From The Desk Of The Lilac Time’s Stephen Duffy: “Renaldo And Clara” And Other Things

Stephen Duffy was the first singer in a little band called Duran Duran. He left them in 1979 and began a series of other musical projects before settling into the Lilac Time almost three decades ago with brother Nick. The band’s latest album is No Sad Songs. Stephen Duffy will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

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Duffy: I run for 40 minutes everyday, and I watch films that may be too idiosyncratic to foist on the rest of the family and dogs. Fellini documentaries that were made cheaply for Italian television in the ’70s: Felliniana. Godard will always make me go the extra furlong. With Bergman, I have spent hours alone on Fåro. We watched every minute of every version of Fanny Och Alexander, including all documentaries and bonus features. But it’s Renaldo And Clara that I return to most often. A film so contumacious that a draft introduction by Allen Ginsberg is memorably more coherent than what’s onscreen. It’s easy to be overawed by editing so transparent it appears not to have been edited at all. Were it not known that he did so for years, employing more application than he has on any other artistic creation. I loved Blood On The Tracks. It still shapes in some ways what I do. Desire did nothing to detract from my idolatry, and I was captivated by the ‘60s minstrelsy of the Rolling Thunder Review. Back then, I was a fresh-faced teen, and now the sight of it all almost topples me from the treadmill. But just as we begin to get embarrassed we are served a transcendental “Tangled Up In Blue,” a performance that could sit next to anything in Don’t Look Back or the similarly obtuse “Eat The Document.” And then we have Allen Ginsberg dancing with Joan Baez like seagulls and other lovely vignettes. Perhaps Dylan thought with such material it would be impossible for it to be anything but a triumph. My bootleg copy is so sketchy, its beauty might be missing. But even so, I think it might be worth someone taking just another couple of years at a Steenbeck flatbed.

Video after the jump.