Guest blog

Producer Mark Herbert’s Top Five Stone Roses Tracks

With The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone premiering on Channel 4 this Easter Weekend at 10.50pm on Record Store Day – Saturday 19th April – producer  Mark Herbert shares his top five Stone Roses tracks


1. Don’t Stop

This is apparently Waterfall in reverse but for nearly 20 years I did not know. When I heard Reni play it live and saw his octopus hands make it look easy playing this rhythm, I was in awe. I love Mani and Reni at the end.


2. Breaking Into Heaven

I spent so long waiting for the album, stuck it on and thought “what’s the frig is this?”, then when it kicked in, I was in love with it. I’ve grown to love all of it and was blown away when I heard it for the first time live at Finsbury Park this year.


3. Mersey Paradise

Under 3 minutes of bliss. John’s dreamy guitar intro lulls you in & then the rest of them punch you in the under carriage.


4. Where Angels Play

“Ok, let’s fly she says, this carpet’s made for two.”

What a wondrous poetic line sung in proper Northern from Ian. Up there with “You taste of Cherryade” from Sally Cinnamon. They seem so simple, but the best art does. And both are dead romantic.


5. I Am The Resurrection

When making the film, you think you will tire of hearing the songs. Never did. When the crowd threw the green cushions at this performance last year in Lyon,  it made the hair stand up on the back of my thinning head as much as when I first heard it at 18. It was also played last at my brother’s wedding party this year and the dance floor went mental (in a quaint pub in Peaks)


Click here to buy The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone on 2 disc Collector’s Edition DVD or Steelbook Blu-Ray now

Watch the trailer for The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone:






Director Shane Meadows’ Top Five Stone Roses Tracks

With The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone premiering on Channel 4 this Easter Weekend at 10.50pm on Record Store Day – Saturday 19th April – director Shane Meadows shares his top five Stone Roses tracks


1. Sally Cinnamon

The song that gave us kids of the 80s our very own 60s. Rock and roll wasn’t what mattered, it was having something only you understood, that only you and your generation believed in that mattered, and we believed in the Stone Roses. This song was an indication of what was to follow in their debut album: unadulterated greatness.

2. Waterfall

I played this song on vinyl on my Matsui (low cost all-in-one stereo from Argos) record player, in my bedroom for my first girlfriend (not ever, just my first one in tie-dye) from art college. She was a painter, she was vegetarian and she had political views. I was pretending to be an actor, pretending to be a vegetarian and pretended to have political views. But I believed in the Stone Roses music and when I put this track on, she ignored my fraudulent attempts be a hipster and kissed me for ages.

3. Standing Here

The outro that runs for the last 2 minutes of this song is the purest, simplest, most beautifully jangly and moving moment of any Roses tune for me.

4. Made Of Stone

Every band should have an anthem and although Fools Gold comes close, Made Of Stone is that Record. I can’t drive to Fools Gold as I want to pull over and start throwing some shapes, and you have to be able to drive up the M6 to an anthem. Made of Stone is that tune.

5. Fools Gold

What can you say that hasn’t already been said at least a 1000 times. Is it indie, is it funk, is it a dance track? Frick knows, but it’s a belter! It defied comparison at the time and still kicks arse. I built the entire end of our film around this song. It’s iconic, it is one of the only songs I ever dance to and it sparked our summer of love. If it came out for the first time today, it would still start a fire.

Click here to buy The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone on 2 disc Collector’s Edition DVD or Steelbook Blu-Ray now

Watch the trailer for The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone:


Will Self’s Flytopia: the short film

Will Self on seeing his short story Flytopia turned into a Film4-backed short by directors Karni and Saul

Will Self by Valerie Bennett

Will Self by Valerie Bennett

I wrote ‘Flytopia’ at the end a long hot summer when I was living in a small square cottage in the depths of Suffolk. The cottage was more or less surrounded by wheat fields, and when the harvest began all the anima life living in amongst the crop – field mice and voles, rats and especially insects of all sorts – decided to take up residence in the cottage. I put up insecticide units, I hung coils of flypaper from the ceiling – all to no avail; as I typed away, sweating out the novel that I knew was in me, but which I was having great difficulty excreting, the flies buzzed around my head. When I went to the kitchen to boil the kettle silverfish boiled up from the drain, and when I went to the toilet to make waste of my natural bodily products I found excremental earwigs had made it there before me.

This was, of course, the mise en scene that I placed the narrator of ‘Flytopia’ in – but the other element that made up the story was a children’s book I was reading to my kids in the early 1990s. Called Dinotopia, it was tale of a lost world in which intelligent dinosaurs lived alongside humans. The book was beautifully illustrated, and the ingenuity the authors showed in integrating reptilian and mammalian life forms was something we all found endlessly engaging. (In fact Dinotopia was made into a TV miniseries starring David Thewlis of all people – there’s a rueful aside about this in my 2008 novel Walking to Hollywood if you want to get anorak-y.) I thought of turning the utopia into a dystopia – being the sort of writer I am – and that’s how ‘Flytopia’ was born.

My initial reaction to Karni and Saul’s beautiful film of the story was utter joy: they had perfectly realised the strange mixture of heat, sexuality, and insanity that pervades my text. Writing is a lonely business, and I think the reason so many writers want to get mixed up in the movies is for the company – I often have fantasies about casting sessions, and given the fervid intensity of the performances in Flytopia this is hardly surprising… I love the surface limpidity of the film as well – and of course the flies and other insects. The bedroom scenes are particularly affecting – as I’m sure you’ll agree if you have a particle of insectophilia in you. True, on subsequent viewings of the film I did have some qualms: I thought that perhaps the narrative progression of the tale and the particular reveal you get on the printed page hadn’t quite been managed – but then I looked at their Flytopia again and realised that these were ridiculous quibbles: a film is a film and a text is a text, and within the terms of a filmic grammar Flytopia works perfectly. Karni, Saul and I are thinking of collaborating together on future films – I think their style of mixed animation and live action is particularly suited to my own hyper-real fictional inscapes. Let’s hope it comes off…

You can watch the Flytopia trailer below or click here to view on a phone or tablet. The full short will be available to view from 1pm on Friday 18th October.

Flytopia was produced in partnership with Creative England.

Jeremy Lovering’s Sundance Diaries: part six

15 Feb, 2013 Posted in: Directors, Festivals, Guest blog, Online, Sundance

In Fear writer-director Jeremy Lovering shares his final thoughts on Sundance 2013 and bids a fond farewell to Utah…

Alice Englert and Allen Leech

Alice Englert and Allen Leech

Day and Evening 4

I wake feeling good. This time I look in the mirror and all is calm. Everyone else is happy and they are heading off, leaving Sundance.

Allen is carrying the adoration of Downton Abbey fans with him to LA, Alice is going on the press tour for Beautiful Creatures, the producers and financiers are heading back to London or Paris.

I go up the mountain for breakfast. It’s beautiful. I’ve got some music on my computer that was being shared by a random guest at the hotel that I downloaded earlier. I’m guessing he / she is a snowboarder judging by his / her taste. It’s the kind of track that is amazing when you’re going at speed down the mountain but I know when I’m sitting on a bus in London’s grey winter it won’t feel quite the same.

But I like the fact that a stranger has given me a glimpse into who they are. I like that for this moment they have given me something without knowing it is making me happy.

It resonates with what I feel about the audience last night. I will always remember the look in their eyes.

I grab a lift back down the mountain with a random man. He tells me he is in Sundance trying to regenerate interest in his screenplay. He says he had Ridley Scott interested and now he has the Coen brothers interested. He says it like I should unquestioningly believe him, like why wouldn’t I believe him and suddenly unlike the anonymous and generous snowboarder I feel like he is trying to take something, not give something.

I can’t really explain that, but that’s what it felt like and it makes me sad.

Sundance is full of dreams and hope – there’s so much going on that I haven’t mentioned – the lunches and talks and panels and screenings and all that is part of the fabric that is exciting and positive –  amazing people from graduating filmmakers to veteran directors, indie actors to mainstream stars, wide-eyed short film producers to the impresarios of Hollywood  – but somehow here they all fit in, they all seem equally part of the Sundance experience that makes you happy to be making films.

But of course there is another side. And of course you can’t make any assumptions.

My last screening is in a bigger venue and maybe the encounter with that man has made me cautious.

Then it quickly dispels. The first gasp, the first nervous laugh and I relax.

The response is if anything even better than the night before. It feels great. Really great. And I feel really lucky. Again.

Maybe I’ve witnessed all the necessary parts of making movies laid out in stark detail – the ideas and creative force of the other directors, writers and actors, the brilliance and kindness of the Sundance programmers – John Nein, Trevor Groth, John Cooper, the seamless organization of Chelsea Rowe and all her team, the support and friendship of the financiers – Studio Canal and Filmfour, the brilliance and cleverness of the best producers – Nira Park and Matthew Justice, the bravado, fun and efficiency of publicists…

…But most importantly I’ve experienced the sheer joy of having reached an audience, seeing the thrill in their eyes and hearing the word ‘awesome’.

It’s like I’ve shared a piece of music in the ether and somewhere there is someone listening to it.
Oh, and I have also been up the mountain and received the blessing from the Sundance Kid.


Click here to browse Jeremy Lovering’s previous Sundance blogs


Jeremy Lovering’s Sundance diaries: part five

07 Feb, 2013 Posted in: Directors, Festivals, Guest blog, Opinion, Sundance

In Fear writer-director Jeremy Lovering writes for about his nerves before the second Sundance screening of his film – and the audience buzz afterward


In Fear stars Allen Leech and Alice Englert

In Fear stars Allen Leech and Alice Englert

Day and evening three

OK I’ll be honest – we drank whisky in the night, in the snow. So it was a short day by the time it began.

Remember I mentioned the look in directors’ eyes at Redford’s brunch? A mixture of expectation, pride and fear. Of Judgement Day?

Remember I mentioned Redford’s calming words reminding us of our creative urge and the need to keep that in mind and not get hung up on wondering if our film will sell, if the critics will get it, if the audience will like it?

Well I’m staring in the mirror and I see the look in my eyes but Robert is silent.

Our amazing publicists – Chris Libby, Clay Dollarhide, Brandon Nicholls – on the phone earlier were philosophical. They don’t expect a flurry of declamatory reaction – people take their time to respond.

Chris Libby - brilliant publicist

Chris Libby – brilliant publicist

I remind myself of one time when I was developing a project in Hollywood. The writer turned in a new draft which I really liked. I talked to the executives – they were waiting to hear back from the executive at the top of the food chain. But, I asked, “What do you think?” They replied, “We’ll tell you what we think when [our boss] has told us what we think.”

We are living in risk-adverse times.

And I guess we all secretly, and perhaps unfoundedly, hope that the response will be uniform, and in our minds we factor out individual’s taste, background, ego or simply mood that night.

It feels confusing but actually it’s really, really simple – I like Kippers for breakfast, my girlfriend doesn’t. She’ll eat them in the evening but just not first thing in the morning. And that’s fine.

I stop staring in the mirror. There’s a world out there.

We head to Salt Lake City. It’s an hour away from Park City and for the second screening the film is showing in a regular cinema – similar to a UK Vue I guess, or a smaller Odeon.

There is an ‘inversion’ in Salt Lake City – a mass of low-pressure gets trapped in the city as it’s surrounded by mountains. This then holds in the cold and the pollution, the temperature drops ten degrees and people can’t breathe.

Will people perhaps pass out or die when they are watching the film? I wonder if that will help or hinder it?

I get there I see ‘IN FEAR’ written on the ‘what’s-on’ sign in front of the particular screen – it feels very real.

I overhear a man in the queue – there was actually a queue – saying, “The thing is, you have already played the movie over in your mind before you sit down”. And maybe he’s right – from the very first time you mention the idea to the moment the audience sits down, everyone has part-created their version of your movie in their heads.

And so I realize maybe our biggest challenge is not only to try to get people to suspend their disbelief but also to abandon their pre-invented version at the same time.

The queue gets longer – people are buying popcorn, some ask to be on the waitlist, some are on their phones telling friends they got in. There’s a real buzz.

I go in and the cinema is completely full. People who look like they work in offices, people who work in shops, gyms and construction sites, single girls out with friends, couples, loners, students, city professionals, young and old – people who just want to have a good night out.

At once it feels like it might play well. And it does.

They laugh, clap, gasp, scream – do everything I could have hoped for in all the right places.

In fact the screening tonight is GREAT – they hide behind their coats, scream, whistle, say “No!”, “Don’t!”, clap and whoop at the end.

One man even tried a standing ovation – going too far obviously and a woman near me fans herself throughout with a piece of paper she is so overcome. Though maybe that was the ‘inversion’.

And then 200 people stay for the Q&A – and that’s a massively high number – their eyes full of thrill. They just want to talk about the film. Our film. My film.

And that’s when I realize – I think I have managed to suspend their disbelief. I think I have replaced their version with my own.

I am so flattered. I AM SO HAPPY.

I love Salt Lake City.

And clearly they all love Kippers for breakfast too.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah