Monday, February 16, 2009

"the music lasts forever"

Mike Fox, my old creative writing tutor, told me writing was about 'infecting'; infecting the reader with what's in your head/heart.

I'm going to try and infect you with a wonderful experience I had last night, that revolves mostly around this guy, Lips (aka Steve Kudlow):

Last night Wrisley and I took part in Secret Cinema, a monthly movie screening in London where the film and location are announced at the last moment. They always make an effort to screen films in interesting settings to enhance the experience.

We made our way to the Shepherd's Bush Empire, along with a few hundred others. Inside we would find out that we would be watching the UK premiere of Anvil. You might have seen it advertised. It's being called by some 'the real life Spinal Tap' and the poster certainly paints that picture.

But it's so much more than that. The movie isn't a movie about a hopeless rock band. It's not even just about a rock band. It's a story about passion, friendship, honesty, love and ambition. It's a story about fragility and hope.

Lips is the front man of Anvil but he's the heart of the movie. He is as open, likeable, honest and caring as he is driven and earnest in his ambition. He's my new hero. He represents what it means to be alive. His occasional lack of eloquence and common sense are not faults, they are a testiment to his human, flawed, but wholly honest positivity.

"The music lasts forever"

This wonderfully simple quote from Lips sums the sentiment of the movie for me; both citing Lips' eternal energy source as well as the artefact that will remain after he's gone. If ever there was a casestudy worthy of the phrase 'life is about the journey, not the destination', this is it.

And if I was moved by the movie, then the finale blew my spandex leggings off.

As the film finished, a spotlight flashed across the venue and a frantic guitar solo wailed from a silhouette within its glare. It was Lips, standing tall with one leg up on the rail and that big, crooked grin on his face. The crowd went absolutely mental.

All the emotion from the movie spilled from the screen and into the huge room. All I could do was whoop with the rest of the crowd. And I don't whoop freely that often.
Lips made his way down to the stage where he and the rest of his Band played for the following 25 minutes. We all went crazy, indebted to the band for bearing their souls in the movie and returning the favour with a raw display of appreciation. It was brilliant.

The final twist was finding out how the movie came about.

Turns out the Director, Sacha Gervaisi had befriended the band 20+ years earlier as a kid. He was a fan who showed them around London on their first visit, came to see them in Toronto and even went on tour with them way back when.
Years later Gervaisi called them up. "I'm a screenwriter now. Come to Hollywood."

It's the perfect ending to the story. The fan that Anvil took under their wing all those years ago coming back to return the favour; to give them a gift worthy of everything they gave him.

If you like life, watch this movie.

And vote for Anvil to play at Glastonbury too. I can't think of a better way to put some soul back into the festival.

Update. This great pic from Dogg - who was also there last night:


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