Miners helmets and beaves


According to Stephen Clarke – author of the ‘Merde’ series – in his latest book ‘1000 Years of Annoying the French’, the wife of the 20th century UK PM Harold Macmillan was a tad eccentric and enjoyed gardening at night wearing a miner’s helmet.

Too late for a ‘heads up’, but this short post gives me an opportunity to rave about a very rare thing – a good TV program.

If you can catch it in BBC iPlayer or something similar, then I can heartily recommend ‘Anvil – the Story of Anvil’ in the BBC4 ‘Storyville’ series.

It told the story of 1980s Canadian hair metal band Anvil’s recent attempts to make a comeback and eclipsed the classic ‘Spinal Tap’ film.

I don’t doubt for a moment that some of it may have been staged, but much of it wasn’t, I’m positive, and had me in stitches when Lips – the lead guitarist and vocalist – was describing the meal rota at the cooked meals suppliers he drives for and almost in tears when the band walked out to a packed house in a Japanese venue after expecting no-one to be there.

Then there was the drummer, Rob Reiner, who, when asked the reason for their current lack of success, said something the lines of ‘I can say it in one word…two words…three words what’s wrong…our management’s no fuckin’ good.’

There was also the inevitable fight between long term members Rob and Lips with Lips sacking Rob and then a tearful making up.

A further, rather surreal delight was Rob’s artwork. Several canvases of street scenes totally empty of people – ‘I like buildings’ – not to mention his painting of a giant sculpture of an anvil in a park which dwarfed the people near it.

Apart from all that, any band who writes lyrics that include the word ‘beaves’ has to be paid some attention…

Anyway, just try and see it – definitely my favourite TV program of the year so far.

5 Responses

  1. I watched it the other night when it was on. Fantastic stuff.

    They should have been massive.

    I was struck by what a decent guy Lips is.

  2. I just thought it was a great bit of filming on so many levels.

    Although I’ve been aware of the band since the 1980s, they never really registered with me, although their most popular tracks seem as good, if not better than the stuff Priest and the like were pumping out.

    There’s some good metal in there!

    Good luck to them!

  3. That thing, the good TV programme, is rarer than you think, since this isn’t one. Storyville’s a “strand” of documentary films; The Story Of Anvil is a film, and had a reasonably wide-spread theatrical release in the arthouses – In fact, I saw it early in ’09 at the Cornerhouse.

    Of course, it might well be your favourite *film* of the year so far :).

  4. Dr Rick, you are, of course, correct.

    However, it was still rather surprising to find something on TV that was worth giving up just over an hour of one’s life for.

    What endures, however, is what a superb film it is.

    I presume you enjoyed it, too.

    PS – always good to hear from the good Dr Rick – how the devil are you? 🙂

  5. I’m well, amigo – all the better from just returning from a superb five-week-hung steak – and yes, I thought it was a wonderful film, one of my favourites of the year.

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