On Thursday 30th May I attended a simulcast of the world première of the new Stones Roses documentary ‘Made Of Stone’ at York City Screen. The cinema is part of the excellent Picturehouse chain and was one of 200 UK cinemas that were broadcasting the première which took place in Manchester. There was a live link to the activities on the red carpet for the first hour and personally I found that part terribly dull, not helped in my opinion by Edith Bowman‘s interview style. She seems to ask a high percentage of closed questions. The most interesting interview she did was with Shane Meadows, the director of the film. The interview with Mick Jones off of the Clash was embarrassing in my opinion.
The film however was a million light years from being dull. I would say that it is probably among the best music documentaries I have ever seen. It didn’t set out to tell a chronological story of the band, although some of the montages which included previously unseen footage were excellent. Much of that material was provided by the band themselves directly to Shane Meadows. This included some grainy Super 8 ciné film of Ian Brown and John Squire on motor scooters from the early 80s. The film is essentially split into three parts; The resurrection press conference and the Parr Hall in Warrington free show; Then the rehearsals and finally some stunning footage from the Heaton Park gigs.
I really loved the rehearsal element. It showed just how close the band really are and it was incredibly intimate and insightful. Apparently some of the rehearsal footage was shot by Shane Meadows using a Super 8 App on his iPhone. Does that mean we’ll all be making films soon? The filming and editing of the Parr Hall show and the build up to it was wonderfully entertaining. Especially the sequences of the people queueing up to be among the lucky 1,000 attendees. I order to get a wrist band for the gig you needed to bring along some official Stone Roses merchandise or CD/ Records and obviously to be in the first 1,000 people in the queue. One bloke arrived still in his paint spattered overalls having not even bothered to lock up the house he had been working on.
The finale of the film is truly amazing and culminates in some superb footage from the Heaton Park gigs. There must have been countless cameras used and I hope that the video includes much more footage of the shows. Some clips of the pre Heaton Park warm up shows were shown leading up to the big gig. You saw the band back stage in Lyon meeting one of their Manchester United (or Mani United) heroes; Eric Cantona. Is it just me or does he look like Grizzly Adams these days? I’m sure that Liam Gallagher, who made a brief appearance in the film wouldn’t have liked that part. The classic non encore from the Amsterdam is also included. This was where Reni threw a bit of a hissy fit following some problems with his ear monitors and went straight back to the hotel. Ian Brown then had to come back on the stage and announce to the disgruntled audience that this was no joke and that the drummer had gone home. This culminated in the classic line ‘What can I say? The drummer’s a cunt!’ To be fair that is a little rich coming from a soon to be middle-aged man who wears his jeans low enough to see most of his undercrackers!
The posters and trailers for the film include the line ‘this film will make grown men cry’. Well I didn’t cry, but perhaps it’s just because it’s not my generation and not ‘my’ band in the way it is for the hardcore Roses fans. But even with my eyes remaining dry this was a five-star music documentary. I urge you to go and see it if you can or put the DVD (scheduled for release in October) on your letter to Santa Claus. But you know the drill by now; if you have to sell your Granny to get a ticket then say bye bye Gran today!