"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.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

It would be useful, now - a year after the event - to have my emails to refer to. Robert Gordon and I must have exchanged about two hundred of them, in which we would have discussed everything from Charlie Feathers to barbequed chicken wings. They got deleted when I tried to transfer them over to my new Powerbook - I won't go into the gory and rather dull details.
The principal topic,in any case, was why the hell some crazy Irish guy wanted to come to Memphis to film his book. I still don't have any totally convincing and sane reason to give for that. I have kinda/sorta reasons, e.g. 'because Memphis, in the book at least, reminded me a lot of Dublin - two backwater cities with nothing much going for them, but they both have the strongest imaginable sense of being at the centre of world-changing events,' is how one of them goes.
But really, I just loved the book and loved the music made by the people in the book, and wanted to insert myself into that world if at all possible, to go into it and live there and be part of these events.
There's also the fact that, in a sense, the whole thing was sort of an accident. I shot my mouth off to JMM, he took me at my word and the next thing you know people believe that I am actually capable of doing this thing. So when that happens, all you can do is go with it.
I spent a lot of time working on putting the book's essential strengths into a short treatment. Tomorrow, maybe, I'll dig it out and put it on the site somewhere. It was hard work, as there seemed to be no overall narrative thrust to the story - its charm is based on the characters and the sense of place that Robert creates, and the essential power of being part of this band of outsiders.
So I used Jim Dickinson as our main man, put him at the centre of it all, and depended on his persona as the legendary backwoodsman of Memphis music, the keeper of the flame of rock'n'roll, to drive our story on.
The next problem was - how the f*%k were we going to get this financed?!?
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