Music

Music

Life and Lyrics

Ashley Walters in Life and Lyrics

  Ashley Walters first became well known as Asher D in the London garage/grime outfit So Solid Crew. Since it was a gigantic collective of competing egos two things were on the cards – the band was unlikely to produce enough revenue to support all 19+ members, or it was going to fall apart spectacularly. …

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To Write Love on Her Arms

Kat Dennings in To Write Love on Her Arms

    Is there anything more life-sapping than listening to a druggie talking about drugs? Yes, a film about one, and it’s not less boring but more if it also offers a redemptive ta-daa. To Write Love on Her Arms is a film about one such, a young woman, played twixt K-Stewart sulk and ScarJo pout …

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Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man

Leonard Coen and U2

    For decades Cohen’s music has been misrepresented as the soundtrack to suicide. In fact the old (now 73) groaner is something of a comedian, though his wit is so dry it’s taken non-aficionados decades to catch on. He’s also something of a master of self-mythology, the sort of performer who seems to back …

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The U.S. vs. John Lennon

John Lennon and Yoko Ono in front of a version of the Stars and Stripes

    Professional musician and amateur situationist John Lennon has always been an easy target for anyone wanting to level a charge of hypocrisy. “Imagine no possessions,” he sang, and the fingers started pointing at his lavish lifestyle – insert your own version of the story about the fur coats kept in a refrigerated room in …

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The Page Turner

Catherine Frot and Déborah François in The Page Turner

    It’s often forgotten how much genre output the French make, and how well they do it. This icy thriller in a Chabrolesque mould has two brilliant performances at its centre. On the one side we have Déborah François as Mélanie, a young girl from a poor family whose ambition to become a pianist …

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Jimi: All Is by My Side

André Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix in All Is by My Side

  Here’s a problem for anyone about to make a film about Jimi Hendrix, genius guitarist, 1960s icon, member of the 27 Club of rock’s premature expirers – how do you get inside a character who was private, taciturn, shy and elliptically cool? With a voiceover? A confidant? Newsreel footage? It’s a question that writer/director John …

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Our Beloved Month of August

Fábio Oliveira and Sónia Bandeira

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     14 August   Battle of Aljubarrota, 1385 On this day in 1385, the battle of Aljubarrota ended Spanish designs on Portugal and confirmed an independent throne in Portugal, under King John I. The battle was waged between John I of …

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The Song Remains the Same

Robert Plant in The Song Remains the Same

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one         13 July       Live Aid, 1985 On this day in 1985, some of the world’s most popular music acts got together at Wembley Stadium, London, UK, and John F Kennedy Stadium, Philadelphia, USA. Live Aid was …

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Inside Llewyn Davis

Oscar Isaac and cat in Inside Llewyn Davis

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     30 June   Dave Van Ronk born, 1936 On this day in 1936, one of the great nearly men of popular music was born, in Brooklyn, New York, USA, into a Catholic family who identified as Irish. Dave Van Ronk …

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