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Archive - Thursday, 22 September 2011
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Movie charts city's music scene
Anyone Can Play Guitar
Some names may be more familiar than others, but each and every band was born from Oxford’s small but influential music scene.
Now a film has premiered that charts the rise of some of the world’s best-known artists, mirrored by the catastrophic bad luck of others.
Anyone Can Play Guitar has been a labour of love for independent filmmaker Jon Spira, from Kidlington, for more than four years.
Mr Spira, owner of the former Videosyncratic independent film rental store in Cowley Road, Oxford, was so keen not to relinquish control of his ‘baby’ that he turned the spotlight on fans to help him make the £30,000 project rather than sell out to a major filmmaker.
The result is a 90-minute ‘insiders guide’ to the flourishing music scene of Jericho and East Oxford in the 90s, named after a track from Radiohead’s first album Pablo Honey.
Mr Spira invited 300 of the 800 contributing fans and stars of the documentary, including Supergrass’s Gaz Coombes, to the screening at the Phoenix Picturehouse in Walton Street on Tuesday.
He said: “Anyone can play guitar, but for every succesful band to have come out of Oxford, there is someone else who is as good, if not better, who for whatever reason has not been as successful. For Radiohead it was Candyskins, for Supergrass, it was The Nubiles, and for Foals, it was Dustball. While this is a documentary about Oxford’s music scene, it’s also a story about the reality of making it in the music scene.”
The documentary features frank interviews with Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, Gaz Coombes and Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis about Oxford, the bands that inspired them and the many disputes along the way.
It also tells the story of the Islip-based Candyskins, a band which started gigging at the same time as Radiohead, but thanks to bad timing and luck seemed to endure a failure for every one of their contemporary’s successes.
Chloe Horner, of East Oxford, who worked for the city’s own independent record label Shifty Disco, appears in the film.
She said: “Most of my memories from my teenage years are going to gigs at the Jericho Tavern. For me the best year in Oxford’s history was 1997. We were teenagers and just having fun.”
The film will tour independent cinemas across the country before it is released on DVD later this year.
Mr Spira added: “This film is about getting people out there going to gigs. The best music you’re going to hear isn’t played out on the radio. You’ve got to go out and look for it. And that is what this film is about.”