Music and film often make uneasy bedfellows. The two art forms have committed some horrible crimes against each other when they've met in the past, though rather than being predictable and naming what's been rubbish we will instead mention a recent film called The Paddy Lincoln Gang which was fairly good, and had a bizarre cameo from Glen Matlock in it, and he's from London so it's near enough a London film. Look we could have mentioned Glitter but we didn't, all right?
Anyway, looking to Paddy rather than Posh for inspiration are the men and women behind Doc'n Roll, a festival of music film, focusing on documentaries so as not to make us cry. From 25-28 September at the Hackney Picturehouse, Doc‘n Roll plans to bring us a series of no fewer than 12 documentaries on subjects tall and wide, some old and some new. And though there are plenty of intriguing docs from around the globe being shown (Detroit, New York, Los Angeles...Finland) there are quite a few with a London angle, so we may as well take a quick look at those.
London: The Modern Babylon
Director Julien Temple will have our eternal gratitude for having convinced Ronnie Biggs to sing on The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle of 1980, and the hilarity that ensued. A far more serious face greets London: The Modern Babylon, which tells the story of 100 years of cultural upheaval in the capital and includes music from most of the city's greats, and Max Bygraves. The documentary was filmed in 2012, is being shown at Hackney Picturehouse at 3pm on 27 September. You can watch the trailer below.
Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten
It turns out Julien Temple is on something of a music documentary rampage. In addition to the one above, and seemingly a full set on the Kinks, Temple also put together this look at the life of the Clash's main man, who died so tragically a full 12 years ago. Unearthed interviews and recollections of friends and colleagues sketch out the complex life of a man worshipped by many even today — the screening of this one is at 5.30pm on 27 September, and you can watch the trailer below.
A Life in the Death of Joe Meek
Talking of tragedy, Joe Meek's life ended in such horrible circumstances (he shot his landlady and then himself in 1967) it's hard to envisage a documentary about his life not inevitably hinging on his unpleasant end. The shootings took place at the Holloway Road studio the producer had made famous through a string of number 1 hits, but A Life in the Death of Joe Meek does its best to focus on the music and production of a man now regarded as an experimental pioneer in music production. The documentary will be screened at 8.30pm on 28 September, and here's the trailer for that one.
V&A's David Bowie Is
Not really a documentary, confusingly, but the co-curators of last year’s record breaking Bowie exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum, Geoffrey Marsh and Victoria Broackes, screening exclusive excerpts from the exhibition's accompanying film. There'll be a discussion of the exhibition as well, and this is one of three free events taking place at Stage 3 in the Hackney Picturehouse which don't quite fit into the doc bracket. It's Bowie, and it's free, so just go.