Why Don’t You Play Us A Tune Pal?

Nicolas Roeg has died aged 90. The films he made in the 1970s and 80s were the type of films you read references to and in those days where things were scarcer you hoped they’d eventually be shown late at night on BBC2 (with a VHS cassette close by). Performance is a counter-cultrue classic, Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg and James Fox all going slowly mad in a big house in Notting Hill Gate (and when it was being made Keith Richards waiting in his car outside the set, paranoid about what Jagger and Pallenberg might be up to). The soundtrack was legendary too and this (with my surname too, which added to it for me) is a genuinely great Jagger vocal with slide guitar from Ry Cooder…

Memo From Turner (Alternate Version)

Mick Jones paid tribute to Roeg, his films and especially Performance in Big Audio Dynamite’s 1985 single E=MC2, peppered with dialogue from the film and a verse about taking a trip in Powis Square with a pop star who dyed his hair, mobsters, gangland slayings and insanity Bohemian style. The opening verse is about Walkabout (1971) and the 3rd verse is about The Man Who Fell To Earth, another late night, video tape film that had the capacity to freak the viewer out.

E=MC2

The chorus took me years to fully work out and I’d sung all kinds of words along to it but I think it goes…

‘Ritual ideas, relativity
Holy buildings, no people prophesy
Time slide, place to hide, nudge reality
Foresight, minds wide, magic imagery oh ho’.

Happy Mondays 1988 masterpiece Bummed was also Roeg and Performance inspired with at least 3 songs referencing the film. Mad Cyril includes dialogue from it including the line that opens the song ‘We’ve been courteous’. The Mondays played it on Granada TV for Wilson’s The Other Side Of Midnight show, a band at their peak…