With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Amy – The Girl Behind The Name – City Screen York Tuesday 7th July 2015 July 7, 2015

Filed under: Film,Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:53 pm
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I had looked forward to seeing the Amy Winehouse documentary and I really hoped that it would be good. Well in my opinion it was a marvellous documentary of a modern tragedy. It portrayed what I would imagine was the real Amy Winehouse; a very talented and very vulnerable girl. I was moved to tears on a couple of occasions. The recording of the song “Back To Black” was one and hearing her take on fame was another. It was an emotional roller coaster because I also felt great anger at the way the scummy, tabloid paparazzi hounded this poor troubled woman when she was possibly at her lowest ebb.

Amy Winehouse

Tabloid journalists (is that an oxymoron?) and the paparazzi ought to be ashamed of themselves, although I doubt that they are. It felt to me that apart from her two friends since childhood, her first manager and her bodyguard she had no ‘real’ friends. Plenty of people who wanted a piece of her but not many who truly loved her. I may be doing them a disservice, but her parents seemed at best misguided about how to handle her. As for her final gigs, which she clearly didn’t want to do, who the hell made the decision to bundle her on a private jet to do the gig in Serbia? She was wasted and lost and clearly in no fit state to perform. Amy also had a lifelong issue with bulimia. A former girlfriend of mine died as a result of that horrible disease many, many years ago and I can still recall how awful that was.

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Amy Winehouse had what seemed to be a natural talent. Tony Bennett said that she was one of the best jazz singers that he had ever worked with. Her death is a tragic end to such a talented life and it has stolen a massive and enduring talent from the music world. Amy was not only a talented singer and interpreter of songs she was also an exceptionally talented songwriter. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would urge you to do so.

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Grateful Dead – Fare Thee Well – Final Concert Ever – Cinema Simulcast – York City Screen Monday 6th July 2015 July 6, 2015


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I booked my tickets for this cinema show as soon as I saw them advertised. It would be unfair to say that I am a massive fan of the Grateful Dead but I have always had a kind of respect for what they have achieved and who they are. In my opinion the Dead are very much a genre defying band, it is very difficult to put them into a box. They take elements of west coast rock, jazz, psychedelia, soft rock, AOR and even prog. But ultimately they are the Grateful Dead and there is no band quite like them. Are they as good since the death of Jerry Garcia nearly 20 years ago in August 1995? They remain a great band but I believe they have evolved into a slightly different band without Jerry.

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The remaining original members all form part of the band for the Fare Thee Well shows; Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann, all of whom were in the Dead since 1965. Percussionist Mickey Hart joined in 1965. Trey Anastasio off of Phish is part of the Fare Thee Well band on guitar and vocals (he takes some of the Garcia vocals) The band is further augmented with Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti. The last show was the last of three dates at the Soldier Field American Football Stadium in Chicago. It was filmed for a pay per view audience and it was a slightly edited version of that which the cinema simulcast contained.

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The filming and cinematography was brilliant and at times stunning. The band was really on form and it is easy to see that the so-called ‘core four’ have been playing together for a life time. The band were on stage for more than three hours. When they played “I Know You Rider” it sounded like all 80,000 audience members were singing along to the somewhat appropriate lyrical refrain ‘I know you rider, gonna miss me when I’m gone’. My favourite songs from the show were “Throwing Stones” and “Mountains Of The Moon”. But you can’t ignore “Truckin'” which includes the line which for many Deadheads sums um the band. That line is; ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been’. Trey Anastsatio’s playing was phenomenal, for me particularly so on “Terrapin Station”. The last song before they returned for a two song encore was an audience rousing version of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away”. The encore consisted of “Touch Of Grey” and “Attics Of My Life”. At least I think that was the title of the final song, if I am wrong please let me know.

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Not being a full on Deadhead myself I have never seen the Dead play live. I have seen lots of footage of them playing live though. This film is a great testament to a great band and you should go and see it if you get the chance.Even if you don’t consider yourself a fan there is no denying that this is a classic concert movie. Is this really an epitaph for the Grateful Dead? Time will tell, but personally I believe that it is. Remember what Don Henley said in the song “The Boys Of Summer”? ‘Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac. A little voice inside my head said, “Don’t look back. You can never look back”. If you have seen the film I would love to know what you thought of it.

©Jay Blakesberg

©Jay Blakesberg

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The Stone Roses : Made Of Stone – World premiere simulcast York City Screen Thursday 30th May 2013 June 2, 2013


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

 

“Where is that moonlight trail that leads to your side?” March 12, 2013


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Following the Oscar win for the Bond theme “Skyfall” Adele is being tipped to record the theme from the next James Bond movie as well. She wrote the song with Paul Epworth and she will need to record another two Bond themes to catch up with the current record holder for recording the most theme songs to this iconic film franchise. Dame Shirley Bassey has sung three Bond songs;

“Goldfinger” (1964) – written by Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley and John Barry.

“Diamonds Are Forever” – (1971) – written by John Barry and Don Black.

“Moonraker” – (1979) – written by John Barry and Hal David.

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All three were produced by John Barry. “Goldfinger” was the best chart performer of the three reaching number 21 in the UK and number 8 in the USA. Shirley was initially earmarked to record the opening credits song for the Thunderball film from 1965. The song was called “Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” but Cubby Broccoli the film’s producer decided that the song had to have the same title as the film. This resulted in  a new song called, unsurprisingly, “Thunderball” being written. It was recorded my another Welsh singing star, Tom Jones. A version of “Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” was recorded by Dionne Warwick and this version is included on the film’s soundtrack album. Incidentally Adele’s “Skyfall” is only the second Bond theme song not to appear on the accompanying soundtrack album. The first was “You Know My Name” sung by Chris Cornell for Casino Royale from 2006.

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The Woman In Black March 11, 2012


Earlier this evening we went to the local Vue multiplex, which frankly isn’t as nice as the Picturehouse City Screen cinema in York. However putting that aside the film we saw was ‘The Woman In Black‘, it is an adaptation of Scarborough born Susan Hill‘s 1983 novel of the same name. Incidentally the book is bloody good too. It is the first production from a newly reincarnated Hammer Studios.

Daniel Radcliffe plays the main character, Arthur Kipps. He is a lawyer sent to a desolate coastal town in the north-east of England to close the estate of a recently deceased woman. I won’t add any spoilers in this post but if you like classic horror in a gothic style take a trip to the cinema as soon as you can. In the UK it is a 12A certificate, but I’m not sure I can think of any 12 year olds that wouldn’t be scared shitless!

Was it scary? Well there were a few ‘make you jump’ moments but personally a film has never scared me and this one was no exception. It did scare the living daylights out of my beautiful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman. It is a great film though; excellent acting, brilliant script, perfect casting and wonderful locations and cinematography. On this showing there is clearly a long life after Harry Potter for Mr Radcliffe, he has the makings of an award-winning actor.

Hammer is back with a vengeance with this slice of classic British Horror. (My late uncle, Ron Jackson, would have been proud. He was Production Manager of many of the great Hammer Horror films).  Hollywood couldn’t have made this and let’s hope they don’t try. This is not a musical nor is it a music related film, but I felt the need to talk about it. So in keeping with this being a music blog please enjoy a few appropriate songs. Also click here to see a great spoof based on the film.

 

“I need help ladies and gentlemens I need someone to stand beside me” October 10, 2011


I watched the classic Peter Sellers movie ‘Being There’ for the first time in years yesterday. I went out and bought the DVD at the weekend following a chance (no pun intended to fans of said movie!) conversation at work last week.

My memory of the film was always that it was quite deep, funny, emotional, spiritual and very well written and acted. On this occasion
my memory has certainly not failed me, this is truly a classic film, featuring in my opinion Peter Sellers finest performance. The supporting cast is equally accomplished too.

If you haven’t seen it I will try to describe it simply and with no spoilers. Sellers plays a character known as Chancey Gardener, who in
fact is just a gardener…… or is he? It seems that everything he knows he has learnt in the garden or from watching TV. His simple, yet powerful thoughts on life in relation to gardening can be seen as the ramblings of a slow-witted person or something much more profound. Personally I’d opt for the profound.

If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would strongly recommend that you do. If you come away from watching it not feeling better
than you did before then you really are hard-hearted.

It’s not a musical but I felt able to include it in my music blog simply because of its excellent use of two seminal 70s tracks, the latter
of which is one of my all time favourites. If you have already seen this film or have watched it on my recommendation I would love to hear you opinions on it.

 

“Why wait any longer for the world to begin, you can have your cake and eat it too” June 3, 2011


I have a small selection of oddities for you in this post. Starting with the Arctic Monkeys, no I’m not suggesting that the Monkeys are oddities, but a funny little story about what rude boys they are! Apparently their new album will suffer the indignity of having a sticker placed over its title when it goes on sale in a large US supermarket chain. Not because it has nudity, pornography, swearing or anything like that on the cover, but because the title is said to be very suggestive. I don’t agree at all. So what is that offending title? Why it’s a phrase I have often used myself. It’s ‘Suck It And See’ Now I can hear all of you with an honours degree in double entendre sniggering, but frankly what’s the point in stickering (stop sniggering again ok) that? I thought it was pretty stupid when a pretty tasteful naked girl on the cover of the first Darkness album was covered with a sticker in US supermarkets. But the funniest for me was that the todgers on the classic statues on the cover of the Dame’s second Tin Machine album were removed for the US supermarkets. What a pathetic bunch of arseholes! Tipper Gore this is your legacy!

Liam shows just how much he enjoys lay lady lay by laying down

Now for some Gallagher brother news. It would appear that Liam Gallagher is not a big fan of Robert Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan. Liam likes Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” but thinks that Bob is a ‘bit of a miserable c*nt’. He also has a dig at 60s and 70s bands that reform to rake in festival money with greatest hits sets. read what he had to say by clicking here for the NME site. In another piece of Gallagher news it appears that Noel and Liam’s Mum is ready to bang their heads together. She says that the only way she expects Liam to miss Noel’s forthcoming nuptials is if both his legs are broken. If I were Liam I’d be afraid, I’d be very afraid. Read about that in the NME as well by clicking here.

So tell us Gaga, how many Muppets were harmed or killed in the making of this outfit?

It appears that Amazon have had one of the biggest loss leader products in recent years. They have been charging just 99 cents for the download of the new Lady Gaga album ‘Born This Way’, but they have been paying her record label 9 dollars per album downloaded! It is estimated that in about a week they have lost around 3 million dollars. Now is that just pure waste or some kind of reverse greed? Click here to read the story.

And finally, Catwoman and I went to see the new Marvel movie Friday evening; ‘X Men: First Class‘ I won’t be doing a full review as it’s not really a music related movie. But it is an excellent film and for me one of the best Marvel adaptations so far, go and see it if you get the chance. But there is a small music link as the song that is played over the closing credits is the new Take That single “Love Love”. In spite of the fact that Robbie is involved and regular readers will know I really don’t like his stuff, I sadly really like this song. Do I need therapy?

 

 
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Well, I'm dyslexic so writing about something I love: Music, might help but it's most likely just full of mistakes. That title is also lyrics from The Drones song called I Don't Want To Change. Oh, my name is William and thanks for having a look.

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