"It's easier to bone the President's wife than to get a movie made." Ray Charles.

How a cult music book became a cult music documentary, and it only took ten years.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Some years ago - I can't actually remember how many, though it is certainly more than five - I picked up a book called It Came From Memphis, in Tower Records, Dublin. At the time I was intrigued by the Memphis power-pop band Big Star, so I flipped to the index and read those bits. Very quickly I understood that what I had in my hands wasn't the usual kind of rock book written by one of the usual addled bozos who populate that subsector of that particularly compromised industry... This was something very different.
But of course I had no money, being a broke-ass dependent film-maker. So I put it back on the shelf.
Some unquantifiable amount of time later, I came across a hardback copy of The Memphis Book (as I had begun to think of it) in The Secret Book and Record Shop, only a couple of doors from Tower but a universe away in terms of attitude and pricing policy. This time I was able to afford it. Years later, examining my copy, the author - Robert Gordon - was able to tell me that this was a US first edition of the book. How it got to Dublin I don't know. But then, how did that signed Harry Partch album on green vinyl end up in the canalside junk shop where I found it in 1987? Things find people.
This blog is about the journey between then and now, and how the vague dream that I'd fostered of filming this book, meeting the people that populate it, and contributing something of my own to this strange and beautiful world, became reality.
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