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Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon ‘Classic Albums’ doco on DVD.

Interesting to hear Roger Waters emphasise the empathy theme, which started (he says) with Echoes way back on Meddle. Also interesting to watch Dave and Alan Parsons isolate the tracks on the original tape, to prize apart individual overdubs and reveal how much work went into the mix, all the double tracking and effects, even the early use of sampling with the Money cash track — one very long tape wound around a mic stand. Yes, all the bits were kept for posterity. Interesting to watch Dave at the pedal steel — such a delicate touch. Actually, one mightily impressive impression was just how gentle and delicate all the musical parts are — especially the bit part overdubs, especially the piano (two to three separate dubs on some tracks) — they are amazingly simple, apposite and above all, when considering how much space they left for everything else, gentle. An amazing statement of band unity and positivity (despite a few lyric gaps); coherent and unified as a unit, open and listening, and hence emotionally affecting and wide-ranging as a musical statement. Had never fully appreciated Rick Wright’s place and ability. Hadn’t fully absorbed the power of leaving things open and letting them run (the Time drum intro). Or the sheer power of removing all the echoes and effects from the track between solos in Money, where it’s stripped back to the raw for the Floyd’s habitual funky break. And then turned back on. Dave is not only a superbly lyrical lead guitarist, he’s one of my fave rhythm players. So much work in the mix, yet so much simplicity. Though I wished they’d come clean and say that Eclipse was inspired by acid.

A superlatively subtle, obscene (I know, mincing my adjectives) routine by Ali G in da USA. In discussing IUDs with a sex educator (here’s how to apply a condom to a negro dong), Ali explains how once the aerial broke off when he stuck his mobile up his girl’s punani ‘cos he had it set to vibrate. And how he still got really good reception ‘cos ‘is friend rang up and had a conversation with him, talking down her punani. She got good reception down there, unlike when ‘e put it in his grandma’s fridge. And the woman, unfazed, saying well, ‘I learn something new every day in this job.’ The comedy of embarrassment.

Also, Denys Arcand’s The Barbarian Invasions. Nicely paced and balanced (short/long vignettes) study of friendship and departure/closure. Into death, that is. Shot in slightly green-yellow filter, like so much bad hospital lighting. A large ensemble cast with just the right amount of individuation. The mores of post-divorce/pre-divorce relations and affairs, and the implication that affairs are just as much part of living as food and wine. The frankness of middle age maturity blended with mocked academic paradigms (like philosophical problems that rightly cease to matter); the occasional stupidity of seduction (a Roth hint methinks); and a rather distinctive balancing of empathy and cynicism — traits supremely difficult to harmonise, here effortless. The cynicism of moneyed ease buying its way into everything, even false sympathy; and the genuinely ‘present’ empathy of company, recollection, laughter. Also some rather deep attacks on Faith and the Church, slipped in for weight. A film surprisingly lacking in plot tension though never meandering, and yet honestly choosing not to resolve the issue of marriage/affairs and the emotional fallout for wives, children etc. Enough humour to keep it bouncing (and some judiciously cut out, in the extra scenes), enough cynicism to ‘keep it real’. It all comes down to personality. The context of 9/11 and the heathen at the borders coulda been dropped.

Richard Pryor Live on Stage, Long Beach, California, 1979, DVD.

Beginning with the house lights still on, Pryor rushing on stage, and masses of late people shuffling back, actually an astounding mass of late folks, and he exploits it to the full. ‘The niggaz done stole the white people’s seats!’ Also a moron taking photos for a full five minutes. Pryor just unloads. Not quite as acidic or acerbic or even spaced-out as some of his routines, there’s still enough familiar material here (re the box set) to enjoy watching him act and fill it out. Naturally he makes far more sense visually/physically, hence it’s clear why the box set chose the verbally acute stuff. He fully uses the stage and dances with comedic energy. Dances in the same sense Ali could be said to, and he does Ali well. His imitation of a woman peeing in the woods, and of a deer drinking by some water and surprised by some huntin’ folk, are intensely funny registrations of face and expression. The extras from Live and Smokin’ and the Richard Pryor Show were decidedly flat.

posted by rino breebaart  # 1:01 pm
Yeah - I love that Pryor concert film, as technically slipshod as it is. The way the man impersonates animals is extraordinary. Not in a lame manner, cheapness for comedy, some dog looking for a bone, but as a subset of humanity, things that Pryor can have a real conversation with. Like when the dog chats to Pryor after his woman leaves - really heart to heart, then ends it with "You know I'm gonna try and bite you in the ass tomorrow". Because he has to, he's a dog. Evidently.

That's Pryor's gift, and the pain and humour and undeniable humanity in his comedy. Everybody's a confused, contradictory, scared human - dogs, waiters, bears, his car. So many comedians pick a topic and attack - even the best - Hicks, Bruce, Carlin. Pryor explains, shades. For a man whose life seemed to be unending pain and confusion, he was the subtlest, humblest, most compassionate performer. God I love him.
which reminds me, not with anything near scientific precision, mind you; but I think on the boxset, Pryor is crying in his backyard when the Wonder Dog starts talking to him, because his woman left him, and in the film, it's because his monkey left him. I love that total-comedy ability to slot different routines into different episodes and still make it work. Improvising with the material. And still remain wholly personal. Genial.

Also, on the Floyd doco, inaresting to see that the basic chord sequence of Us & Them was originally intended for a riot scene in Antonioni's Zabriskie Point. Seeing the news-style footage with this poignant, slightly melancholy music, was interestingly contrasted. As though seeing a doco about man's destructive ability, his social chaos.
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Alternatively, read about it at: The Slow Review or the long blog. Or even Nurture Health

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