Sunday, December 29, 2013

Temple's Run

More churlish souls would probably be irritated at the way Julien Temple continually churns out Sex Pistols documentaries.  However, when the documentaries are as good as Never Mind the Baubles, the improbable tale of (what turned out to be) the Sex Pistols' final British gigs on Xmas Day in Huddersfield, the churls should pipe down.  The footage of the gigs themselves (one in the afternoon for the families of striking firemen, at which a gleeful Johnny Rotten cavorted with children to Boney M's Daddy Cool before handing out cake, followed by one in the evening) was limited, but it was given context by interviews with the surviving band members, and by contemporaneous footage of Britain in 1977, from Top of The Pops to TV ads for Smash, and from vox pops to political footage.  While this has all been done before (seemingly, no punk documentary is complete without image of overflowing bins in Leicester Square), it was the sheer diversity of the contextual material that really set Never Mind the Baubles apart, and which really does credit to the researchers and director. The rights-clearances alone must have taken an age.  The additional material showed Britain in the 1970s to be even stranger, even more brown and grey than I remember- the short clip of the man in the pub proudly placing a red hot poker into his pint of cloudy cider before noisily and messily slurping it down is now etched on my retinas.  You've got four more days to watch it on the iPlayer, though with luck, like most of these BBC4 docs, it'll come around again.

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