Made Of Love

(I’m in this shot at Parr Hall, somewhere slightly right and above of Ian Brown’s hand. You might be able to spot me, the one with his arms in the air.)

I went to see Shane Meadows’ film of The Stone Roses re-union on Thursday night. Meadows has himself described it as a love-letter to the band and it’s hard to disagree. It’s very, very well done, and fantastically put together. The standout moment for me was the section in the middle showing the gig at Warrington’s Parr Hall on 22nd of May last year- the footage of band and audience is incredible, gave me goosebumps in fact- and the clips of people running to try to get wristbands are very funny. One man being persued by a small daughter struggling to keep up with him shouting ‘go on Dad!’ is brilliant. There is some fascinating footage c.1982 of Ian and John on scooter rallies and some highly amusing interview footage from 1989 (some of which has been doing the bootleg/Youtube rounds for twenty years). There is a wonderful bit of the band rehearsing Waterfall in a farmhouse somewhere in Cheshire, with split screen segments showing each man playing. It is incredible and should scotch the view that Ian can’t sing (and the version of Waterfall played needs to be released as a soundtrack or ripped from the dvd when it gets released). The film isn’t a total love-in either- tensions are shown when Reni sets the internet ablaze with rumours that he’s quit. Shane is following the band round a short European tour culminating in the gig in Amsterdam where Reni throws a strop due to malfunctioning gear and refuses to play the encore, disappearing into a people carrier. Ian takes to the stage to tell the crowd there’ll be no encore and, in what could possibly not be described as tactful, informs the crowd ‘what can I say? The drummer’s a cunt’.

The climax is Heaton Park, the last fifteen minutes of the film- shot with multiple cameras the band swagger through a ten minute version of Fool’s Gold, John Squire’s guitar playing really does have to be seen and heard to be believed, Reni and Mani proving their worth as the funkiest indie-rock rhythm section and Ian walking out to the front row of the crowd, pressing flesh, borrowing a lad’s camera phone to snap them and him, and generally being adored. Interspersed with the shots of the band are some helicopter shots of Heaton Park and some incredible footage of the crowd- a man on top of an ice cream van, people dancing, a teenage boy on someone’s shoulders, a couple snogging, a girl twirling her shirt round her head. It’s beautifully filmed and incredibly dramatic and puts The Roses right there, centre stage, as the best band of their generation.

If you don’t like them, or weren’t that fussed first time around, you probably won’t find much here- haters gonna hate after all. But this is genuinely a brilliant piece of film making, about a man in love with a band (and many other men like him, and a lot of women too- I never really got why The Stone Roses have been portrayed as such a ‘lad’s band’, they always seemed to have a huge female following), a man in love with a band who soundtracked his and our youth and are soundtracking his and our middle age too.

Previously Unheard Backwards Track 3

6 Responses

  1. The "lad" following bellows the loudest. A girl I met in '98 made me a tape with She Bangs The Drums on it. She was 10 when it was released in 89. We got married in 2005 and she took me to the premier for my birthday. It was ace.

  2. agree, saw it on friday night then went to Finsbury Park Saturday, just great, loved it all. I felt the Warrington fans part was a bit over played, to me he could have cut out bits of it and shown more back stage of the band and the actual gig, of course seeing all the excitement is good but i think i will find myself skipping through that part when i get the DVD. There are too many interviews saying the same and some of the interviews were a bit cringeworthy for me.

  3. I think he included some strange choices in the interviews as it's his signature look for his films, gritty England, 'real people', for me it was over the top, even if they were the people who attended he could have had more variety.

  4. No need to carp just cos you weren't there 😉

  5. got it in one 😉

  6. Nice wee review.I'm looking forwards immensely to Glasgow Green on Saturday. My 4th Roses show, and the first since the reformation. The last time in Glasgow some wee bam punched me full in the face just as the bassline for Adored rumbled into earshot. I could do without that this weekend. I've intentionally kept away from the reviews etc so I'm as surprised as can be, in a good way, I hope. Can't wait to see the film either.

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