Great Googly-Moogly! Somehow this flew under my radar until this morning,this year’s Sundance Film Festival, a documentary on the iconic band Sparks made its premiere and on January 30th and February 1st, we actually could have seen this premiere, through a virtual streaming ticket. Had I only known, I would have secured tickets and would have carried the iMac into the living room last Saturday night to watch this with my lovely wife [who would have also enjoyed it fully].
Alas, now that it has had it’s moment in the limelight of the indie festival to end all indie festivals, we must await the purchase and wider distribution of this gemstone of a documentary. As we know from bitter experience, it can sometimes take years until this may take place. And there’s no guarantee that it will happen at all, but at least this film has a high profile director. That could only help.
Behind the camera for this one was Edgar Wright; the cultish British director of beloved, yet quirky genre films which I must admit that I’ve never seen. I’m aware of movies like “Hot Fuzz,” “Shaun Of The Dead” and “Baby Driver” but have not been motivated to watch anything of his… until now. As we have watched the trailer [see above] several times already, I can see the usual assortment of celebrities [most unknown to my eyes] weighing in on the impact that the fraternal genii have had on their various creative lives. I appreciated seeing Martyn Ware and the crucial Durannic Duo® of Nick Rhodes and John Taylor, along with the always welcome “Weird Al” Yankovic, but the cake was surely taken by Mr. Paul Morley who proclaimed…
“They are the best British group ever to come out of America.” – Paul Morley
Those are sage words with which we cannot find any fault at all. The Mael brothers are in there being interviewed as well, but the wealth of film and video clips from throughout the band’s, yes 50 year career [surely cause for an international holiday?] are making me salivate. They began their journey as musical wunderkinder – now transformed into wunderelder, who have continually managed to astonish with their creative turns over a career length that saw all other bands [let’s be frank] trying and failing to match their levels of accomplishment. And they are still busy and productive, even if I’ve shamefully failed to buy their latest opus due to the distraction of a global pandemic.
Seeing the various video clips [Sparks on American Bandstand – take that John Lydon!] certainly reminded me that as much as twenty years ago, there was a notion put foerth on the Official Sparks website that a comprehensive DVD of the band’s countless, vivacious music videos was “in the works” and one hopes that as challenging as such a task would be, that it would one day come to pass. Even though the band will surely keep producing art until they drop, one suspects. I shudder inwardly at the licensing and clearance paperwork, but I’d pay whatever the price asked for such an undertaking. Sparks intentional and thoughtful presentation of their music is every bit as fascinating as their music was on its own.
I certainly hope that this will get a DVD release at some point this year. But if it gets shunted into Satan’s Streaming Services®, then know ye this: due to the Disc-Free Hell of The Now, This Monk has finally obtained an old, slightly modern flat-screen TV [SFX: thundercrack] and as soon as we get the streaming box for it, we will be able to see films that have no discs or cinema screens to call their home. Hopefully it won’t come to that and a disc I can place next to this one in the Record Cell will be forthcoming. But if not, then we have thrown down the gauntlet and have been thrust kicking and screaming in to the early 21st century. Watch this space.