Director: Peter Whitehead
So, with the news that David Gilmour’s reactivated the Pink Floyd brand name for one more album, and given that today’s the anniversary of Syd Barrett’s passing, I decided that tonight was the right occasion to revisit Floyd in their early prime. I have a bootleg DVD of their early film TV appearances so I’ve seen the performance of “Interstellar Overdrive”, but I thought it’d be nice to see it in its proper context with the rest of the film. And it would have been, if it were actually in the film itself; Whitehead just uses bits of the damn thing through the film (mainly the beginning and end) rather than the entire performance. Unless for some reason it was edited from the copy I watched (one of the ones on Youtube taken from a Japanese video release), which was markedly shorter (57 minutes) than the runtime I see applied to the film elsewhere (70 minutes), which would make no damn sense that I can see anyway. Whatever. We do otherwise have an assortment of folks ruminating on the times (1966-67 specifically), such luminaries as Michael Caine, Julie Christie, Mick Jagger and David Hockney, who is notably sceptical about the whole “Swinging London” thing and denies it’s swinging at all… and there’s some of Whitehead’s early music promos as well for the Stones and for Eric Burdon (I was surprised by that, I’ve seen the “When I Was Young” clip on TV before without ever knowing it was from this. Plus there’s some footage of Vashti Bunyan, brief though it is, which kind of amazes me by its very existence. But a disappointing lack of Floyd, which kind of defeated my purpose in specifically watching it tonight (I’m listening to Piper at the Gates of Dawn as I type this gibberish up to compensate for that disappointment). All of this material is presented in somewhat random-seeming fashion without commentary, making for a slightly vexatious experience if you don’t know who everyone is, possibly even if you do; as the film progresses it gradually gets just that bit more tedious, and frankly if my copy was shortened for whatever reason I’m not entirely sorry somehow. Unquestionably a time capsule, but not the most pleasurable viewing for whatever reason.