A guilty pleasure I indulge in during idle moments is made for TV movies. It’s the B-movie of the TV world, there’s never a dull moment as a plethora of cultural, music icons and shows are explored with wildly varying quality levels. One of my obsessions is The Monkees, an important influence from the ripe age of five, the TV series was my introduction to pop, psych, rock and country. Sometimes reviled, they’re still misunderstood by the press to this day, inaccurately portrayed as a manufactured bubble-gum copy of The Beatles. I get bored of explaining they could play their own instruments and there’s a more complex nature to the phenomena that has frequently been overlooked.
As a fan, I was pleasantly surprised by their characterization in the TV movie, Daydream Believer: The Monkees Story. The plot focused on the creation of the series and their fight for control of their image and music. Fun-filled facts featured in the film include The Monkees meeting The Beatles, with an actual quote from John Lennon, who appreciated their comedic genius. In search of street cred, The Monkees invited Jimi Hendrix to open for them. The absurdity of this ill-fated pairing is played out in all its’ glory, as the acid psychedelic rocker plays guitar with his teeth only to be booed off the stage by teenybopper Monkees fans that just don’t get it.
What really makes it enjoyable is the excellent casting. All the actors bare a remarkable resemblance and capture the charisma of their real life counterparts. Jeff Geddis channels Mike Nesmith down to the earthy charm. L.B. Fisher recreates Peter Tork’s clownish sweetness and hippie sensibilities. George Stanchev is a standout performer, getting Davy Jones dance moves and tambourine smacking shimmy down pat. Aaron Lohr’s portrayal of Mickey Dolenz is the weakest, not a criticism of Lohr’s abilities, Dolenz just doesn’t look or feel like anybody else out there. A final credit is due to the actor who played Jack Nicholson, who appears with an eerie Shininggrin and uses classic Jack mannerisms to depict Nicholson’s role in writing their cult movie Head.
WhilstDBTMS is broadly true, it is an airbrushed, feel-good narrative. It’s superficial fun that will either infuriate or beguile enthusiasts.
Thankfully, DBTMS evaded the “it all could have gone so horribly wrong” scenario common to so many cheap, made for TV tributes. The Linda McCartney Story wasn’t so fortunate. Jaw-droppingly bad, upon viewing it I physically couldn’t close my mouth, such was my shock at the acting atrocities on display. The Beatles appear to have been cast by a blind person who posted a Gumtree ad, with the actor portraying Paul McCartney (Gary Bakewell) being the least offensive. The real gob smacker is a John Lennon, who resembled and acted like a seventy-year-old Ozzy Osbourne, in fact, I’m sure Ozzy looks younger. The only decent performance is Elizabeth Mitchell as Linda McCartney, who would marry her co-star Bakewell, even after such a lacklustre display of acting skills. Love is truly blind. The films’ funniest moment has an angst-ridden Paul bemoaning Lennon’s true opinion of him; claiming John sees him as a ‘sentimental turd’. An apt summation of TLMS, it’s most assuredly a ‘sentimental turd’ that defies you to watch it to its’ conclusion.
My recommendations for your St Patrick day shenanigans on Thursday, March 17th are London lo-fi indie popsters, The Pocket Gods at Underbelly Hoxton Square (11 Hoxton Square, N1). It’s a free gig to promote their groundbreaking album, 100×30, which features 100 songs all 30 seconds long, some of which will be featured.
Another St Paddy’s gig of note is happening at The Finsbury Pub, 336 Green Lanes, N4. Some Weird Sin present all-girl garage rock band, The Franklys who put on a firecracker of a show. The Sly Persuaders provide noise wrangling, surfed-up swagger and industrial-strength fuzz to take your eyebrows off. Support comes from Clever Thing; tis £5.50 entry.
I will be spinning at my regular haunt, The Amersham Arms (388 New Cross Road, SE 14) Friday March 18th. ‘Tis free entry and I’m on the decks in the back, cooking up my secret sauce of new-wave eighties electro, old skool hip hop and dance classics from 9:30pm till 3am.
On Saturday, March 19th the Kool Kitchen is returning to DJ duties at Paper Dress Vintage (352A Mare Street, E8). With live bands, this event is pay what you want at the door or in advance via Billetto.I grab the decks at 9 pm to blow foxy boys and wicked girls minds out with a psych, soul, freak-beat extravaganza ‘til the wee hours.
Easter Sunday, March 27th I’m doing a set at the Sebright Arms (31-35 Coate Street, E2) from 3 to 7 pm. It’s free entry, so come down and enjoy lazy bank holidays sounds to accompany a lovely brunch and your pint.
If you’ve been missing my show, Ola’s Kool Kitchen, fear not, a new podcast has landed to save your sonic day.