i am getting the rather distinct feeling that, this December, posts which are not of Christmas all relate to the vibes here. no bad thing, look you see, as for the most part vibes and Christmas are most splendid things indeed, to be sure.
and what better way to bring these two great things together than through the conduit of Wales' greatest ever Yuletide rock exponents, the loveable rogues called Manic Street Preachers?
i bought - totes on day of release - No Manifesto : a film about Manic Street Preachers some two years ago. we, as in my (considerably) better half and i, were very keen to see it as we love the band and were aware that a number of issues had delayed the release of this "rockumentary" by several years. but, you know, life gets in the way, and it was only the evening that just passed that we decided to make the time to bear witness to it.
why last night? i was looking for something to watch, and this disc was sat there. as yesterday marked 14 years since we saw the band in concert, it made sense to have a bit of a gander.
thoughts on the film? as wonderful and as glorious as the band is, for all the very same reasons that the band are wonderful and glorious. which is to say that at times it is, in very equal measures, as frustrating as it is genius, as much as you want to hate it and walk away from it you cannot help but love it and get obsessed by it.
there is an incredibly strange, arguably unique, relationship between the band and the fan. sure, every proper, recognized musical act - and probably Mr Kim Kardassian too - has obsessive fans. i'm not convinced, though, that many if any have the ability to be as all consuming as the Manics, and then yet see the same fans wander around like a quite, normal life suggests when it is time to switch the Manic button off.
the premise of the documentary is, it seems, to capture the essence of the band for those that already love them. there's no overt attempt to sell the musicians or their music to a new audience. i think the makers, who i know made huge sacrifices to create this documentary, had no intention of doing anything beyond capturing the band and what they meant to both them and the fans.
any particular interesting insights or i didn't know that moments? sort of. if we take the view of looking at it from the four "classic" members of the band, 50% are exactly as you imagined, 25% is a surprise and the final 25% is captured in the same way as rock stars no longer with us always tend to be.
clarification on the above? sure.
that's Nicky Wire in his garden. nice sundial, chap. he is part of the 50%. a brief glimpse of his home shows it to be sparse in a minimalist way of style and decor, with all glitter pens, glitter glue sticks and tubes of glitter all nice and neatly organized for when he feels like beautifying something.
the other 50% is James Dean Bradfield. here he is, as one might expect, in his kitchen, creating an absolutely massive fry up, swilling away on coffee and engaging in a prolific, very impressive amount of Marlboro smoking.
and that's drummer Sean Moore engaged in some sharp shooting with big bullets and an even bigger shooting stick. this would represent the 25% surprise element. as Sean has something of a reputation for being "the quiet one at the back", i don't think anyone saw this coming.
and there, in the middle of this archive footage, is Richey as the final 25%. he is, whether alive or dead, no longer with us. as a consequence, he's captured - perhaps immortalised - in this film as the classical, always on, 24 hour a day pure rock and roll type.
the interesting aspect of the insights into their off-stage lives is that they are revealing without being intrusive or tacky. there's no "look at how massive all my houses are" stuff like you get whenever the cameras point at the Beatles or the Stones, for instance. but there's also no plea for poverty off them.
i would have thought most as-is fans, like me, would have got this DVD (or Blu Ray) as soon as it came out. new fans, however, might struggle. i noticed on Amazon that used copies go for a hefty fee, with around £25 being quoted. fans not wishing to feel fleeced, i am sure, will ask a fellow fan for a borrow of a copy.
you can, it seems, get it on certain "streaming" versions at a not unreasonable fee. although i suspect that the "streaming" versions come sans extras, which is a shame. in time respects there's more extras than there is documentary, including a handful of selections from the 2005 tour.
one of the great dangers in this world is assuming that everyone thinks the same as you, sees the same as you and knows the same as you. in this respect, it is simplistic to say that all Manics fans would be aware of this documentary. if you are a fan and you are not, as such, then yes, it's worth your time finding it.
other points of frustration in the documentary? the obsession with America, and the American fans. this comes about because the band seem to have a "thing" for being a big hit in America. whilst yes, i can appreciate that it's tough to be a Manics fan in America, i can assure you, with some experience, that it's also tough if your a Manics fan in Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc. i sometimes think that the band simply has no idea how many lives they have touched in so many parts of the world.
why am i concentrating on the frustrations? it's just the way it is with the dynamics of loving this band. the unsaid truth is always that what they do is always superior to the rest, so with that accepted you can just all get along with a good old fashioned whine.
would someone unfamiliar with the music of Manic Street Preachers get on all right with this documentary? that's something that i'd find interesting to learn. at times in No Manifesto it feels like the music is not important enough to be even a secondary concern to understanding what's important to the band. this is exemplified best by the frequent bashing of Lifeblood, one of their finest works that the band don't like as it was something of a commercial flop. well, guns, rakes and fry ups do not come free i suppose, but still.
a belated, and very big, thanks to Elizabeth and the team that slaved away for so very long to make this documentary and further make it available to fans at large. you really have done an outstanding job in capturing what it means to be captivated by this band.
i, as ever, can only hope this insight adds some value somewhere to someone!
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!