Tuesday, 2 June 2009

It's not far away, love


‘Percy’ is a dreadful film. Smutty and prurient but without actually ever getting down to business and just being dirty, it tells the heart-warming story of the world’s first penis transplant, and the recipients search to track down the identity of the original owner by rutting his way around Britain. In an ironic twist (for readers of this web-log), the knob in question turns out to have been the very personal property of a deceased ladies man played by Patrick Mower (see ‘The Smashing Bird I Used To Know’), obviously typecast around this time as a bit of a shagger despite the obvious drawback of looking like an anteater.

The only redeeming feature of the whole sorry undertaking is the soundtrack, written by Ray Davies and performed by his group The Kinks. 1971 saw The Kinks in the doldrums commercially, caught between their massive popularity in the mid sixties and their later renaissance in the US as the British rock touring band. Davies songs were as good as ever, but they were delicate, personal things now with less of the immediate appeal of some of their bigger and brasher hits and chart places were no longer guaranteed.

Davies had been working up to this first full soundtrack, having already spent the Summer of 1969 writing satirical songs for TV shows ‘Where Was Spring’ and ‘The Eleventh Hour’, as well as a theme song for the film of popular and controversial sitcom ‘Til Death Us Do Part’. Davies had been disenchanted with the constraints of the pop scene for a long while, preferring to think of himself as a writer for hire, a Tin Pan Alley tunesmith who could be equally at home at MGM studios as on ‘Top of the Pops’, so ‘Percy’ must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

Although some of the LP is made up of short, pleasant but slightly ineffectual instrumental pieces that make perfect contextual sense, there are several songs that rank up there with Davies’ best work, including the quietly profound ‘Gods Children’ and the reflective, nostalgic (Ray was always nostalgic, even as a young man) ‘The Way Love Used To Be’, two gentle, thoughtful songs that have absolutely no place in a film about a cock operation. I’ve also included an instrumental version of previous hit ‘Lola’ from the LP for no other reason that it ROCKS and I do occasionally wonder if this web-log can be a bit wet sometimes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, Ray. Ray, Ray, Ray. I actually think I may love you, Ray.

Ray Davies, I mean. Just to be clear about it, like.