Acoustic Night by Under the Bridge

I know, I know. This gig was a while ago. Now that we had pushed aside the 5 odd jobs that crew members do (combined), we got time for some logging and editing. So, we put together this short tribute to the artists and the promoter Under the Bridge.

Cutting these great songs to pieces broke our hearts. Sorry. Otherwise, it would be too long for this blog. Thanks again to all four artists for allowing to us to film their performances.

A quiet day of filming

'Crew get access... explosive soundbites...and then tea.'
‘Crew get access… explosive soundbites… tea…’ (photo: Iris Cartia)

We’re back with more Behind the Scenes beats.

Thursday was a quiet day for us. We shot further clips with Andy and had a chat with Ian just after he had finished up some work before that night’s gig.

Ian is a good talker. He thinks MCR could do more to save at least some of its greatest pubs.
Ian is a good talker. He thinks MCR could do more to save at least some of its greatest pubs. (Photo: Iris Cartia)

Ian is a great character and a good talker. I guess this wasn’t his first interview. He gave us some insight into the history of the Star and Garter and shared his honest opinion about the Council’s efforts to keep some of that legendary MCR pub culture going (it wasn’t a particularly upbeat opinion).

Light these walls if you can.
Light these walls if you can. (Photo: Iris Cartia)

It always amazes me how challenging it can be to film at this location even during the day. I guess we need a special ‘passenger announcement filter’ plugin for Adobe Audition when we edit this together. One can only wonder how this neighborhood will sound with high-speed bullet trains whizzing past Northern Hub. Now, Ian was not the first interviewee to use the word ‘cathedral-like’ to describe the venue. There is some truth to this – it’s as if the walls and the ceiling sucked in light in massive quantities – and the dark ceilings add some Hitchcockian edge to it. I am glad we have lights (and that I am not left alone there in the dark).

Oh yes, the lights… the hauling of which has totally wrecked my back for a couple of days. Going to pee on all fours whilst singing this. Nevermind. Filmmaking takes sacrifice.

Dom, our new crew member!
Dom, our new crew member! (Photo: Iris Cartia)

And then, as the M.E.N. headline would shout, ‘Crew gets access to landlord’s house as landlord makes brew and dramatic confessions’ we entered Andy’s house and took some pictures. We documented his kitchen big time.

We also watched as he typed up a letter to the Council. It was a nice letter.

Bits and bobs, again. Video evidence to follow once director is able to stand on his feet again and drag himself in front of an editing machine. Bear with us until then!

Among sons and heirs of nothing in particular – our first MOZ night!

interviewing

We have five minutes to spare/  

– so tell us the story of your life/

Can’t think of anything else than this heretical rape of Morrissey gospel to better describe our mood last Friday. This was our second filming night at the Star & Garter and the first Smiths disco we have captured – and our ambitions were ridiculously high. But you can’t aim low when filming so many people united by one band – at a venue that looks like an old castle oozing history. So we wanted to talk to loads of people and hear the story of their (night)lives at the Star & Garter.

Can’t think of anything else than this heretical rape of Morrissey gospel to better describe our mood last Friday. This was our second filming night at the Star & Garter and the first Smiths disco we have captured – and our ambitions were ridiculously high. But you can’t aim low when filming so many people united by one band – at a venue that looks like an old castle oozing history. So we wanted to talk to loads of people and hear the story of their (night)lives at the Star & Garter.

outside2
Photo: Iris Cartia

It was pretty amazing to film the Star and Garter in full-on MOZ mode – even if the light conditions and the loud music could make the venue a filmmaker’s nightmare (some technical challenges on that front). But the music, the vibe and the people really make the Smiths night an out-of-this-world experience – even if you are sweating buckets for the sake of decent exposure. The people we talked to came up with stories fuelled by passion, affection and some sadness. Ben, a tall, dapper guy who has come to the S&G for almost 10 years said “I don’t want to get older – in my thirties – and think about Fifth Avenue as the only place to go. I want there to be a variety. And it’s changing, changing so much… everything is getting smaller, there’s less choice… it’s very distressing.” Jenny from Moston has trodden the dance floor of the Garter for almost 8 years on Smiths nights – and she gave us some great lines that grasped the essence of it all: “it’s very cosmopolitan but still keeping the Manchester vibe about it.” It’s just like a magical place… you can meet loads of friendly people… it’s kind of magic.”  Justin – the barrel-chested guy with the reddish beard, wide smile and the Morrissey tattoos – has been a regular for 19 years and as such he has seen pretty much all the good music venues close over the past decades as the Wind Of Progress (which sometimes smells like fart) has swept through Manchester. The Star & Garter might be the last nail in the coffin for a city that once offered a live gig on every corner and club nights like the MOZ where you have (as Justin said) “the security that you are going to be accepted.” Elsa, soft-spoken and comforting, came forward with loads of episodes from her enduring love with the Smiths and the MOZ disco where she and her husband take turns – one goes dancing while the other stays home with the kids. She first set foot in the Star and Garter in 2002 and has been coming ever since.

franco and adam
Photo: Iris Cartia

We also got a whiff of the cosmopolitanism Jenny talked about – outside, we interviewed a couple from Chile who came to Manchester only for the Smiths night, fearing that Progress might make it the last. The same holds for the Scots we met later inside. I also ran into a Hungarian bloke and sure it wouldn’t have taken long to discover folk from other pockets of the globe. Weren’t it for sheer logistics and time constraints, we would have interviewed everyone there. And we will keep rolling to make that happen – just bare with us.

main
Photo: Iris Cartia

As you surely noticed, we filmed the dance floor as well – we want to keep that as a habit too. But if any one of you feels they want their most liberated self off our camera, do tell us. Remember, signori, we can always blur out faces – but we never forget one 🙂 Going forward – please guys, talk to us on camera. We want to record a rich diary of Star & Garter memories, and the MOZ night is nothing short of a gold mine for us. Another request: do film your MOZ prepping rituals (attires, memorabilia, etc.) and do send the video to us. You can use your iPhone or a small HD camera. We could use the clips in our documentary! Remember, nobody is too rough and nobody is too delicate. See you soon!

legs
Photo: Iris Cartia

Let’s Make This Precious – our first shots at a club night

We started shooting our party scenes at the Star & Garter last Friday. Let’s Make This Precious, an indie-soul-post punk club night (created by Fergal Kinney and Oliver Brown) seemed like an ideal start for us to test our gear in the low-light–high-spirit environment that is the Star & Garter on a Friday.

We interviewed the night’s hosts Fergal and Oliver who kindly allowed us to hover around them with our camera and film the prepping act behind the decks. Then, they went about their business spinning great records for a slowly gathering crowd.

Oliver Brown and Fergal Kinney talking about the future of the Star & Garter.
Oliver Brown and Fergal Kinney talking about the future of the Star & Garter.

As they did so, we went on to see what people had to say about the past, present and (the rather uncertain) future the Star and Garter – something we will keep asking clubbers in the coming months.

If you have a great story to tell about the place, look out for the guy with the flurry mic next Friday.

In short, we loved our first party filming – despite some of our gadgets giving in to Murphy’s law and an earlier-than-planned exit (thanks to weird night transport in this ‘Northern Powerhouse’). We got some good stuff though.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We also kicked off our portrait photo project. It’s like this: you come to the little side room next to Gents on the ground floor and you can have your portrait photo taken by Iris, our fantastic production photographer. You can come in any attire, bring along party memorabilia or a quote from your fav band’s lyrics. Once our film is done we will arrange an exhibition and build a neat online gallery too.

Next time, we will roll at the Smiths Disco on 6th February. See you there!

The lowdown from Andy, the Landlord

Andy Martin, the landlord of the Star and Garter, sat down with us on a chilly Thursday morning to give us the story of how he became boss of the venue and how the current CPO situation came to light.

From the first time we got in touch, it’s been clear to us what a great interview Andy gives. Honest, descriptive and funny, Andy gave the low-down on the history of this fantastic venue, the first time he put on a gig there (Half Man, Half Biscuit – sold out) and what the current trepidatious scenario means not just for the Star and Garter, but for him personally.

Here’s a little clip recorded on a mobile between takes:

We followed Andy through his cotidian Star and Garter business; an opportunity for some natural shots of the venue landlord completing his daily tasks.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.