The Hills As Old As Time

I got the Made Of Stone dvd for Christmas, Shane Meadows’ film of the Stone Roses reunion. The live footage is wonderful- Adored at Warrington, an epic Fools Gold at Heaton Park. This rehearsal room version of Waterfall is superb. Four men locked in and enjoying themselves.

On the bonus features disc there’s a really good rehearsal of Don’t Stop too from the same session somewhere in a barn in Cheshire, backwards guitar and everything. Plus the only known footage of Spike Island, with thirty thousand people bouncing up and down in the Mersey estuary, flares and hats flapping in the Widnes night.

At the time of it’s release I couldn’t see the point of an album of Roses remixes. It just seemed like Silvertone milking the cow even further and some of the songs just didn’t appear to need remixing. But this Justin Robertson remix, with the vocals compressed and the guitar isolated above some early 90s beats and some xylophone sounds pretty good to me right now. Although is removing the best drummer of his generation from a remix a wise idea?

Waterfall (Justin Robertson Remix)

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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

Made Of Film

There’s a trailer for Shane Meadows’ film of The Stone Roses re-union at The Guardian’s website. It’s a two minute seventeen seconds long trailer which makes it all look like the most exciting thing ever. Personally I can’t wait to see the footage of the Warrington Parr Hall gig, which unbelievably is almost a year ago. Made Of Stone is released on the 5th of June.