DVRFF: The Pixies – LOUDquietLOUD

The first post of DVRFF – NOTE: This was written a while ago.

To kick things off and try and get the capacity back above 9%, tonight I watched loudQUIETloud: a film about the Pixies. If you’re already a fan of this band’s work then you won’t need me to tell you how much they changed the landscape of music in the early 90s…or some such shit. I don’t really listen to them these days but my formative years were highly Pixies-packed; they’re very probably one of the reasons I picked up a guitar myself, and my last band even attempted one of their songs (and no, it wasn’t ‘Where is My Mind?’) at gigs.

The Pixies split up in early 1993, when lead singer Black Francis announced to listeners on BBC Radio that he had dissolved the band, even before telling the other members. It’s explained by Francis (or Charles, to use his real name) in the film that “you stick any four people in a room for five years, and…y’know what I mean?” (Which just made me think of that outtake on the first album, ‘You Fuckin’ Die!’) The band members went on to contrasting fortunes and successes; while Charles changed his name to Frank Black and released a string of critically well-received solo albums, bass player Kim Deal became a darling of the media and MTV superstar with her new band, The Breeders. Lead guitarist Joey Santiago and drummer David Lovering, meanwhile, struggled as respective jobbing musician and magician, as you do.

The reunion 12 years later got everyone very excited, myself included – though the band hasn’t released much in the way of actual new material, they sold out a hell of a lot of venues around the world. This film documents their time spent together from initial rehearsals to European and North American tours in 2004. It’s a very strange and surreal sight at first – the publicity-shy music gods of Generation X versus the sight of their older, balder, fatter selves in this documentary. As good documentaries do, the initial problems presented and questions asked at the beginning (both metaphorically in the unexpected paths they’ve each taken since the split, and literally in trying to nail a rehearsal of ‘Hey’) are resolved and answered at the end (laughs are had, songs are rocked) – but it’s still very jarring to read a caption like “Kim has requested that there be no alcohol backstage during the tour” and realise that wow, she must have gone through some stuff since we last heard her on Trompe Le Monde. It’s all awkward laughter and card tricks from the boys, while Kim holes up with her twin sister Kelley and comments on how everything’s so different this time around. This is the main thing I took away from the film – how alien it must all feel, after so long away from such a big thing, to come back into the room and try to sort it all out in your mind. It had to have been quite an experience for the members of the Pixies, and this film does a really great job of both clarifying and blurring the line between then and now (now being 2004).

I’d definitely recommend this film even if you’re not a Pixies fan; the live performances of favourites like ‘Vamos’ and ‘Something Against You’ are well-shot and recorded, while the four band members make some pretty interesting film characters in their own right.

DVRFF – Digital Video Recorder Full Fail #0 – Introduction

Since my lady and I invested in a Sky subscription last summer, one of the features we’ve taken great advantage of – which feels like both a blessing and a curse – is the Sky+ record feature.

Sure, you can record something if you can’t or don’t feel like watching it right away, but even since we first acquired it we’ve struggled to keep the free space above 10%. We’re currently cruising at what’s probably the most in months – about 16% – but I’ve a feeling that one day this week I’ll take a sudden interest in seeing the whole first series of Last of the Summer Wine, or maybe my good lady Zoe will develop an overpowering urge to record every film which stars Nicholas Cage. We wouldn’t watch them straight away of course – god knows there’s simply no TIME for that – but every so often we do need to go on a deleting spree to free up space for yet more (non-)scheduled viewing.

Anyway, the things I’ve recorded that are probably taking up the most room right now:

  • –          roughly 20 episodes of Daria
  • –          Baseball: The Tenth Inning – about five hours of this left to watch
  • –          Numerous band documentaries that I’m more than 60% certain I would just skip past otherwise (The Undertones, a full series about the music industry)
  • –          The Three Colours film trilogy

Hers:

  • –          Eastenders – tonight’s episode while she’s at work.
  • –          True Blood­ – one, two episodes max – three if she’s really behind.
  • –          Holby City – barely more than a ten-minute delay so I can eat dinner and get the hell out of there before she starts it

And ours:

  • –          At least ten, maybe fifteen films from Studio Ghibli
  • –          Charlie and Lola – 10 or so episodes
  • –          4 or 5 episodes of Adventure Time
  • –          The Joy of Painting – too many of these!

This one is the real problem – finding time together to enjoy all the films and cartoons we like watching. So far for only the first time we’ve watched Nausicaa, Ponyo and Porco Rosso – these were all recorded last Christmas!

It’s getting slightly out of hand – we both received a large amount of DVDs last Christmas and, I’m ashamed to say we’ve barely dented those either – the queue is large and I keep putting new box sets of The Office US to the front of it out of impatience.

So, as we manage to knock off tiny increments of space on that shiny box I’ll probably write up some thoughts on my favourite stuff – that way I get to practice TV and film reviews under a unifying theme without having to go to the cinema to watch whatever tosh they have on offer.

Anyone else suffering from Extreme Viewing Fatigue like we are?