The problem with modern musicians is that they are all soulless hacks to a man. Little prophets of monotony, neutered slugs that sold their heart and soul for dollars, inching their way forward to a public meltdown crossed with a Beats Headphone sponsorship deal. I think anyway…bit unsure about modern music but that’s what the poorly photocopied freebie magazines at bus stations have been telling me.
Either way Steve Marriott was a blood n’ thunder musician and Midnight of My Life (2015) pays homage to that.
It’s the day of Live Aid and in The Peacock bar of East London Steve Marriott (Martin Freeman) gets ready to play a small backroom gig. Waiting behind the bar is Steve the Fan (Elliot Brown) trying not to fall victim to disappointment upon meeting his hero. Marriott, after dispensing the sagely advice of a world weary artist to cynical pub goers caught up with the glamour of Live Aid, signs the fan’s record whilst claiming it’s the music. The film ends with The Fan watching will Marriott blasts out What’cha Gonna Do About It.
You would be excused into thinking that this is a tale of a washed up musician, bitter at the industry, forced to play in a small East End dive, and you know what? You’re probably right but that’s not the point. His speech is part psych up, part justification to himself and others that he was right to stay true to his music. For Marriott it was always about his craft, whether he was playing to three lads down the local or in front of 4,000, yet at the same time he’s haunted by the missed chances and what if’s. The juxtaposition between seedy backroom gig and Wembley Stadium is not lost to the viewer.
This short isn’t without its issues though. The first being that unless you haven’t already heard of Steve Marriott you’re going to feel a bit of an outsider. Won’t stop enjoyment but might make you wary of watching it.
Second, Freeman’s lip-sync at the end just doesn’t work. It looks like that time you caught your brother syncing along to Pulp, it’s just embarrassing for both of you.
My advice? Just focus on the music at the end. Marriott did.
4 / 5
Dir: Philip Davis
Scr: Nina Grestenberger
Starring: Martin Freeman, Elliot Brown, Jack Baggs, Theo Barklem-Bigs
Prd: Hatty Hodgson
DOP: Sam Renton
Music: Andy Bell
Run time: 8 mins