Ten/10 Storey Love Song
“Ten storey love song
I built this thing for you
Who can take you higher
Than twin peak mountain blue?
Oh well, I built this thing for you
And I love you true”
Ten Storey Love Song/ The Stone Roses (1995)
Can there be any greater honour to something you truly love, than to build/create another piece of beautiful work inspired by it?
It’s a tragic awkward/repressed human (somewhat masculine) trait in alot of folk, to not tell the ones we love, that we do indeed love them (while they are around to hear it of course). It doesn’t have to be expressed with the analytical finesse/splendour such as in words of the bards of yore, or even the key change moments of your favourite pop group. A truly heartfelt expressed gesture can instill the warmth of, and for generations.
Thankfully Shane Meadows (Dead Man’s Shoes/This Is England) has no such inhibitions, and it is a beautifully euphoric thing to see.
‘The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone’ (2013) is Shane’s visual ode to his original muse, the band The Stone Roses. In their somewhat original short career, it’s briefness seemed to only distill their potency, and sonic butterfly fly effect lives forever more. They even got Shane his first snog with a posh girl. But they weren’t all Rose tinted moments. Unfortunately as a result of a bad acid trip for the entire night before, Shane in a moment of LSD darkness, or true love for his fellow man, gave his ticket away for The Stone Roses famous Spike Island 1990 gig.
Waking up out of and into the horror of what he’d done the next morning, he’d missed the gig. He never got to see The Stone Roses play. Sometimes it’s the stuff we don’t do that define/effect us forever more.
That sense of lost opportunity seems to have haunted Shane ever since. So he wasn’t about to give up the chance to be part of the band reforming when lead singer Ian Brown phoned him to say there was to be a third coming, the band were reforming. If anything that absence of the Spike Island experience has enforced a determination to make up for it in ‘Made Of Stone’. And my does he. He knew he was the man to catalogue this event, and he was right.
Emerging in slow motion out of the darkness of the Heaton Park pit, in front of the main stage at their huge comeback gig. Ian Brown looks defiantly enigmatic, it could be mistaken for arrogance, but instead exudes pride in the force before him. The sea of ardent fans, some of whom couldn’t have been born when The Roses first ruled the land, fully embracing the historical moment before them. With the voice of Alfred Hitchcock ‘hatred is wasted energy’ overlaid, you know you are in for a powerful journey.
Shane has previously spoken about all his works having a central thread of being focused on the relationships between people, and the relationships we have with each other. This core trait is integral to this movie also. Without being over-bearing, or negatively intrusive we watch as four friends rebuild a friendship that had hits the rocks many years before. The reasoning for the split is briefly dealt with, and to be honest, it’s brevity a wonderful decision.
This is about inspiration, there’s enough negativity in the world. This rekindling of friendship is beautifully poignant. Any acrimony dissolving away behind the true smiles of mates just hanging out, and jamming in a country cottage in rehearsals for their comeback. It’s one of the many heart warming, life affirming moments in the movie.
But it’s equally about the shared love, common purpose with the fans. The section were a local radio station announces a free warm up gig in Parr Hall is hysterical. All reason is left behind as folk try/race to fulfill the requirement for getting tickets, you must have an original cd/record sleeve or legit merchandise from the band to prove your faith. The joy and heart ache is palpable. It’s like a life time in moments. And the resulting gig really is like ‘Breaking Into Heaven’.
There are many other wonderful/hilarious moments (Mani should have his own TV show) linking the journey together. A stand out, is an amazingly bitter, dreadfully negative early interview, where the reporter combatively asks about the album ‘Why aren’t you number one?’, to which Squire retorts ‘It’s not out yet’, it’s the ultimate put down. Almost as good is the bands painterly creative approach to their dissatisfaction with management.
Of course it’s about the music though. Considering the relative dearth of work from the band, what they did make has resonated like few others. And it all sounds incredible. Like hearing it for the first time, it doesn’t sound dated at all. If anything the added years of life and experience since the split has only added layers of meaning, integrity and ability to what is before us. That goes for Shane and the people behind ‘Made In Stone’ too. The movie just looks and sounds incredible. The closing epic epilogue of ‘Fools Gold’ being played live at Heaton Park is hypnotically beautiful. The only frustrating thing about all being not being able to jump up and dance in the screening room.
I managed to see The Stone Roses play in Féile (a music festival in Cork, Ireland) 1995. If you look at footage of their gig it doesn’t look like much. But in my memory it’s one of the most amazing life defining weekends ever, they were stunning. I didn’t think it was possible to be so nonchalantly fucking cool. Not an arrogance cool, but an able to back it up with ability pride and swagger, that was there to be shared with the people, because at the end of the day, they really are one of us, and we are them.
Also on that Féile billing was Orbital, the last band on the last night. They got the entire stadium dancing as one. Everyone on the field, in the stands, in the food concessions stands, all the security and even the Hartnoll brothers themselves. I had never seen anything like it before. I had to stop for a instant just take it all in, as there were smiles spread all around me. Surrounded by people from 16 – 60 all dancing as one. It was on that night that I made a wish that some day I would make something or a moment to hopefully match and share that universal love/joy the band had created. I couldn’t help thinking Shane had made the same wish at some stage, but he has made his moment come true. And he final closing shot of Shane kissing his partner seals the love letter to his journey .