I’ve been watching a hell of a lot of movies lately, from makings-of (Full Tilt Boogie, Snowballed, and Hearts Of Darkness), to cult classics (El Topo, The Third Man, if…, Red Desert, Rififi, One False Move), and recent(ish) releases (Jodorowsky’s Dune, The Double, Frank, Starred Up, When Animals Dream, Stretch).

But mostly, I’ve been watching “music films” (be they documentaries, performances, films with cool soundtracks, or hybrids of all three). It began a couple of months ago with Gimme Shelter. Since then, using this excellent MOJO list as a guide, I’ve watched:


A Hard Day’s Night

The T.A.M.I. Show

The Wicker Man

Cracked Actor

The Blues According To Lightnin’ Hopkins

Heavy Metal Parking Lot

In Bed With Madonna


Rock’n’Roll High School


I’ve been approaching these with a researcher’s zeal, but research for what? I don’t know yet.

There’s something intriguing about those films where the band play themselves, or versions of themselves. A ‘rock star’ is already an assumed persona – inserting that into some other narrative is like placing a story within a story (where reality and fiction blurs is something I keep coming back to). Those films, like Head and A Hard Day’s Night, have a meta-textual element that’s incredibly appealing (next on my list is this Dave Clark Five one directed by none other than John Boorman!).

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