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On Screen with Tindersticks

In their upcoming cine-concert, Tindersticks are flipping the live music/film convention on its head, presenting an evening of specially commissioned short films to accompany their new album, The Waiting Room.

We caught up with Tinderstick’s David Boulter as he shares some of his favourite film and TV moments that have influenced his own writing for film…

Stir It Up – Bob Marley and the Wailers Old Grey Whistle Test, 1973
‘The first time I saw this would have been around 1978. For a long time it was referenced by people I knew as something you’ve got to see. Now it’s just a YouTube click away. My sister had Exodus, but I’d never really connected with it. It was probably just the right time/place, but when I first saw this I just understood. Visually it’s great. The Jamaican take on 70’s fashion looks so cool. They just are so cool. I looked shit in my purple flares and lime green tea cosy hat. You wouldn’t want to fuck with Peter Tosh. And it sounds great too. Just beautiful.’

The idea of a star man was something I could understand

Starman – David Bowie, Top Of The Pops 1972
‘TOTPS was a weekly highlight from an early age. My sister is 4 years older and would have been looking for her latest crush. My Dad hated it, so I knew there was something special. The way it looked and sounded just appealed to the 7 year old me. I wasn’t sure what he was singing about, but it wasn’t a soppy love song. The idea of a star man was something I could understand. He looked a little odd. They all did. A bit like a friendly clown, not a scary one. My sister didn’t fancy him either, which I liked even more. And it stuck in your head. I imagine it was much later in the eighties when I saw this clip again. But it took me right back there.’

Assault On Precinct 13 – John Carpenter
‘I think this was the first John Carpenter film I saw. I had a friend who had a VCR in the late 70’s (we didn’t even have a telephone!) and we got a copy of this. We probably watched it about 10 times over the weekend. For a start, we shouldn’t really have, it was pretty violent for those times. The story was great for a 13 year old. But the thing that really blew me away was the music. I made a cassette of it with a little microphone in front of the tv. A couple of years later I got a cheap italian synth from my sister’s catalogue. £200! £1.50 a week for the rest of my teenage life. The theme from Assault On Precinct 13 was the first thing I learned to play on it.’

It’s wonderful music. A statement on its own. Exactly what film music should be

Under The Skin – Mica Levi
‘I happened upon this by chance one night. I’m a Scarlett Johansson fan, and the Scottish setting intrigued me. i hadn’t heard about it. The acting and the use of non-actors gave it an edge I liked. The story was unusual in a familiar way. And then the music. I hadn’t heard of Mica Levi either. It hit me in a similar way to Assault On Precinct 13. It perfectly matched the film, but also had its own life. It’s wonderful music. A statement on its own. Exactly what film music should be. Not just emotional and action triggers.’

Vertigo – Bernard Herrmann
‘It’s that great period of Hitchcock films with James Stewart as the male lead. I love James Stewart. And I’m a fan of Hitchcock, although I find a lot of his films flawed in some way. Vertigo is just perfect. I went to see a remastered version in the cinema. It’s piece of art. And the story has that darkness and twist that still surprises me now. And it just looks so beautiful. My first experience of Bernard Herrmann was his version of Holst – The Planets, when I was about 6. I didn’t know the connection at the time. This score is just beautiful too. Haunting, passionate. I’d listen to it every night in bed and hope for dreams of mysterious woman in foreign lands.’

Tindersticks’ The Waiting Room cine-concert takes place on Friday 29 April.