The Mission Of Burma documentary, 'Not A Photograph', showed yesterday at the ungodly hour of 4pm in merry London town as part of the Raindance Film Festival. So, Lucy, myself and our best-ever intern Alice (well, better than the last one) went to check out Burma on the big screen. Now, for me, music documentaries are generally tortuous – conveying what music means and how it is created must one the hardest things to do in cinema, and music docs mostly end up being increasingly self-important extended EPKs, which is boring for everyone. Burma don't do boring. Despite covering a pretty large timespan (and cultural shift), 'Not A Photograph' zips by. It covers Burma's origins and active years without mythmaking or romance (someone states, pretty matter-of-factly 'They were terrified of success'), and their early days still seem like the most exciting time to have been involved in US underground music. If you get the opportunity, seeing this in a cinema is a treat – all the archive footage on a large screen and loud soundsystem is totally worth it. Highlights:
- Clint's wife explains that she had no idea that Roger was in a successful rock group. And has no idea who Nirvana were. Michael Azerad is horrified.
- The New York show where Ira from Yo La Tengo, Richard Baluyut from Versus (Lucy was excited about that one) and Moby, from, um, Moby, all played guitar on one song.
- The other New York show where Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo from Sonic Youth play guitar.
- The Burma historian. That guy is animated.
- Clint's niece: 'They're a little on the weird side'.
- Roger refers to the band as 'legendary'. The rest of the band crack up.
All in all, I guess the documentary did it's job, cause when I got home I listened to 'Vs' and 'The Obliterati' back to back, and will probably do the same today. You can buy the DVD at www.notaphotograph.com. And you should.