I Wanna Be Around

August 21, 2015

Last night I saw Terence Davies’s 1988 movie, Distant Voices, Still Lives, for the first time. Some of you may know the movie; if not, it’s a somewhat autobiographical collage about working-class Liverpudlians in the forties and fifties, told largely through music: from Benjamin Britten to torch ballads to British and American folk songs to blues to novelties to movie scores. It seems rare in its retrospective depiction of the richness, diversity, and vibrancy of music accessible to average people after the war but before rock ‘n’ roll. The movie did depict a world that one, particularly women, would want to be liberated from, but music was depicted as a force of that potential liberation, not a symbol of blandness and repression. I understand, too, of course, how exciting and relieving rock and R&B was to many of Davies’s boomer contemporaries, but it was it was great to see a less familiar depiction of that era’s pop music. Great movie in other respects, too.

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