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Blog: George Lucas: CORRECTED

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Being the age i am i asked for the STAR WARS TRILOGY on DVD for Christmas, and LO! i got it. HOORAH! I haven't watched the films themselves yet - in a "BBC2 (A New Hope)" STYLEE they were all on ITV in the afternoons, so it seemed a bit daft really - but i did watch the HUGE documentary and FEATURETTES that went with it. It was ACE, although I would question the wisdom of putting bits from the new films in, as it made them look a bit DAFT. Mind you, i was IMPRESSED by the way people kept saying how rubbish the DIALOGUE was in the original films, i wonder if they'll let Ewan McGregor SLAG OFF The Phantom Menace in 20 years time?

ANYWAY, somewhere in all that there was a REALLY interesting bit where Stephen Spielberg and then George Lucas were talking about the advances in technology, and how it allowed you to have EXACTLY what you first imagined appearing on the screen. In the Old Days George Lucas would describe things to one of his illustrators, and they'd make a rough idea of something. This would then be batted around a few people, get changed around by more illustrators, redrafted, modelled by a whole other bunch of people, changed again by the actor, and then changed MORE by the different director and the editor, so the end result was a mish mash of all SORTS of different people's ideas. For example, C3PO looked different to how Lucas and the illustrators first imagined him due to how the costume ended up being built, and spoke and moved differently after Anthony Daniels got into it.

NOW, however, due to Digital Technology, you could make things EXACTLY how you first imagined them. George could get a Computer Guy to build PRECISELY what he wanted without regard for Actual Physics, or getting somebody inside the costume, or the interfering input of modellers, designers, actors or directors. What you imagined is EXACTLY what you could have. They were saying this in an EXCITED way, as if it was the BEST THING EVER.

To me that's precisely why the new films are so bloody awful compared to the others - and the first person to say "Nur, but Attack of The Clones was much better than The Phantom Menace" gets GLARED at, Michael Winner's INSURANCE ADVERTS are better than Attack of The Clones but that does not mean they are GOOD. It's all very precise, and how it was imagined, and also MIND DRAININGLY BORING. Surely if other human beings had been involved in Episode I they would have said "Hmm... perhaps we could have less about TAX LAWS and more fighting with space ships, also maybe some JOKES?" Maybe there would have let Liam Neeson be QUITE INTERESTING, instead of the most dreary po-faced TEACHER ever seen on a screen? I tell you, i was off POORLY a couple of weeks ago, but STILL managed to drag myself out of bed half an hour in to Phantom Menace to switch the video off being i SLIPPED INTO A COMA.

Seeing that interview, apart from firing off the BRANE, as above, also made me think about how it is MUCH THE SAME with ROCK. With Modern Technology you CAN sit in your bedroom with a computer and build all SORTS of soundscapes, direct from your own MIND without ever having to bother another human being or having your ART COMPROMISED by, say, the bass playing wanting to put a FILL in somewhere you hadn't thought of. This is very good for CONTROL and that, but, I usually find, very BAD for things being INTERESTING or having a SOUL.

Now, I'm not about to advocate an Ocean Colour Scene ESQUE leap into ANAL CLENCHING and SIXTIES DUST, you can certainly be QUITE as narrow minded about things using VALVES as you can with a laptop, it's just that the advent of really GOOD digital music equipment makes it much easier to completely avoid collaboration altogether, and do exactly what you wanted to do in the first place. In my LIFE IN ROCK I've known MANY people in bands who've been complete CONTROL FREAKS and forced the members of their groups to retake the same song time and time again until it was EXACTLY as originally proscribed, with no additional input whatsoever.

I always think It's The Things You Can't Hear That You Need To Record when making MUSICAL RECORDS, and by forcing people to play exactly by ROTE you suck all the SOUL of the thing - you end up with music that is in time, precisely played, and REALLY BORING. It's a difficult thing not to do, i know - when I first started with The Validators there was a LOT of tongue biting going on when my mighty RHYTHM SECTION skipped merrily away from the tarmac path and into the verdant fields of MUSICAL INVENTION (often sitting down for a picnic in the beer garden of FALL BASS LINES along the way, but still), ending up MILES from where i wanted to be, but it is ALWAYS a good thing to do. Hey, if you end up somewhere stupid, you can always get the bus back again, right?

Many MANY of our songs have ended up in RUM places due to this - "Falling For Trust" was a slow, dreary guitar MOPE originally, "Fat Was A Feminist Issue" was an identikit Indie Jangle, and "Holdalls" was like George Formby with his head in a vice - and it is LOVELY. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, no matter how much you LOVE the thing you're trying to create, you've got to let somebody else put their input into it too to make it really work.

(NOTE: GIRD yourself for a PUNCHLINE which i have just thought of. You have been warned)

I suppose I'm just trying to REMIND myself of this ready for tomorrow, when we're in Leicester recording Demo Versions of the new songs we've learnt so far, so that I don't get ARSEY or PICKY about what we're doing, and let my RESPECTED CO-WORKERS take the songs where THEY want to take them.

When creating something ALIVE and UNIQUE, you ALWAYS need another person involved to make it HUMAN. If you just duplicate YRSELF, then you get an ATTACK OF THE CLONES.

(sorry about that)

posted 5/1/2005 by MJ Hibbett

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