MIXTAPE: Michael Luke, Tees Valley International Film Festival | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Michael Luke, with Bill Fellows and Mark Benton who both appear at this year’s festival

Words: Michael Luke

I’m Michael Luke, I founded the Tees Valley International Film Festival, which is an event different from any other of its kind in the world. From the start, we aimed to build a film festival for the people, designed around fun and entertainment but with a major emphasis on learning. The long term goal being to kickstart a new generation of creatives, of all ages and backgrounds, across all aspects of the craft of filmmaking. The events that make up the festival are entirely unique and the initiatives we’ve designed to help achieve our long term goal are groundbreaking. Check out the TVIFF Scholarship and our Schedule of Events on our socials and website to find out more. Here are a few of my favourite tracks.

The Tees Valley International Film Festival takes place at ARC, Stockton from Wednesday 25th-Saturday 28th October.

The Doors – The Changeling

I am a massive fan of The Doors. So much so that I visit Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris every year on the anniversary of his death. There are a group of us from all over the world that meet there every year, so my annual pilgrimage isn’t as sad as it might sound. The Doors have been a massive part of my life since I discovered them at the tender age of thirteen, so it would be wrong of me to start a playlist without a Doors song. The Changeling is the opening track from the LA Woman album which I also believe to be the finest opening album track of all time.

Suede – Heroine

As a teenager I was always drawn towards lyrics, and I think Brett Anderson from Suede is one of the best lyricists in modern music. I love the imagery of this song. The lyrics are filled with beauty and romance, invoking thoughts of a young man mourning the loss of his first love, but as the song develops it becomes clear that the protagonist is not pining for a lost love, he’s in withdrawal and is pining for heroin. The metaphor of drug as lover and addiction as love, and the wordplay of the title are nothing short of poetic genius.

Nirvana – Lithium

Check out Nirvana playing this song at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better stand alone live performance.

U2 – One

Not the coolest band in the world…but who cares. A good song is a good song. If someone put a gun to my head and told me to pick my favourite song, it would be this one. It has everything. The emotion in this song is palpable.

The Beatles – A Day in the Life

I think the production on this song is exquisite, and John Lennon’s voice as the song moves out of the dream sequence is breathtaking. The murder of John Lennon was one of the greatest tragedies of modern times and, in my opinion, this song underlines his genius more than any other. A true epic.

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

It always struck me that a song of such beauty as this, which extols complete and total devotion from the protagonist to their subject, begins with the line “I may not always love you”. I’m a big fan of The Beach Boys. They were the first band I discovered that were around before my lifetime and I was only ten years old when that happened. It was hearing the Jive Bunny songs in 1989 that turned me onto early rock and roll and music from the 1960’s. Readers of a certain age will know what I’m talking about. Readers under a certain will be googling ‘Jive Bunny’ right now.

Danny Williams – Moon River

Easy listening is a guilty pleasure of mine, and there are many songs from the genre I could’ve picked for this playlist but this one sums up everything I like about the Gods of easy listening, like Burt Bacarach and the writer of Moon River, Henry Mancini. The sweeping strings, the exquisite vocals and the deep emotion. The song’s first outing was on the soundtrack to Breakfast at Tiffanys but it’s this slowed down, underplayed, vocal-led version by Danny Williams that gets me.

The Doors – The End

Just like my musical passions, this playlist starts and ends with The Doors. I love albums that have a continuity to them, albums that take you on a journey. Where each song fits like a jigsaw piece into the next and if you were to hear those songs on their own or in a different order, it just wouldn’t feel right. The End by The Doors provides all of that in one song. An eleven minute behemoth that isn’t just a musical journey, it’s a tour de force that takes in themes of love, murder, sex, loss and Tolkien-esque poetic imagery. Does the song speak of the end of love or the end of life? That’s up to the listener, but I can think of no better way to end my playlist.


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