Douglas Hart is our Hollywood backlot cover-star of this third print edition – there are ten copies left from 1000 on the shelf above the desk this beautiful delicate day.
@DH1965x is the underground statesman of cool. His elegance as an agile filmmaker who left school at 16 to play bass on tour with the Jesus and Mary Chain (the most influential British indie band of the 80s) is captured in the films for Primal Scream (Screamadelica), My Bloody Valentine (Feed Me With Your Kiss), later, Babyshambles, and The Horrors. Canonising some of our fave troupers, such as Peter Perrett (who phantasmagorically materialised backstage at the second edition party, to catch up with old blud, Dr John Cooper Clarke) – Hart remains the hippest guy in shades this side of Glasgow…
Here, COLD LIPS hear more on the (bad) dream backstory to the film that made the selection for Jeffrey Wengrofsky’s Secrets of the Deep dream-themed film festival New York (which also featured the premiere of COLD LIPS’ editor Kirsty Allison’s collaborative film with Gil De Ray):
I’ve been working with Damian O’Neil from the Undertones [the guitarist who wrote Teenage Kicks, the first superstar DJ, John Peel’s fave song] – they were doing covers of New York Dolls and MC5 songs – playing where both sides met in 1976 Derry – it was a no-go zone, a war zone, it was incredible they came from there. [CHECK TOBY MOTT’S IRISH PUNK BOOK FOR MORE ON THIS – although we hear Damian has a diary from his 16-year old hand…]
We toured in Northern Island, went to Belfast twice in the 80s, and it was army snipers in the doorways, Derry was militarised, and when The Undertones became punks people wanted to kick their heads in, because Feargal Sharkey, the singer, was quite a weird looking kid, he looked like he’d take no shit, and he was known as the protection dog…
The Samantha Morton film…
It’s quite a strange way it came about – James Lavelle wanted [her] to make a film, because in her barely teens, she was a bit of feral child, not a secret, her mum was on the game, and would bring johns back to the house, watch porns – but she’d bunk into the cinema with her mate, and she watched 2001AD and it blew her mind, and she wrote a one page piece, and said “I want you to go and make something but don’t show me anything” – the truth about collaboration!
And were you with her when she first saw it?
Yes, it was pretty intense because it was about a period of her life…
You did it without strict narrative…
Yeah – life’s like that, and some things sound one way, and images, y’know, that’s why I made it like that. There was a little 8 year old girl, amazing actress, and we filmed what she thought about 2001, in the cinema, she was hypnotised by it, you could really see the effect it would have had on a young Samantha Morton, her eyes were locked and lost.
What do you think of the whole Kubrick being the man on the moon theory? Of him faking the Moonlandingz – not the band…
What, did he do it? I never heard. He’d be the one, but in the 50s, living up there, where he lived [he abandoned Hollywood to be close to Elstree Studios in England in 1965, a place called Abbots Mead, moving to Childwicksbury, near Luton in 1978 – a place used by musicians such as Kieran Leonard featured in COLD LIPS…] I have seen the photos, when the shadows are going the wrong way and stuff
What happens in space, stays in space…
There shouldn’t be shadows there. The quality of the photographs is almost too good. But they used Hasselblad so there should be good pics.
I watched the first colour moonlandings with my granny who was born in 1898 – so it was quite weird watching that with someone from before the motorcar was ubiquitous.
That partly explains your cinephile nature, perhaps…
Well, I guess, my granny, when she was a teen cinema exploded, and my ma was so they were obsessed, and my mum was born in 1922, so was around when television exploded, but they went to the cinema two or three times a week, and knew all the names of the actors and actresses, so I guess that had a big influence on me.
You’re quite the cult dictionary…
I think that came form my mum growing up in the 40s with fan magazines, knowing everything, totally encylopedic, not just the stars, everyone.
I wanted to ask you about whether that holds you back, the knowledge, or maybe it gets you places?
I think it’s just like making music, being in a band, watching other bands, but one thing I do notice and that goes for music and film, obviously I’ve done both, and sometimes I wish I’d neither done both – because it dispels some kind of mystery.
In what way?
You didn’t know everything of everyone, your mind would wonder into fantasies of what these people are like. When you get involved in the music industry, you get to see behind the curtain, and the stageset – and that’s the only thing, sometimes I wish I had that sense of wonder – not the grotty recording studio and dingy editing suite with people picking their nose…
Mythology of it. Billy Childish was saying poetry is all drama, he’s in the next issue…
Poetry’s still mysterious. We don’t know so much about poets, it’s not mass media, which makes it all the more powerful, don’t you think?
Will Carruthers says when he doesn’t want to be understood he writes poetry – because it’s ambigious
Especially these days, but that’s good, you can see so much – what kind of guitars – it’s almost too much
It’s like an onslaught isn’t it?
You used to get one record every 6 months but in 1980 – you couldn’t get all the records – even going to record fairs which came around every six months – if someone had said to me, you can get everything the Velvet Underground ever did – the bootlegs – all the shows. I wouldn’t have said, nah – I’ll wait, I’d have bitten your hand off.
It’s nice to savour something – not get it all at once. How many writers have you read one book, and then read all their work in a year? I’ve done that with two authors, but yet we binge on…
Louis Ferdinand Céline and Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. Modern culture is binge watch, binge drink. You can’t deny people that impulse.
[Social media allows contact with] too many people, it’s not good for you to have contact with that many people, maybe for organising a demonstration, but not for creativity.
Ideas need to fertilising. They need to get mouldy
Binge watching – you sick it up 20 minutes later, but maybe you just have to have a bit of self-discipline
And the best artists do
The more you read, they do, discipline but also talent and luck, they all say it. Being at the right place at the right time. I suffer from a lack of that – I left school at 16 and went to straight into a band which is not known for their rigorous discipline. When I was a kid, you didn’t need that because that was the way culture came at you.
Check Douglas Hart’s “pirate TV online thing” which started under Edwyn Collins’ studio – it’s a super cool garage studio of with shelves of interviews and art-garb from all sorts of people we like: “We took over this garage and did a website for bands that were in town (lists loads of bands) – and we just put them out that night, and bands would do it through their social, and we knew no-one was watching. Steve would do the sound, I’d do the effects – and all on analogue cameras – it’s got an incredible energy.” It’s a collaboration with Steve Mackey from Pulp, now housed in replica garage-space beneath the Store space on the Strand.
COLD LIPS IV is COMING: featuring Billy Childish, Judy Nylon, Robert Montgomery, Greta Bellamacina, Stuart McKenzie, Tommy Sissons, Ana Sefer, Malik Crumpler, Nina Zivancevic, Joseph Coward of CXR, and more more more, we’re having a party. 27th April. London Fields Brewhouse.
Entry includes 100 glorious pages of quality writing and considered editorial content. x
Early bird tickets up now.