Our Lives in the Movies


I’ve been thinking more about that pop/rock/movies project. There were some great replies and I’m imagining a UK film festival in which ‘our’ generation shows a series of films that seem to recount the stories of our lives. I’m going to kick this one off with some personal choices and hope the ‘rules’ emerge as I go along.

The most important one is that I’m arranging the films chronologically in terms of the period they represent rather than when they were released. So, for example, Quadrophenia is a mid-60s movie not 1979. Like most of these films it’s not a perfect fit with my life but it’s the nearest I can find. So here goes

1. NOT Rock Around the Clock or The Girl Can’t Help It because I was just too young for those to represent my life. Pre-1960 when I reached my 11th birthday (October) I’d probably go for a couple of movies that aren’t rock & roll at all – Cockleshell Heroes and The Alamo. Musically the big movie in my childhood was Wizard of Oz.

2. So I really get started here with the David Essex film That’ll be the Day (Grammar School boy discovers Southsea funfair, rock & roll and rebellion) and The Young Ones because I was thrilled by the youth club gigs with the Shadows

3. Citizen 63 and Hard Day’s Night reflecting a growing awareness of jazz, folk, rhythm & blues and the beat boom (bits of the Beatles’ movie are like a  documentary) – plus a combination of irreverent humour and politics both of which appealed increasingly

4. Quadrophenia because it’s the closest I can get to the magical Birdcage days

5. Blow-Up. That was a world of fashion, music, drugs, art and the cool swinging London scene which was certainly ‘out there’ and out of my reach in 1966, but nonetheless a huge influence in all kinds of ways – not least in terms of style. It’s also pretty sexist, which I would not have recognised at the time but …

6. Don’t Look Back and Monterey Pop – they don’t quite work in terms of my life but they do reflect that on-off relationship with the UK folk scene and the gradual shift away from the Mod scene towards the psychedelic thing – some of my favourites are in Monterey Pop.

7. It’s not ‘rock & roll’ but I’m wondering about 2001 …

8. Performance – I was never that excessive but I was on the way at times, and frankly glad to have been saved by circumstances and good people. Even on release I found it a very dark, almost forbidding depiction of a world I’d touched on.

9. Finally Please Sir – I’m probably kidding, but then again …

Now that’s very much me, but I’d be intrigued to open this up and assemble a more general representative list of our generation


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

12 thoughts on “Our Lives in the Movies

  1. Surprised you haven’t mentioned Easy Rider or The Last Waltz, or even Ai No Corrida (Oshima), which was, as you probably know, an art house softish porn movie shown only, initially, at private cinema clubs, including the The Gate, Notting Hill, in the mid seventies. I recall that the membership of The Gate swelled beyond belief during the showing of this movie, and auto erotic asphyxiation became rather popular, if not de rigueur in certain circles.
    What about Clockwork Orange? Funny, but I travelled on a return flight to Ibiza last year, and had the pleasure of sitting next to the lovely woman who played the nude in one of the final scenes.

    • And if you want some real hippy nonsense how about Zabriskie Point ?

      • Fuck, how about that for a Freudian Slip; “…the membership of the Gate swelled beyond belief during the showing of this movie…”

      • Best bit of ZP was the soundtrack and maybe the last shot. It wasn’t too impressive though. There are others like The Trip – dreadful!

    • You beat me to it with Easy Rider. I think it was shown at that funny little cinema in Kingston Road.
      I was also going to mention Vanishing Point

    • Yep – I was driving up the motorway today listening to some old Byrds stuff. On comes “Wasn’t Born to Follow” and I thought, silly sod, you forgot Easy Rider! It is more appropriate than Monterey Pop. I love The Last Waltz but I’d put it later – of its time (mid 1970s). I don’t think I’ve seen Ai No Corrida.

      • That was supposed to be a reply to Keith’s first post – no idea how it ended up there. The order of these Comments is sometimes weird. I don’t know which film Rod is referring to in his first point …

  2. I remember going up to London too see that with my good mate the late Melv Ball. Reason for that was that strength of film was’nt allowed to be shown outside of London, LBC certificate. Texas Chainsaw Massacre was another one, if you see them these days, they’re quite tame. I suppose we’re hardened to all this violence, , a sad state of affairs! After the film, it was down to Soho for a few beers in a seedy pub, a curry, and taxi back to Waterloo, what a day out !!

  3. “The Party’s Over” with Oliver Reed. Always fancied strolling across London bridge in the wee wee hours of the night. Which we did!

  4. Easy Rider was shown at “The Tatler” in Kingston Rd,l remember it was 8 bob to get in which was a bloody fortune in those days !

  5. 200 Motels – which we all sat through (just about), and felt we ought to like….

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