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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Almost Famous

By now it’s pretty obvious that I love music, and I love musicians, but I also love films, and anything that manages to tick all three boxes is right up my street. So here, in the first of a series of posts, I will discuss my favourite music films, some may be about music and some may just feature great music.

As an aspiring music journalist, there is an obvious place to start. Almost Famous.

The story is that of William Miller, a 15-year-old aspiring journo who meets a band at a gig in 1973 and winds up going on tour with them working for Rolling Stone magazine.

I dream of being the kid from Almost Famous on a nightly basis. The film’s Writer and Director, Cameron Crowe, actually was the kid in the film, well, a version of him. In real life he became Rolling Stone’s youngest ever contributor and for his first job went on tour with The Allman Brothers, where the film’s story comes from.

The near-fatal plane crash scene really took place when he was on board a plane with The Who. And he’s now a successful Director. If that isn’t it enough to make anyone insane with jealousy then I don’t know what is.

The film itself is near perfection, capturing the atmosphere of a time when rock music was truly exciting, and giving a great, albeit exaggerated, view of how music journalism was, which, sadly, is quite different to how it is now, as Laura Snapes referenced in her interview last year. It also has one of my favourite ever quotes about being an obsessive music fan.

“They don't even know what it is to be a fan. Y'know? To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts.”

The performances are memorable, the music is obviously great, and the writing is funny and poignant. The Tiny Dancer sing-along and plane crash scenes in particular are some of my favourite ever film moments.

It also has serious messages about idols and hero worship, something we are all often guilty of when it comes to music.

As a film about my passion, music journalism, it is unrivalled. And visions of my own Tiny Dancer sing-along with a ragtag bunch on a tour bus driving across the American mid-west get me through most days, though I like to imagine it’s Jack White, Alison Mosshart, Win Butler, Laura Marling, Grimes and a surprisingly chipper Thom Yorke singing along with me. It could happen.

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