Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stop me if you've heard this one before...

Have you ever seen Stardust? No, not the Jane Goldman fantasy bollocks - the David Essex classic.

I'm a big fan of this film, and the prequel That'll Be The Day. In that one, wannabe rock star Jim Maclain works at a holiday camp with Ringo Starr, and life is just one long picnic of birds, bristols and booze. When Adam Faith makes his presence known at the end, Jim's leaving it all behind for the big time.

So in Stardust, Jim's, well, a star. But it all goes to his head is timeless rock and roll fashion.

Never seen either? Then why are you reading this when you could be watching them?

I think David Essex is great in them, just pitch perfect. Of course he's a terrible actor, but this kind of fare is brilliant for him, and remember these films were made when he was a top of the pops. He's not really done much else of note has he. I can only think of Silver Dream Racer (which I've never seen) and lockeeper shitcom The River (which I've also never seen). He was meant to join EastEnders a few years ago but had to pull out because it clashed with his tour. Shame.

Back to the films them. I love the crowd scenes which are meant to be set in the Fifties and Sixties in which all the extras are clearly wearing Seventies clothes - it's Rollermania in that audience and we must just overlook it. Stardust especially is a great cautionary tale about the rock business and to my mind one of the best music biz films ever. All would be pop stars should be made to watch it before they embark on their careers, because this eventually is what happens to all them, more or less. The soundtracks are good too


Matthew Rudd said...

I've always rather liked David Essex, even though he was a superstar in the pop generation prior to mine. First time I heard of him was when Me And My Girl (Nightclubbing) was in the charts, and that was shite.

Rock On is a superb record.

Helen said...

I've always liked him, too. In fact a photo of him graced my bedroom wall in the 70s, as did Donny Osmond, David Cassidy and the Bay City Rollers (I'm sure I told you my tale of meeting them on a shoot for 'Get it Together'). Anyway, yes, I do like that film though haven't seen it for yonks. Incidentally, I did enjoy the Jane Goldman 'bollocks' one, too.

Dr Jane said...

I've seen both of them and while I don't remember the actual films that well I do remember the impact they had. As a young teen I thought David Essex was the most gorgeous bloke ever and I had such a crush on him. Absolutely infatuated. Having read your post I'll never watch them again. I don't want to be disillusioned by watching them through adult eyes. But it was nice to remember them!

Bright Ambassador said...

I LOVE Stardust. I reckon it's one of the greatest rock films ever, certainly on par with Almost Famous and miles better that Slade in Flame.
I remember the first time I saw it and couldn't believe what he got up to with those twins! It was the closest I'd come to porn at that stage.
Apparently a lot of it, like SiF, was based on actual events. I believe the spiking of the dog was inspired by Syd Barrett giving his cat LSD.

Love it, love it, love it.

"*psst* Wanna come to a party?"

Five-Centres said...

BA, you've made me want to rush home and watch them.

Come on Dr Jane, you know you must seek them out immediately.

Ishouldbeworking said...

I had the house to myself one night about a year ago, and gorged myself on both films, back to back. A bit like Jim did with the twins. It was luvverly.

Sky Clearbrook said...

I've always fancied seeing both of these films, but actually never have.

Wasn't David Essex also in some Mutiny On The Bounty thing with Sinitta (which I've also never seen)? Although that might have been a musical or something.

One of my earliest TOTP memories is of him doing Gonna Make You A Star.

Bright Ambassador said...

Sky - I reckon that was a stage musical, called, I think, Tahiti. It was most notable for the fact that Sinitta was semi-naked for her performance. Which I'm sure is what the part demanded.

I've seen Silver Dream Racer once, although I can only remember a couple of things about it:
1 - It starred a very ill-looking Harry H Corbett as a nutty professor type who designed a revolutinary racing motorcycle, the titular Silver Dream Racer.

2 - Our hero, Mr Essex wins the first race this bike is entered into - of course he does - and on his celebratory slow-down lap something gives on the front fork and he crashes into the pit wall, dying in the ensuing inferno. The End.

And let's not forget that Stardust also features Dave Edmonds, Keith Moon, Paul Nicholas (which must have got him the part in Tommy), Peter Duncan, Larry Hagman, James Hazeldine, Marty Wilde, and, er, Karl Howman...

Baroque Pop Radio said...

Great film about the dark side of glam, money, and success. The director Michael Apted continues to do a lot (Amazing Grace, Narnia) and has done the most brilliant documentary series of all - the Up Series. The Up Series consists of a series of documentary films that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old. The children were selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the explicit assumption that each child's social class predetermines their future. Every seven years, the director, Michael Apted, films new material from as many of the fourteen as he can get to participate. Filming for the next installment in the series, 56 Up, is expected in late 2011 or early 2012.

Five-Centres said...

So many fans. We should start a club. I'm digging these out at the weekend and, as ISBW puts it so well, gorging.

Now I'm off the baroque pop radio site. Welcome to you. I hope there's lots of tea and symphony types there!