The new High Tide trailer is available to watch with your eyes

Hello blog. It has been a while. Gosh, it’s a little dusty in here. And over there is a spider who’s strung her spindly web betwixt CD copies of The Boy with the Arab Strap by Belle and Sebastian and Beck’s Odelay. And I am sure someone’s left a half-eaten sandwich somewhere in here, either that or . . . . well, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

Let me just have a blast around with the Pledge (does Pledge still exist or do you have to stream it via Spotify these days?) and make the place presentable. Oh there’s a lump of Christmas cheese left over from my bloated (appropriately) last blog post which had nothing to do with filmmaking and everything to do with the music that makes me happy. 

Right, now the decks are detritus-free I can come to the point of this post, namely that the final trailer for our feature film High Tide is now online. I’ve used this blog in recent years to detail the lengthy, frustrating and slightly insane process of getting a film from an initial idea to actually showing it in a cinema. Many of these posts have now been hidden in attempt to mask some of the glaring errors we made along the way (not to mention the various important people we upset, albeit inadvertently) but one day I will republish everything in an attempt to be of use to anyone who is insane enough to try this filmmaking lark for themselves.

But we’ve done it. Just. High Tide will be in selected cinemas in March 2015 after having its world premiere in Swansea (where else?) at the end of February. Right now I don’t really have much time for reflection as there is still much to do but suffice to say that Jimmy and I are very proud. And tired. Really tired.

Now we just have to hope that people like it. But that is a worry for another day.

So here is the trailer. If you like it then maybe you could send it to a friend? Maybe you could write them a letter and copy out the URL for them to type into their browser? Or perhaps you could stand atop a handy hillock and covey the URL via semaphore? Or even shimmy up the conning tower of a nearby nuclear submarine and transmit the URL via morse code to passing sailors? Or maybe you can a couple of pals could act-out the trailer in a local square having first learn the lines and dressed Phil up as Melanie Walters in a cardigan and a wig? Failing these you could of course just use Facebook or Twitter.

But even if you don’t share then I hope that if you’ve got this far then you might at least watch. So here it is. We sincerely hope that you like it.

A fat, ten song nostalgia bomb that has nothing to do with filmmaking (until I scrape together a tenuous link right at the death)

Facebook will be the death of us all. It won’t be long until our collective insecurities, voyeurism and hubris will be cranked up to such obscene levels that we rupture at the seams and explode in myriad clouds of brilliant blue and stained, mucky white. This will then be shared with the world on Facebook.

(Naturally, this post will also be publicised on Facebook).

However, amongst all the nonsense and one-upmanship there are occasionally moments of interest on the old blue and white bastard. A few weeks ago people were sharing their lists of the ten songs that they liked the most. I think the phrasing may have been more elegant than this, songs that defined them perhaps, but this was the gist. I was “tagged” and asked to contribute my own list to be read by a few desperate souls and then forgotten about. And I really meant to get around to it. But I failed. Until now. And given that I’ve got a bit of time on my hands this holiday (I am currently sitting at one end of a long table in a house in the middle of France, nursing a cheese hangover, whilst my French housemates sip coffee and talk about I am not sure what but IN FRENCH) and given that the only thing that I allowed to say about our forthcoming feature film High Tide is that I CAN’T SAY ANYTHING UNTIL MID JANUARY) I thought I might crack on with my list. But in long form. A bit like Nick Hornby’s 31 Songs but not as good.

So here goes.  Actually, before I leap off into the seas of whimsy I’d like to lay a few ground rules for myself:

1. Be honest. Don’t invent choices to make yourself look cooler than you are. As Ben Folds (sadly omitted from the following list) correctly sang: there is always someone cooler than you.

2. Don’t fret about the order. Life is too short. These are the ten songs that mean the most. Their sequence is unimportant.

3. In a recent interview on American television (they have that there) Michael Stipe said that he “despises nostalgia”. So for the first time in recorded history I am forced to contradict the wisdom of Stipe. I am sure no good will come of this and I will soon be begging his forgiveness and complimenting him on his beard.

1991 version

For many of the artists featuring on this list it was a tricky task alighting on just one of their songs, however in the case of James the choice was virtually involuntary -it had to be Sit Down. That is not to say that they didn’t write a host of other excellent songs, Come Home, How Was it for You? (about shagging), Laid (also about shagging), Sometimes, Just Like Fred Astaire, and even their most recent album La Petite Morte (a reference to, guess what, shagging) is also really good. However, Sit Down so perfectly captures a moment of time that it is rendered timeless. It is both of its moment and for all time. Not many songs achieve this.

It is structured in the most conventional of ways – verse, bridge, huge, repetitive chorus, verse, bridge, huge repetitive chorus, middle 8, huge repetitive chorus, end, plus Tim Booth’s vocal is far from his best – he’d yet to really experiment with the falsetto noodling that would become his trademark and yet this relative simplicity is why the whole thing works so damn well. The song is a perfectly designed sonic athlete, with no waste, no flab. It is Blake’s Tyger – a creature of such poise and efficiency that it is proof of the existence of God. Not that I am claiming that Tim Booth is divine. Ace, but not divine.

I had a tape of a set by James recorded from Radio 1 in the early 90s. They had been touring the world with Neil Young and playing acoustically (I can’t remember why) but it was a superb set. Their acoustic sound honestly revealed their folky roots and the songs in this exposed form had a depth that had sometimes been obscured on the albums. Once it came to the inevitable version of Sit Down, Tim Booth introduced the song as “an old English folk song” and I can’t think of a better description.

I discovered James, like most people at the time, via this song. Sit Down was the gateway drug to a very pleasant addiction to their music. A lot of my friends at the time suggested that the only reason that I chose to be a James fan was that I could walk around Exeter wearing a t-shirt with my name emblazoned on the front and for this not be a problem. There may have been truth in that. However, there was something about that font with its type-writer “a” and the image of the enormous daisy (especially when worn in combination with cherry red DMs) that made me deliriously happy. There was a satisfaction that even though I was a spotty, slightly awkward and arrogant teenager, I belonged to a tribe that gave me great strength. We wore daisies. And we were happy.

I will happily admit that when James played in Torquay and the whole audience sat down during Born of Frustration Sit Down then I cried real tears and supposed that life really couldn’t get much better. And who knows, I may have been right.

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