Hello hello everyone, i'm new to this forum but was really wondering if anyone could help me out!
I'm writing my dissertation on Shane Meadows, although i'm still unsure if i'm going to focus on This is England, 86 and 88, or a broader subject which would include Dead Man's Shoes and A Room for Romeo Brass as well. I wanted to look into music within the films, and how it influences the moods created in the scene, and i was wondering if anybody new where he got his musical influences from?
I know a lot of it is based on his past experiences, but i also wondered why he chose artists such as Ludovico Einaudi, or if it was just by chance?
I don't think any music ever got onto a soundtrack by chance! Music is generally chosen to enhance the emotions being seen on screen, although sometimes it can be used ironically (the "stuck in the middle with you" by Stealer's Wheel scene from Reservoir Dogs springs to mind).
I think you might not have had much response to your post because so much of the music is almost blindingly obvious, especially with "This is England" being set around the ska and skinhead movement of the early 80's. I don't mean that to sound patronising, it's just a fact of it. So much of that culture was about the music, trojan records etc, it'd be historically inaccurate (but quite amusing) to have peppered the soundtrack with Abba. So in the case of the This is Englands, the music is welded to the era and the subculture, a point which wouldn't carry a full dissertation in my opinion.
If I were writing it, I'd widen it out to all of the films, and look at the fantastic use of music in Dead Man's Shoes for example; edgy, haunting folk music to accompany the creeping sense of foreboding. Also, if you're completely new to the music in the films, it's worth knowing that Gavin Clark, a fabulous musician, is a long standing friend and collaborator of Shane's. You'll find music by Sunhouse, Clayhill and some of Gavin's solo material, in many of the films (the entire soundtrack to Somers Town for example). Likewise Nick Hemming of The Leisure Society. Google those names and you'll find all sorts of information which ought to help you. Good luck!
Thanks for your reply! I was aware of the 80s skinhead theme within This is England, but i hadn't thought of looking into Trojan records, so thank you for that!
My dissertation also focuses on the mood of his work so like you pointed out, the folk music is very interesting. I guess i should have expanded my initial question into asking more about the other films, but i still was undecided which i was going to focus on. But thank you for the Gavin Clark hints!
I've always loved the Dead Man's soundtrack, but with artists ranging from Aphex Twin to Bill Callahan i struggled to see if he chose songs purely because he thought it would fit in well or as you said he had collaborated with them before.
I guess it is always interesting to see if the Lyrics coincide with actions on screen or if he used a track purely because the music within in suited the mood/feelings he wanted to create during that scene.
I read your post, but didn't reply because even as the music in Shane's films is really integral to the whole thing, I haven't really thought about the choices too much (shame on me there). Also, though, I could only offer an opinion and I'm not sure how helpful that would be to you really.
I guess, I'd say, the music choices are very 'personal'-an eclectic mix of things chosen for different reasons. Shane uses Gavin Clarke's music a lot, and I guess that partly because there's a personal connection, but also because they have a particular 'mood' or pathos that fits a specific scene perfectly. I think the same thing is probably true of Nick Hemmings stuff ( now the Leisure Society, I think). Having said that, a lot of musical choices seem -to me at least-to be very much tuned into the whole British working class youth culture heritage, which is a big part of Shane's life and so a big part of the films-the whole Mods-through Ska-through seventies skinhead and eighties Skinhead/Mod revival eras. I was re-watching Where's the Money Ronnie today and really noticed the Small Faces Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon track..the working class youth culture theme is then followed through in TiE (film and TV), with the Trojan records tracks. It's a bit old fashioned in these postmodern times to speak of 'authenticity', but I think that a lot of Shane's choices are (to use a hackneyed phrase) really 'on the money' in terms of resonating with the time and place his work come from. So it's all kind of mixed up, yet there is a continuity. TiE 88 is a perfect example-old school northern soul, Tojan and then stuff from the 80s that was ubiquitous (Strawberry Switchblade; Tracey Chapmen) at the actual time.
Anyway, I'm not sure how you can weave that all into a coherent narrative for your dissertation, but it is certainly a interesting subject.
its been mentioned somewhere before that a lot of the Deadmas Shoes tracks were from Warp records meaning they could use them cheap/free and Shane was pleasantly surprised when looking through the library that a lot of it was brilliant.
Post by thegooddoctor on Jan 18, 2012 13:23:46 GMT
Elsewhere I had this to say about Gavin's Clark's version of "Please Please Please..." at the end of 'TiE':
"From the prominent ‘Skrewdriver’ graffiti to the multicultural sounds of Toots and the Maytals on the soundtrack, This is England insistently foregrounds the political battleground of 1980s popular culture. It is hardly insignificant, then, that the final scene is scored by a suitably downbeat cover of The Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”. An outspoken and controversial figure, the mournful presence of eighties icon Morrissey comes with no shortage of ideological resonance. Himself a second-generation Irish immigrant, Morrissey embodies many of This is England’s key themes. His flirtations with right-wing imagery, political sideswipes at Thatcherism, dubious comments on race and immigration, ambivalent celebration of ‘Englishness’, and repeated questioning of traditional forms of masculinity make him an incoherent figure who echoes the political and emotional contradictions of Combo. This is England ends with Shaun silently gazing at the audience. Standing at the edge of the sea and at the very limits of “England”, Turgoose’s doleful eyes are both plaintive and accusatory."