Follow by email

Friday, 25 December 2009


This is an absolutely brilliant documentary movie about those days of revolution, when a grass roots movement known as Punk came to dominate and brushed aside the control the music industry had on the creative aspect of music. The Sex Pistols, love them or loathe them, made music credible again and gave a voice back to the youth. For too long music had stagnated and become sickly sweet and in no way reflected what was happening on the streets of 1970's Britain.

The Filth and the Fury, directed by Julian Temple, makes up for the mess that was The Great Rock and Roll Swindle Movie. Not that I don't enjoy Rock and Roll Swindle (when I'm in the mood, at least) but this documentary is far more truthful and the juxtaposition of performance video and news clips of the times gives full context to the revolutionary band the Pistols truly were.

If you listened to the press it was all about spitting and vulgarity but it was more than that - it was about individualism, about questioning authority and not accepting the status quo. Deep down, at it's very core, the punk ethos was a healthy one.

The punk movement was born out of the way the mainstream music was getting further and further away from the rreality of life for the average teenager of the day. There was no glamour, spangled trousers and sweetness on the streets of 1970's Britain. What there was were race riots, industrial conflict and a default status of general crap.

The documentary shows that the band eventually became the victims of the big business they sought to destroy. And this rock and roll story really did end in tragedy as in the case of Sid Vicious. There is a moving moment when John Lyndon, interviewed present day, brings up his regrets over Sid's tragic and sordid death.

Now these days the Pistols are almost mainstream - they've reformed several times and given stadium concerts just like those rock bands they once called dinosaurs. But John Lyndon is still an interesting man who refuses to toe the line, even if he is now the voice of a certain brand of butter but then I suppose it was inevitable - they're the Pistols and they don't care.

The Filth and the Fury DVD (VCD 00067).


G said...

I would have to agree that this was a much better documentary that "The Great Rock & Roll Swindle" (I actully have that album, plus two others and a bootleg)

It's about as concise as you're going to find on celluloid about the Sex Pistols.

For print, I would recommend John Lyndon's great bood about his time with the Sex Pistols.

And yes, I got into punk music about fifteen years after the fact.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Yep, brilliant film.