THIS JOURNAL DOCUMENTS MY INTAKE OF ONE BOOK, ZINE, CD OR DVD A DAY. RATINGS ARE: ***** = Godhead, **** = Great, *** = Good, ** = Fair, * = Why Bother?

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Smiths - Still Ill (***)

The Smiths - Still Ill
Petal, DVD, 91 minutes, 2007

I picked this up at the Pratt Library's new Southeast Anchor Library the other day while perusing their impressive music DVDs section. This interesting program, which looks to be a lo-fi bootleg, has an unnamed interviewer digging deep into the minds of songwriters Morrissey and Johnny Marr like James Lipton on The Actor's Studio. In probing their work, THE SMITHS - STILL ILL presents three unedited interviews with a young Morrissey and Marr during the band's heights of fame. The first interview with Morrissey seems to be from early on in the band's career, and the later Morrissey and Marr interviews are during the recording and release of the last Smiths album, Strangeways Here We Come.

I like the bootleg quality. There's much noise and bleed on the original (PAL?) videotape - you can see in parts where the video has been recorded over another tape and you can hear audio "ghosts." Still, it's fascinating to see a surprisingly open young Morrisey talk at length and at relative ease about his life and career with with the Smiths. Boy he licks his lips a lot - very reptilian! And the Marr interview seems to have lots of stops and edits in it - no doubt a reflection of Marr's pilled-up restless energy. You can just imagine the chain-smoking Marr taking a break to buy a pack of fags or take an off-camera snort. Anyway, I found the Morrissey interviews to be fascinatingly intimate, as they are conducted in seeming "real time," like a ordinary conversation and not a bell-s-and-whistles BH1 or MTV packaged presentation.

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