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The time Ian McKellen jammed with the Fleshtones on MTV in 1987


 
Last week, we told you about the short-lived MTV series Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes, a brilliant and unimpeachably hip NYC countercultural olio that the famous pop artist curated and co-hosted for the music network before its final descent into full suck. I combed the Internet for videos from that show in an effort to be as comprehensive as possible. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how many hours I spent looking, actually. But despite all that effort, OF COURSE I missed something brilliant, and lucky I am that an attentive reader clued me in.
 

 
Just before they set off on their Fleshtones Vs. Reality tour in 1987, NYC’s Fleshtones—a great band who’d combined early psych cool, surf-rock twang, R&B swagger, and shitloads of cheeky, high energy fun—taped two segments for Warhol’s show. This confluence of personalities was a perfectly natural one—Fleshtones singer Peter Zaremba was in Warhol’s orbit going back to the days when he lived in a loft across the street from Warhol’s Factory, and he was, at the time, also the host of his own MTV program, the excellent IRS’s The Cutting Edge. (It’s such a damn shame The Fleshtones never really took off big—back in those days, Zaremba seemed to me like such an unfuckwithable ambassador/avatar of cool.) The band first did a madcap lip-syncing of their song “Return of the Leather Kings.”
 

 
And while that was great fun, it’s the second segment they taped that should be far, far better known than it is. In it, the band jams while Ian freakin’ McKellen recites a Shakespearean sonnet. It’s my good fortune that the reader who tipped me off to this happens to be the man who literally wrote the book on the Fleshtones, Sweat: The Story of the Fleshtones, America’s Garage Band, music writer Joe Bonomo. (Among other works, Bonomo also wrote a dandy 33 1/3 on AC/DC.) I quote here from Sweat, page 256:

The pairing with McKellen was fantastic: as the actor dramatically recited Shakespeare’s “Twentieth Sonnet,” the Fleshtones accompanied him in the background, creating ambient psychedelic music. The kind of marriage of high and low art prized by Warhol, the union provided all concerned with kicks. The guys invited McKellen down to the Pyramid with them after the taping, and he gladly came along for some alternative East Side divertissement. (When the performance was released the next year on the Time Bomb compilation, the Fleshtones were able to enjoy one of the more notable songwriting credits in recent pop history: “Zaremba / Milhizer / Spaeth / Warren / Streng / Shakespeare”.)

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Take a drone tour over scenic Snoqualmie Falls, better known as the vista from ‘Twin Peaks’
06.27.2014
06:50 am

Topics:
Television

Tags:
Twin Peaks


Just another beautiful day in scenic Twin Peaks
 
When watching Twin Peaks one tends to get much more caught up in interiors then landscapes—The Waiting Room? Chic and cerebral! Nonetheless, the Washington state wilderness provided a gorgeous backdrop for a psychological thriller, and divested from Laura Palmer, the gorgeous Snoqualmie Falls look way more majestic than sinister. Frankly the most disturbing thing about the drone footage below is the vertigo it induces—the team actually almost lost the copter trying to get the shots.

Fun fact: For the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, the falls have a spiritual significance, as they believed it to be the brithplace of man and woman. The mists were said to connect Heaven to earth, carrying prayers to the creator. In 1992, the National Register of Historic Places nominated Snoqualmie Falls as traditional cultural property, but the energy company that owned the the property fought the listing. In 2009 Puget Sound Energy gave up the fight, and Snoqualmie Falls is now under protection of the National Register.
 

 
Via Welcome to Twin Peaks

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Stewart Lee explains the meaning of the end of ‘Planet of the Apes’
06.26.2014
07:21 pm

Topics:
Television

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Stewart Lee


 
Considering that Americans were only too happy to enthusiastically embrace the all too idiosyncratic Eddie Izzard—how many English crossdressers can sell out the Hollywood Bowl or 1500 seat theaters in Texas?—it’s a shame that his fellow ultra-cerebral and famously circuitous British comic, Stewart Lee is less well-known on these shores. Frankly that seems unlikely to change anytime soon for the smartypants stand-up who casually drops dog whistle references to Karlheinz Stockhausen, Albert Ayler and John Cage in his act. I just can’t see Lee dumbing down his high IQ, gleefully elitist comedy for America. I’m not sure he could if he wanted and I very much doubt that it’s something the “officially 41st best stand-up” in Britain (“ever”) has even aspired to.

Better late than never (it aired in the UK back in March) I’m currently in the middle of series three of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, Lee’s highly rated BBC Two program. Like the series before it, the show features Lee’s (seemingly) improvisational musings, meandering anecdotes and rambling philosophical discursions with his highly original method of simultaneously deconstructing his stand-up comedy about stand up comedy whilst he is delivering it. (There’s even one camera reserved to address the home audience directly about what’s going on in the room.) Lee is aided this time around by the dark lord of comedy Chris Morris acting as his non sequitur confessor, quasi-shrink and “Number Two” in short cutaways from the performance.
 

 
If you are new to Stewart Lee’s work, series three is a great place to start and Lee’s at the height of his powers. Some feel that Lee is hit or miss (my wife is one of them, so is this guy who writes for The Telegraph) but so far series three has blown me away and each episode seen me laughing through tears. The first episode—nominally about pornography and the Internet, or at least it starts out that way was a masterpiece of sustained, highly complex, intricately woven anti-comedy that had elements of Bob Newhart (when you see it, I refer to the incredible bit where he’s on the telephone), Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, and yes Eddie Izzard, but still very different, too. The man can play a multi-level chess game with words and ideas. Far from being merely “the 41st best stand-up” (“ever”) I’d suggest instead that when he’s on, Lee is vying with Doug Stanhope for the title of the current world heavyweight champion of deep comedy. The man is good. Damned good. Lee’s knife is fucking sharp. When he got to the end, the way he wrapped it all up so neatly, I wanted to give him a standing ovation in our living room. That shit required concentration! (Sadly it’s the the sole episode from the entire series not to be found on YouTube, Vimeo or Daily Motion).

Here’s something from the third episode, “Satire”: Lee on the meaning of the end of Planet of the Apes...
 

 
Episode 3, “Context” about words, racism, political correctness and Lee’s imaginary black wife. You have to stay with him and pay attention, at minimum, that’s the requirement. I like that. What working comic is “smarter” than Stewart Lee?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Iggy Pop and the roots of his ‘white suburban delinquent music’
06.26.2014
08:16 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Iggy Pop
The Stooges


 
James Newell Osterberg, Jr. was raised on a trailer park in Michigan, Carpenter Rd, just off old U.S. Route 23. His parents were low-wage, lower middle class, but as Iggy Pop later said, the people in the trailer park were “nicer than some of the more accomplished members of our society.”

Osterberg was friends with a family from Tennessee who killed a chicken once a week for Sunday dinner by asphyxiating it on a tail pipe. The family had a son who played Duane Eddy-type rock on a guitar. It was the young James’ first taste of inspirational “working class music”—the grip and thrill of those goosebump chords gave him a sense of ambition and a growing awareness of the chip on his shoulder.

At thirteen Osterberg attended school in Ann Arbor, where he met kids who had guitars, amplifiers and albums by Ray Charles, Duane Eddy and Elvis—that was when he got “seriously corrupted.”

School was an annoying “buzz” (so Iggy has claimed) that he had to get away from—music was a passion which he saw as a way out. He became drummer with a high school band The Iguanas—hence his nickname Iggy. Like a lot of drummers, Iggy wanted to get out from round back and up front under the spotlight. He honed his skills playing drums with black R&B bands across the state, as Iggy said in Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain’s Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk:

So I hooked up with Sam Lay. He was playing with Jimmy Cotton and I’d go see them play and learned what I could. And very occasionally, I would get to sit in, I’d get a cheap gig for five or ten bucks. I played for Johnny Young once—he was hired to play for a white church group, and I could play cheap, so he let me play.

It was a thrill, you know? It was a thrill to be really close to some of those guys—they all had attitude, like jive motherfuckers, you know? What I noticed about these black guys was that their music was like honey off their fingers. Real childlike and charming in its simplicity. It was just a very natural mode of expression and life-style. They were drunk all the time and it was sexy-sexy and dudey-dudey, and it was just a bunch of guys that didn’t want to work and who played good.

I realized that these guys were way over my head, and that what they were doing was so natural to them that it was ridiculous for me to make a studious copy of it, which is what most white bands did.

One night Iggy went down to the sewage treatment plant by the Loop to smoke a joint, where he thought:

What you got to do is play your own simple blues. I could describe my experience based on the way those guys explained theirs…

So that’s what I did. I appropriated a lot of their vocal forms, and also their turns of phrase—either heard or misheard or twisted from blues songs. So “I Wanna Be Your Dog” is probably my mishearing of “Baby Please Don’t Go.”

Iggy was creating “white suburban delinquent music.”

In 2004, when Iggy and The Stooges were on a European tour, the then leather-fleshed, diamond-eyed 57-year-old singer was interviewed at length about his life and career by Melvyn Bragg for The South Bank Show.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Debbie Harry, Ramones, Nick Rhodes, Courtney Love and more on MTV’s ‘Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes’


 
In December of 2010, I visited the Andy Warhol Enterprises exhibit then being held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It was an excellent full-career retrospective, loaded with rare goodies, and generously tilted toward his early, pre-Factory commercial work, which I prefer to his more famous silkscreens (commence calling for my skull on a pike, I don’t care). But as much as I was enjoying the early books and the blotted-ink drawings of shoes, I was surprised by a trip down amnesia lane that came at the end of the exhibit, a video installation of one of Warhol’s last projects, the show he produced and co-hosted (with Debbie Harry) for MTV called Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes. The name of the show referred to Warhol’s famous quip “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Episodes of the program were actually 30 minutes in length. #themoreyouknow
 

Warhol with Debbie Harry, dressed by Stephen Sprouse.
 
I was an arty kid, so I knew perfectly well who Warhol was (some of my friends only learned of his existence from that show, believe it or not), and so I never missed it. Though it wasn’t too hard to catch them all—as the series was prematurely ended by Warhol’s 1987 death, there were only five episodes, the last of which was mainly a memorial. But while it was on, it was glorious. Although the program featured lots of marquee names, befitting Warhol’s obsession with celebrity and celebrities, it also highlighted NYC downtown fashion, art, and music phenomena. Mind-expanding stuff for a midwestern kid, and stuff which would have otherwise been entirely inaccessible, since Warhol’s previous television ventures, Fashion and Andy Warhol’s TV, were limited to NYC cable.

And unless you visit the Warhol Museum or a traveling retrospective, the program itself is now pretty well inaccessible. Few things have been more damnably hard to find streaming than episodes of 15 Minutes, and to my complete bafflement, the Warhol Museum store doesn’t offer a home video. Much of what little can be found is fuzzy VHS home recordings, but it gives an adequate taste of how deep the show could go—and remember, this was on MTV.
 

 

 
It gets a good bit better with this clip of Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes taking the viewer on a tour of Manhattan nightclubs The Palladium and AREA (note future Twin Peaks actor Michael J. Anderson as the garden gnome.)
 

 
KONK were an amazing dance-punk band of the era. You may recognize the drummer, Richard Edson, an original member of Sonic Youth, and co-star of the Jim Jarmusch film Stranger Than Paradise.
 

 
This Ramones interview ends with a live, not lip-synced, performance of “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg.”

 
The last bit footage I’ve found is a jaw-dropper—an interview segment with a 21ish, pre-fame Courtney Love!
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Crazy About One Direction’: Must-see documentary about wildly obsessive boy band fans
06.24.2014
01:52 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
One Direction
Daisy Asquith


 
Crazed fandom is a very weird phenomenon. For whatever complex reasons, fame—a concept which barely existed 150 years ago—is a very powerful thing and people can act mighty strange when confronted with it or in the presence of someone well-known. A few years back, I attended the premiere of the movie version of the Hairspray musical. After I’d parked the car, it became difficult to get anywhere near the theater itself as there was such a dense crush of fans, tightly packed and blocking the way in every direction. As I finally got across the street from where I needed to be, every time a celebrity would arrive, there would be a ton of flashbulbs going off and loud squeals of delight from the crowd. When Christopher Walken strolled down the red carpet, I watched as five young black girls, all preteens, went completely bonkers for him, even crying and sobbing! Christopher fucking Walken. I kid you not. Does that make any sense? Not really, but that’s just what a brush with fame does to some people…

At the Sheffield Doc/Fest a few weeks ago, Tara and I went to a panel about documentaries that examine obsessive fandom. The participants were Jeanie Finlay, who directed the upcoming documentary on Orion, the masked Elvis impersonator; Lucy Robinson, lecturer on modern British history at the University of Sussex; Nicholas Abrahams, co-director with Jeremy Deller of The Posters Came from the Walls about Depeche Mode fans behind the Iron Curtain; and Daisy Asquith, a Bafta-nominated documentarian who made Crazy About One Direction for Channel 4. During the discussion, Asquith described her experiences getting death threats after One Directioners felt they’d been portrayed poorly—“insane” might be the word I’m looking for—in her film. I made a mental note to watch the doc, which she woefully mentioned was posted all over the Internet, when we got back to Los Angeles.

Admittedly the One Direction phenomenon had already gone from the UK version of X-Factor to Madison Square Garden before I’d ever even heard of them. A few years back, an old friend of mine emailed me from MSG where she had taken her then 9-year-old daughter and I googled them. Apparently they were massive. More massive than massive. As big as the Beatles. I’ve still never heard or know any of their songs, but then again I’m not exactly in their target demographic am I?

Which is not to say that this film wasn’t of great interest, because it’s fucking fascinating.

At the beginning of Crazy About One Direction the viewer is teased with what’s to come, including a glimpse of some homoerotic 1D fan fiction featuring the group’s Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles. The subset of Directioners, as their fans are known, who obsess about Louis and Harry getting jiggy with it are called “Larryshippers,” a portmanteau of both of their names, “relationship” and “worship.”
 

 
In case you’re wondering why the teen fans of an ostensibly heterosexual boy band would fantasize about the objects of their own sexual yearnings getting off with each other, this is pretty much the norm for a predominantly female phenomenon known as “slash fiction.” Captain Kirk makes tender love to Mr. Spock. Starsky fucks Hutch, and so forth. There is just no other girl there with Harry and Louis, because THAT BITCH would spoil the fantasy. How actively the band’s management and crack public relations experts might exploit this, or if it began and remains an organic fan phenomenon is difficult to say, but there was much reporting on the (false) rumor that several dozen Larryshippers had killed themselves after watching Asquith’s television documentary (Google #RIPLarryShippers).

The film features an amusing scene of what is literally a pack of Directioners who have managed to get past hotel security and knock on a door they believe Harry Styles is sleeping behind. He’s not, as they soon find out via Twitter (each member of 1D have over ten million Twitter followers) leaving these feral middle class teenage stalkers deflated because their Harry doesn’t even know that they exist. I pondered watching that scene what would have had happened had he been there and opened the door. Probably Styles being ripped apart like a piece of chicken by these daddy-funded she-wolves.

Imagine what it’s like to be one of literally millions of girls who believe that they are going to marry Harry. I’m sure it gets quite fierce in the competitive trenches of 1D fandom. One girl says she wouldn’t want to date one of them because of Twitter bullies: “I wouldn’t like girls telling me to die and stuff.” Because they would! Now imagine what it was like to be Taylor Swift who famously dated Harry Styles and wrote “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” about him. These girls loathe her. The abuse she must have absorbed for that!
 

 
After Channel 4 aired Crazy About One Direction, much online hatred was directed also towards director Asquith via her Twitter account. Additionally some of the fans who appeared in the film, especially the Larryshippers and the more stalkery girls, were singled out for insults and death threats for misrepresenting 1D fandom. They take it quite seriously, apparently. I’d better quit while I’m still ahead…
 

 
Bonus, a disgruntled Directioner spouts off on YouTube. Hitler gets mentioned:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Starfish and Coffee’: Prince jams with The Muppets, 1997
06.24.2014
07:49 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Prince

Prince and the Muppets
 
In 1997 Prince appeared on ABC’s Muppets Tonight, on which he seems totally at home. This was the 1990s, so his Purple Badness was still in his “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince” phase—there’s even a joke about it here. This is the full video, complete with Dutch subtitles for your convenience. After a few amusing bits of business, including a weird one where Prince plays briefly with “The Hoo-Haw Ha Ha Ha Hayseed Band,” the real goodness begins around the 13:30 mark.
 
Prince
 
At the commissary, Rizzo the Rat challenges Prince to write a song about that day’s breakfast menu, and the result is “Starfish and Coffee.” It’s not exactly “Little Red Corvette,” but it’s pretty delightful.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Tim Burton’s bonkers take on ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ 1982
06.19.2014
08:23 am

Topics:
Television

Tags:
Tim Burton


 
This offbeat Disney Channel Halloween special originally aired—and aired once—on October 31, 1983 at 10:30 at night. Since then, it’s only been shown at the big Burton retrospective that was at the Museum of Modern Art in 2009/10 and in a Burton-themed show programmed by the Cinémathèque Française that traveled in 2012.

About a week ago, the special was uploaded to a torrent tracker by someone who had obviously taped it off cable in the early 80s and it’s been on YouTube since a few days ago. Watch it now, who knows how long it’ll be there.


 
Burton’s revisioning of the Brothers Grimm tale involved a cast of Japanese actors, creepy stop-motion animation and drag. It was shot on 16mm for a little over $116,000. I think this is one of his BEST ever films. It’s really cuckoo, and reminds me A LOT of the late Mike Kelley’s work (Speaking of, if you live in Los Angeles and miss the big Mike Kelley retrospective at MOCA, you’re crazy.)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Beastie Boys and the Butthole Surfers, live on NYC cable access TV, 1984
06.18.2014
07:32 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Butthole Surfers
Beastie Boys

Beastie Boys & Butthole Surfers
 
Ah, 1984, back when hardly anyone knew who the Beastie Boys and the Butthole Surfers were, and even a lowly New York City cable access show like The Scott and Gary Show could snag them—because nobody else was booking them yet! This is some kind of retrospective episode of the show (lasting about 30 minutes) in which Scott Lewis and Gary Winter reminisce about some of the show’s most memorable moments. The Beasties appeared in January 1984, not long after their pranky single “Cooky Puss” had made the rounds, and the Buttholes’ appearance dates from October 1984—their first visit to New York. (They popped up on MTV the next day.)

The Beastie Boys were two solid years away from the release of Licensed to Ill, and if I understand their history correctly, they hadn’t really considered doing rap in any serious way yet. Meanwhile, the Butthole Surfers had a single solitary EP to their name when they appeared on the show.
 
Beastie Boys
 
The Beastie Boys are frankly pretty terrible, prompting the thought that a lateral shift from feckless hardcore to feckless rap was a pretty good career move! Mike D. is in charge of the vocals, Ad-Rock is on the guitar, and MCA gamely tries to keep up on the bass. The drummer is Kate Schellenbach, who would later be in Luscious Jackson. Actually, Schellenbach probably has the best moves of anyone here.

How did I miss what an incredible ham/camera-hog Mike D. is? I don’t think I knew that before, I always thought that Ad-Rock was the hammy one. Well, there’s a reason that Mike D. has the mic here, and in the interview portion afterwards, he obstinately refuses to cede control to Scott, forgetting that he’s supposed to speak into the mic he’s clutching for it to function properly. (Side note: It was interesting to hear Mike D. confess that he attended Vassar briefly. I went to Vassar a few years later, and we would whisper this “rumor” that one of the Beasties had dropped out of Vassar…. this was all a couple years before Paul’s Boutique came out.)
 
Butthole Surfers
 
The best adjective for the Butthole Surfers segment is “sweaty.” The Buttholes’ segment is a salutary reminder of the effectiveness of using two drummers—man, that shit works really good. If you have two drummers going at it balls-out, you can flail around on the guitar and throw yourself all over the stage, and it’s going to sound good. (I think Kid Millions has already figured this out.) Also, disrobing is a viable strategy. Gibby has spectacular polka-dotted boxers, and supports someone named Gilbert A. Rodriguez for county treasurer. By the time they’d gotten to October, Scott and Gary had figured out how to superimpose images, so sometimes the footage of the band will fade to an image of a mushroom cloud or something, it’s all pretty rad. Afterwards, Scott asks the audience, “Where else are you gonna see the Butthole Surfers?” and receives the reply “Uganda,” in return.

The commonality between the two clips is obviously Scott’s lack of authority as the host, which is actually kind of charming.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Peter McDougall, the hard-man of British TV drama
06.17.2014
08:32 am

Topics:
Literature
Television

Tags:
Peter McDougall
drama

0011llagoudcm.jpg
Just A Boy’s Game

Though there is a mass availability of choice most of today’s television dramas are cut to the same unimaginative pattern. Indeed, there are computer programs to help writers “craft” their material to fit a dramatic template. These writers are helped by script editors trained to implement politically motivated agendas and then focus group administrators who screen the “finished” dramas to selected audiences to gauge their responses, influencing the creators to make changes accordingly. The producers are usually more concerned with maintaining this farce rather than allowing originality and talent to flourish. In other words, the writer is secondary, or is part of a team of “professionals,” performing dogs who bark for the needs of their employers. In a world of off-the-peg TV drama, truly original writing is a rare thing. 

Once, writing and writers were respected and allowed the freedom to create, to imagine, to write. One series, which allowed such freedom was the BBC’s Play for Today (perviously known as The Wednesday Play), which produced work by the likes of Dennis Potter, David Mercer, Caryl Churchill, Howard Brenton, Barrie Keefe, and Stephen Poliakoff. Play for Today offered imaginative, issue-based, social drama. One of the single most important writers to come out of this strand was Peter McDougall, whose plays put real working class experience on television for the first time—unfiltered from middle class agendas.
 
001llaguodcm.jpg
Peter McDougall at his home in Glasgow.
 
McDougall once gave me the simple advice that every writer should heed:

“Write about what you know.”

That’s what McDougall did—he wrote from his own experiences, writing down on wee bits of paper stories, dialogue, he was at first ashamed to show anyone until one day when he was working as a painter and decorator in London, the actor and writer Colin Welland told him to write about his life. This Peter did: starting with his adventures as an apprentice boy twirling the baton on Orange walks, those sectarian parades where Protestants in Scotland and Northern Ireland celebrate Prince William of Orange’s victory over the Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. This he turned into the Prix Italia winning drama Just A Boy’s Game (1975), one of the most controversial plays ever screened on British television, as it questioned the brutality of sectarian violence then as now endemic in Scottish society. It was so controversial that the Glasgow police banned the filming of the drama;s central Orange walk from the from city in fear of “bloodshed on the streets.” The production was forced to relocate to more genteel Edinburgh to film.

Born in Greenock in 1947, McDougall left school at fourteen and started his working life in Glasgow’s shipyards, where he first met and worked alongside Billy Connolly. As McDougall has recounted, working in the shipyards was brutal, the conditions so cold in winter that skin stuck to the iron rungs on ladders. His experience in the shipyards and his knowledge of the people he worked alongside were incorporated into his most notorious drama Just A Boy’s Game (1979).

Just A Boy’s Game was a morally complex drama that starred singer Frankie Miller as the grandson of a local hardman, who wants to win his respect. The film was described by Martin Scorsese as Scotland’s Mean Streets, while playwright Tom Stoppard thought the script contained some of the best dialogue ever written. The play opens with a bloody razor gang attack in a small night club and ends with a brutal fight between Miller’s gang and an up-coming younger generation of thugs, before a powerful final scene between Miller’s character and his grandfather.

Not all of McDougall’s work is about violence—he wrote a beautiful, moving and funny drama The Elephant’s Graveyard (1976), a kind of modern-day ghost story, which starred Jon Morrison and Billy Connolly as two men running away from the own separate problems. He also wrote the powerful and harrowing drama on Edinburgh drug dealers and heroin addiction, long before Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, called Shoot for the Sun (1986), which starred Brian Cox and Jimmy Nail, and then a drama about the life of a US Navy shore patrol officer based in Greenock, Down Where the Buffalo Go (1988), which starred Harvey Keitel.

His last major drama, Down Among the Big Boys (1993), was originally intended as a three-part series focussing on different characters form the same story—a bank heist—which was eventually cut down to a single drama starring Billy Connolly and singer Maggie Bell.

McDougall still writes, though these days mainly plays for the stage, as TV wants dramas that will satisfy focus groups, advertisers and fit the constricting formatted structure of today’s programmes. Intelligence isn’t required, good writing isn’t required, and experience certainly isn’t necessary for today’s television dramas.

However, for those who are serious about writing, and serious about learning how to write, then this documentary on Peter McDougall will help supply the information and inspiration on how best to write.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Peter McDougall’s classic gangland film ‘Just A Boy’s Game’ starring singer Frankie Miller

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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