Just to let you know that my doc about the great Richard Thompson is showing again, featuring…
Billy Connolly‘Richard’s the guy who kicked folk music’s arse’ Bonnie Raitt‘He steers his ship clear of the showbiz slagheap we’re in’ Martin Carthy‘Bob Dylan is the American Richard Thompson’ Linda Thompson‘Richard was a prude and a pain – but so was I’ Loudon Wainwright ‘When they were getting divorced their concerts were great entertainment!’ and Richard Thompson‘I have this love / hate relationship with the suburbs.’
Narration Camera John Peel Chris Morphet
Executive Producer Director/Producer Mark Cooper Paul Bernays
Go to a clip on the BBC page by clicking on the text below:
Think you might enjoy this film of mine with the lovely Jo Brand on BBC4 at 9pm on Valentine’s Night – which I wrote, directed, shot and probably stayed up far too late assembling bits of as well. Of course you can always get pleasure from it on iPlayer once you’re both back from that romantic meal you’re taking your partner out for…
Essentially (and pretty near truthfully in this world of telly conceits) Jo has a problem with kissing, there’s too many people ‘eating each other’s faces off’ in public these days and even a greeting kiss is getting very over familiar, so she sets out to discover what the kiss really means – and has a kiss epiphany of her own.
We had some pretty priceless times making it. Jo was great to work with and get to know a little, not least during the 2 hours we got lost in the Birmingham one way system. I’d seen her do stand up way back in the 80s when she started and remained a fan. The film was made with the invaluable assistance of ace producer Charlie Sever, edited by Dave Richards, whose work graces several other films on these pages, and exec’ed by Claire Whalley who I’ve known for years but never managed to coincide with until now. Altogether a lovely way to end 2011, my year of Scrap (see below). I’ll put up a clip after the film’s gone out.
My recent feature length BBC doc Scrapheap Orchestra. Fronted by the great conductor and musical polymath Charles Hazelwood, the film does exactly what it says on the tin. We asked the UK’s top instrument makers to make a whole orchestra’s worth of instruments out of rubbish. This involved violins made from toilet waste pipes, trombones from plumbing and vases, drums out of river buoys, cymbals from car bonnets and iron beds – and therein a lot of unusual experimentation and painstaking work from the instrument makers.
We next asked the virtuosi BBC Concert Orchestra to, reluctantly at first, play them. Then we told them they had to perform Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture on their scrap instruments in the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. TV producers call this ‘jeopardy’ and the stakes were indeed high – you don’t mess with the Proms.
The film was an enormous undertaking which kept me busy between March and October this year. I’m indebted to the team at Love Productions: Alice Wheater, Kieran Smith, Elena Mourey, Dan Baskerville and Fiz – as well as to Dave Jacobs, the editor, and Linda Brusasco for taking it to the end.
A clip from my film about Yusuf, formerly Cat Stevens, on his days as a rock star connecting with tens of thousands of people every night. The film was presented by Alan Yentob. Apologies for the quality and dodgy edit in this clip, I’ll re upload when I get a chance.
This clip features among others Lou Reed, who was, as they say in New York, a sweetheart. From my film telling the story of four seminal Jazz LPs from that year: Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, Charles Mingus’ Ah Um, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out and Ornette Coleman’s prophetically titled The Shape Of Jazz To Come. In this clip we hear about the Ornette Coleman Quartet’s explosive debut in New York and the upset it caused.
Shot by Paul Lucas, edited by Duncan Weston and exec’ed by the great Jez Nelson, the UK’s premiere Jazz disc jockey.
A clip from my film about the incomparable Ella. An extraordinary life, which her number one fan and subsequently close friend Jim Blackman, featured here, let me into a little of. The film was entirely self shot (and the equipment self carried I might add).
My favourite clip from a film I made about the Queen of Country, Emmylou Harris, centring around one of her greatest songs. The programme was shot by the marvellous Will Jacob, though I shot the more abstract visual overlays in this sequence during a fierce rainstorm that woke me in the middle of the night in Nashville.
Apologies that Emmylou’s first words are a little clipped, I’ll re upload the sequence when I get a chance.
The opening of my BBC film about the singular and influential Jazz Blues singer and pianist Mose Allison. His songs always meant a lot to me so it was more than great to make this with him. Among those singing his praises here are Pete Townsend, Van Morrisson, Loudon Wainwright, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and the late lamented Joel Dorn.
Produced by the irreplaceable Svetlana Palmer. Shot by Chris Morphet, Jeff Baines, Will Jacob and myself.
Clip from a film I made about searing singer songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson, featuring Billy Connolly perfectly expressing the moment when Richard’s then group Fairport Convention pretty much invented Folk Rock.