Oct 9, 2011

REVIEW: Living in the Material World

Things we loved about Martin Scorsese's George Harrison: Living in the Material World, all prompting the thought that is one of the most penetrating portraits of a rock musician ever made:—
1) Olivia Harrison's take on being married for a long time "knocking the edges off you". The fact that Scorsese included it and the way his presence worked throughout, by virtue of the compliment it entailed, to induce more candid answers from the interviewees.

2) Her vivid, harrowing account of the stabbing: the Biblical detail, the fire poker, the sheen of blood down his blond head, his refusal to die. Like the De Niro break-in in Cape Fear. One McEwanesque detail in particular stood out: Harrison's surprise at finding himself in the act of trying to murder someone — not something he had expected to have to do when he woke up that morning, or indeed, ever.

3) Jackie Stewart's self-confessed surprise at the length of his bereavement for Harrison, given how many racing drivers he has had to bury and how many people were closer to Harrison. A massive, accidental compliment — he really was trying to figure it out.

4) Eric Clapton's impersonation throughout of the Rebecca de Mornay character in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. Still sick and suffering.

5) Ringo's tears.

6) The line "Nobody had ever asked 'what is making you sad, Klaus?'"

7) The affection in the portrait of Astrid Kirchherr — particularly the quote from Lennon, making it clear the respect was reciprocated.

8) The jump-cuts in and out of songs, also the scarcity of album versions.

9) McCartney's "fookin' turban" quote and the brief hope it entertains that he is not going to sound so throttled, this time, by the sheer pound-per-pound pressure of defending himself.

10) Harrison's hair, particularly circa Sgt Pepper. Also the slowness of his reactions to things, his expressions and smiles all dawning at half-speed — English wariness meets Eastern detachment.


  1. George getting rid of the Hell's Angels:

    There's Yin & Yang, here and not here - you have to leave