; you’ll have to ask Jimmy to confirm this one as I wasn’t there at the time). Our pal, now-regular collaborator and generally all-round marvellous and talented Melanie Walters told the world via Twitter that she didn’t think it was rubbish:
I particularly enjoyed the translation of “tidy” – which is a Welsh joke that I don’t have the inclination to explain. But it is funny. I promise.
And that’s about it for Long Arm Films news. We do have another couple of projects under way but I can’t say anything about them yet and our editor Dan is still busy in his edit bunker at the posh end of Swansea on our debut feature film High Tide. Regular readers of this blog (hello both) will know that I’ve been promising a trailer for a few months now. And yes, I am still promising. But it is close. I promise.
And so let me leap like a spring lamb to a relatively unrelated topic for a a few hundred words or so. I went to see the musical We Will Rock You last week and it was terrible. Awful. Mind-bendingly woeful. Thankfully I didn’t have to pay for a ticket in pounds sterling but I did pay with three un-returnable hours of my life. And I am running out of these so I am riled when I spend my dwindling purse on something shite. And this really was several shades of shite. Now, I am not a hater of musicals. I am actually a writer of musicals; I’ve co-written three of the buggers and, despite the other half of Long Arm’s contempt for the genre, I retain a huge affection for the form. Two of the greatest nights I’ve ever had in a theatre were spent watching musicals (not including my own); firstly the sublime Anything Goes at the National Theatre over a decade ago and much more recently, almost exactly a year ago, the unmatchable Book of Mormon. So in a fight between musicals and the rest of culture, I’d be on the side of the Musicals, fighting like one of those sweaty cartoon men in 300 alongside women and effete gentlemen. (We’d lose the fight clearly, but we’d have a damn good sing-song as we were hacked limb-from-limb on the battlefield). However, We Will Rock You (despite its modal verb assuring us that rocking is assured) left me decidedly cross and bewildered. Not that it matters now; the show is closing soon and genuinely talented and lovely people will be out of work and for this I am sad but at least London will be free of Ben Elton’s primordially terrible script. Ben Elton. Oh Ben, Ben. You were a hero. Your stand-up, your co-penning of one of the greatest sitcoms of all time but now, now this. I know it’s made you chariot-fulls of money and you most probably bathe in liquid platinum and wear pants spun from the breath of angels simply because you can afford it but Ben, dear Ben, did it have to come to this?
And I like Queen. I mean who doesn’t? Their music is timeless, catchy and in the case of Bohemian Rhapsody utterly-off-the-scale insane and yet amongst the greatest pop songs ever penned. But then you crowbar their music into a show and we’re greeted with a character who is called, without irony, Galileo Figaro and has a girlfriend called Scaramouch . . . . and there’s a gang of underground freedom fighters called The Bohemians who are searching for their freedom, or rhapsody . . . . OH GOD I WANT IT TO STOP NOW. For over three hours this parade of nonsense was paraded in front of a packed theatre and then at the end, EVERYONE got to their feet, wiping tears of joy from their eyes and cheering as if Jesus had just appeared on a unicycle, wearing a Vladimir Putin mask, juggling disciples and fire. Everyone that was save for me and my three pals. The problem MUST have been ours. Surely. The will of the majority has never been proved to be anything less than infallible and perhaps we should just return to the theatre every night until we realise the huge error of our ways. But seriously, it was an odd sensation to be in such a tiny minority in the midst of an audience response like that.
As we walked back towards our hotel I got some abuse for the rather fetching hat I was wearing. The problem with modern hat-wearing (the name of my new novel) is that it is very hard for it not to seem affected or wilful. Woolly hats are fine, baseball caps are fine, for some, but don a brown fedora in London’s West End on a Thursday evening and passing football fans dressed in identical t-shirts, jeans, white trainers, all with cropped hair and sneers and making those lowing sounds like demented cattle, will call you all manner of witty names. I can’t understand it. I was only in a flowery shirt, tweed jacket and my new brown fedora. We could have been members of the same family. Perhaps this is why Pete Docherty was driven to smack; he’d just had it up to his balls in insults about his pork-pie hat. Anyway, I am sure that these football-loving gentlemen were entirely correct and I am indeed a “wanker” and a “fucking poof” and, oddly, “a fucking Kraut”. (I don’t mind being called a poof but NEVER call me German). Every single one of them would have absolutely adored We Will Rock You.
Having been reminded of the genius of Bohemian Rhapsody, and I do mean this without a hint of irony, the only film that would suffice on my sofa the following night was of course this:
A film I watched maybe fifty times as a teenager and which, I am delighted to say, is still very, very funny even now. And yes this must partly be nostalgia but it also is much to do with Mike Myers being genuinely brilliant. Do yourself a favour. Watch Wayne’s World again.
And as for me, I am driving around south Devon in the mid-90s, my two-tone Ford Fiesta Mk 1 stuffed with my pals and all of us are banging our heads, Wayne’s World-style to the rocking bit of Bohemian Rhapsody. We didn’t have a care in the world. Not a shred. Not a shred.
Anywhere the wind blows.