Saturday, 26 December 2009

Wild Horses.

Yesterday I gave my step dad his christmas present. It was the Rolling Stones documentary 'Gimme Shelter' that covered the Stones US tour of 1969 and ultimately the Altamont free gig in San Francisco. I watched it on TV a few weeks back, but it was a friday night and I was a little drunk and it was just on in the background.

After getting home from christmas dinner at my aunties house we put it on. I've always loved watching the Stones live. Jagger just has this unbelievably ethereal quality to him. He's hypnotizing. Possibly the best rock documentary made, Gimme Shelter shows the build up to the Stones putting on the Altamont gig and how they had to organize it themselves. This is quite strange to watch today, in a time where Knebworth size gigs are ten a penny and organized by numerous sponsors who will flash their logo in every possible place. In '69 the Stones had to hire the Hells Angels to do the security for the gig, and 4 people were killed, one on film, in front of the stage. 

There's something about watching real footage that just gets me. I remember being at the Tate Liverpool a few years back to see a Chapman Brothers exhibition, but on the way up I went into a video room that was showing compiled footage of the cold war and the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union. It had harrowing footage of executions and battles. I've never felt the same emotions that I felt watching that. I felt sick, depressed, gutted, disgusted, but yet I couldn't leave. I felt, for some reason, like I had to finish watching it. Like I owed it to those people.

The concept of the Stones documentary seems so alien to me. The chance to hitch across the US to see the Stones, with no money but some friends and a pocket full of drugs. That's a pilgrimage that doesn't happen any more. Seeing the Stones members watching the footage of the gigs back, soon after it had happened, and seeing their reactions, is a key point to the documentary. They were responsible for the security of the audience, they arranged this huge gig that just failed to achieve what they wanted. They didn't try to justify themselves. To explain anything. But to push the boundaries of what has already been done and what can be achieved can be a fine line between success and disaster. 

Monday, 14 December 2009

I Still Remember.

I've travelled a lot. I've lived in a few different cities. I consider myself a lone ranger. I love being on my own, I love traveling on my own and consider myself, now, not to be reliant on anyone but myself. The build up to coming back to the north has been a bit surreal, as it will be the first time in perhaps a year or more that I've stuck around for more than a week or so, and can arrange to spend a decent amount of time seeing people I want to see.

It's funny how much I seem to forget. Like that PSP film I was in that was filmed 6pm to 6am 2 nights in a row at the Baltic in Newcastle, the one that had the amazing launch party and where I was told by one of the producers that he had to get the director sacked for filming me for his own personal use. Incidentally, I never got a copy of that film. The official one, I mean. Either of them! Or that shoot I did in May for free, for a friends company, and never got copies of the images. The one I heard was really successful. I haven't heard from her since. Remember that 3 car roadtrip we went on with only $150 each, including petrol money? I wish I'd have kept a written and drawn journal from that. Or that time we went to Dublin to see a band, spent the whole night in a pub drinking with some actors and the landlord, who let us stay inside until whenever we wanted to leave. You wanted to sleep on the balcony of the hotel room so pulled the armchair onto it and couldn't get it back inside in the morning. Driving up to Scotland in the middle of the night, pitch black, pouring rain, freezing cold, smoking a joint while driving while on the phone and accidentally turning your lights off when you tried to get your windscreen wipers working again. Remember that? I almost forgot. Almost forgot that I thought I was going to die that night.

This week has made me realize how random things and events are. The people I still see, the people I wish I could still see, the people I wasted my time with. Documenting things is something I've stopped doing. It puzzles me to think of how many photos other people have of me, in the background of some family photo shoot. There are things I've done, people I've known, that I'd like to keep some memento of. I have 3 or 4 shoe boxes in my bedroom of flyers, tickets, trinkets I've found on journeys. But nothing has been added for a while. Therefore I propose to myself that, from now on, I'm going to keep a journal for the times I spend away from home. If only for myself, so I still remember.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Wake Up.

"I'm sure I don't know half the people who come to my house. Indeed, for all I hear, I shouldn't like to." Oscar Wilde