Monday, May 16, 2005

Born To Boogie DVD review

Well not really a review but memories from the Pre-Release screening. So as promised there...

Theme for a dragon

It felt very strange sitting there in the dark at the advance screening of the Born To Boogie DVD. I was close to being one of the oldest there apart from those who had been active participants at the time. I was not a T.Rex fan; I was a Tyrannosaurus Rex fan. Seeing the sights and sound of that era took me into flashback. I was one of the earlier would-be hippy generation. Like many I listened to John Peel's late show under the bedclothes and was introduced to many a strange musik. That was pre-Deborah (08-May-1968) as I rushed out to order it as soon as it was announced. I continued to buy every single and album until early 1972 (Telegram Sam and Electric Warrior were my last purchases).

The John Peel years
Following the sad passing of John, Michael Heatley rushed out not a biography but "An Appreciation" entitled "John Peel: A Life in Music" (ISBN: 1843171570). A passable non-biography covering the main chronological aspects of JP's life and giving, of course, many mentions of Marc, the early support and the subsequent parting. What I had not appreciated was how much a part of my life John had been. Not just through my listening to him but also my school and college friends. Pete at college was heavily into Zappa and Captain Beefheart and who do you think introduced those to the British public? John occasionally played the weird poet Ivor Cutler who I even went to see live at the Roundhouse.

The Fraudster years
I feel something of a fraud - not a real fan - I am not even sure how many times I saw Marc. You would think that would be indelibly engraved in my memory but not so. I thought I had seen him twice: once at an open-air concert as a Tyrannosaurus duo and once as a T.Rex quartet. When my parents moved house I thought I had chucked the only ticket stub I had. Subsequently I found three more. So did I mis-remember that discard? Was it one of the three or not? Had I seen him four or three times?

The Dandy years
And then there were the clothes. God that took me back as well! I had the full set: the crushed velvet flares, the tank top, the floppy rounded shirt collar and, of course, the platform sole boots. A special trip to London from boondocks Kenilworth down to Camden Town for 2-inch soles and 4 inch heels; although I wimped out and went for brown not silver. I remember Dad trying them on and strutting the living room carpet saying they made him feel like John Wayne! I still have those boots at the back of the cupboard, I just cannot bear to chuck them - the excuse is "spray them silver for a fancy dress party". But the flared jeans had to go, I am no longer waist 28", inside leg 32".

The Absentee years
Then I drifted away. I never bought past EW. Well actually I did but only out of the remaindered bin or second hand not hot off the presses. The college years introduced me to Madonna and Wam! Like a Virgin and Wake me up Before You Go-Go. And where are they now? ABC, Eurythmics and... Even so it was a shock on my birthday to hear of Marc's death. I was on a small Greek island, Andros, with Sheridan, and on the 20th of September, as it was my 25th birthday, we treated ourselves to a copy of The Times for the crossword and news of dear old Blighty. There in a small item, overshadowed by the passing of The King, was the news.

That night, for the only time on that fateful holiday (for more reasons than one) I switched from Amstel to Retsina. Drank more than was necessary and head-butted the low-hanging veranda on the way out. That hurt.

The Rediscovery years
Then in February 1996 I briefly acquired a CompuServe account through work for use with a geographically dispersed project. I discovered AltaVista (how did they lose the plot to Google?) and first typed in my name and second Marc Bolan. So he was never far below the surface. What did I find but The Ancients Scrolls of Beltane and Ole Catblack's Devotional site. The former was the unique Rickster, the latter I never found out who he was and he later dropped off the radar. Rick however remained a global force in preserving Marc's memory. So fast forward through the TillDawn Years, the album reviews, the re-listening to all the albums grooved into my brain.

And that is how I came to be sitting in a darkened cinema watching Born To Boogie. Tomorrow I will rush down to Virgin Megastore at Tottenham Court Road and treat myself to a serious chunk of nostalgia.

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