Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Le Donk

I attended the press screening for ‘Le Donk’ at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on Sunday. It’s the very good Shane Meadows’ new mock-rockumentary (if you will) about a doomed roadie (the titular Donk, played with obvious relish by Paddy Considine) and his hapless charge, real-life Nottingham rapper Scorz-ay-zee, described by Donk at one point as the “Honey Monster with a lobotomy”. The film is a kind of guerilla road movie, shot on the hoof over 5 days and documenting Donk’s attempts to gatecrash the Arctic Monkeys’ 2007 Old Trafford show and get Scorz an opening slot. (The Monkeys feature briefly in a very, um, 'naturalistic' cameo, the scamps).

Now, you might think this has all been done to death – 'Spinal Tap', 'Saxondale', et al – but Meadows has a real humanity about him as a film-maker, and he knows his musical touchstones. Although it’s ultimately a slight piece and some of it’s a little obvious, it's really fucking funny much of the time and the story is told with wit, warmth and brevity. And it packs a surprisingly hefty emotional clout. If the name Chris Needham means anything to you (no? Google it) then you’ll appreciate the kind of bittersweet, desperately delusional territory we’re in here.

I interviewed Meadows and Considine yesterday (about half an hour before this photo was taken, I reckon) and am happy to report they're both fine fellows. Considine, it turns out, is obsessed by Guided By Voices, while Meadows is currently on a nu-folk tip (James Yorkston is on the film soundtrack). Scorz-ay-zee was there, too. He sends himself up in the film, but apparently he was championed by John Peel a few years ago, and three record companies were at the premiere last night to check him out – hope it went well for him. 'Le Donk' will be out on DVD in October, and it’s worth 71 minutes of anyone’s time.

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