I set up a YouTube channel a while ago with the intention of shooting and uploading some interviews. I haven’t done that yet. What I did today was uploaded Bert Jansch – Dreamweaver. I put it up purely for promotional purposes. I long since gave up hope of getting anything but the credit from this project. I think it’s enough now just to have something that adds to my online tattoo. Dreamweaver was made with no money. Shot on borrowed cameras and took more than a year to make. Late in the production we managed to get a meeting with the head of 4Music. On the back of that meeting we were given a slot on Channel 4 and enough money to pay the cost of post-production. Dreamweaver aired 28 June 2000.
It’s definitely one for the fans. There are full performances from Bert. No talking heads getting in the way of his playing. Not my choice. Personally I think that was a mistake. I think it detracts from what could have been a more fluid telling of his story but that was the agreement the producer made with Bert and those were the parameters I had to work within.
Way back in 1999 I shot and directed a documentary about Bert Jansch called Dreamweaver. It was made with no money. Shot on borrowed cameras. And took a year to make. Late in the production we managed to get a meeting with the head of 4Music. On the back of that meeting we were given enough money to pay the cost of post-production. And a slot on Channel 4. Dreamweaver aired 28 June 2000. Yesterday I was trawling YouTube. And came across Dreamweaver in its entirety.
I can only think Bert’s recent death prompted its appearance. In many ways it is a film for his fans. There are full performances from Bert. No talking heads getting in the way of his playing. Not my choice. Personally I think that was a mistake. I think it detracts from what could have been a more fluid telling of his story. But that was the agreement the producer made with Bert. And those were the parameters I had to work within. That’s why every so often you get those textured wipes. It was my attempt to differentiate elements of the story that would normally have been defined by music. I have to say I was a little surprised to see it there on YouTube. I’ve seen clips. One or two songs here and there. But not the whole thing. And truthfully I don’t know how I feel about its appearance. Ideas about copyright. Ownership. And getting paid. All come to mind. Some fairly primal emotions are dragged up when I think about the production. Especially the latter stages. Suffice it to say. The producer and I went our separate ways. And I haven’t seen him since. All I can do now is tell myself what I told myself back then. I didn’t do it for the money. I did it for the experience. For the credit. At least the YouTube uploader was kind enough to list me as the director. Which is perhaps why my IMDb rank has been on the up recently.
If capitalism were a brand? What kind of brand message is THE APPRENTICE sending? I didn’t sit down and watch last nights episode. It was already on when I got in. And stayed on in the background while I busied myself with other things. In that half aware. Peripheral vision. Wallpaper kind of state. I was struck by how juvenile it all is. I realise this is a television programme. And these people are there as much for entertainment as anything else. But if these are the brightest and the best. Lord Sugar’s business is in trouble. They go about their task like a blind man in a patch of brambles. Snaggering here. Tripping there. Because as far as I can tell. They’re so busy trying to elbow their way to the front of the line. They don’t see the others in their team as anything but competition. The worst of it comes when they get to the boardroom. Where the team with slightly better result is rewarded with a trip to a peep show circus. And the others. The ones who did that bit worse. Get to play the greasy spoon blame game. The post task autopsy is like watching a child caught pinching a sibling. They shift the blame. And obfuscate. While holding their knees together. Hoping they will be believed. If they are. It’s off to slime another day. If not. They’re on their bike. Doomed to poverty. And the arbitrary nature of the labour market. If I were the brand manager of capitalism? I’d be embarrassed by The Apprentice. And what it says about my product.
The argument about the harm television does to children is back on the agenda. When people start on about this. I get very uncomfortable. It is more often than not the precursor to a demand for censorship. But censorship will not solve the problems they harp on about. Because none of the research that tells them content caused this or that behaviour. Ever takes into account the act of watching as part of the causal relationship. I think the act of watching television causes more damage than its content. I am not denying there is some relationship between behaviour and content. We would not have adverts if content producers did not think television could affect behaviour in some way. But for me it is the act of watching television that has the most significant effect. If children stare at the screen to the detriment of all other social interactions. It is no wonder certain damaging behaviours start to manifest themselves. It could be argued that the rampant self-interest of the last thirty years is the effect of watching ever more television. Generations of us have been brought up on an increasingly mailable television service. Multi-platform. Interactive. Streaming. On demand. Have allowed us to bend television to our individual wants. As a result. We relate to the world. The way we relate to television. In very self-centred terms. We pick and choose what we care about. The way we pick and choose what we watch. If we learned enough from our social interactions. Then our relationship with television can be categorised. And understood. But if our primary relationship is with the screen. It is inevitable that we treat our lives thusly. If we don’t like what we’re watching. We change the channel. The real danger of television is not the content. But the way we interact with it. The way it hypnotises us. And keeps us watching. Think of it in these terms. It is less the sex and violence on television. And more the sex and violence of television that causes harm.