I watched the David Brent: Life on the Road movie the other day. It was alright – I like Ricky Gervais a lot though the film broke no new ground and just delivered up more of The Office but in a different context. In the picture David Brent (now a travelling salesman) puts together a band to take his vision on the road – no one really likes it but several of the band members get stolen to go on to better things.
It struck me that I may well be something like the David Brent of Wellington.
Like him, I’m totally convinced of my own talent for songwriting and performing those songs and like him I have a lot of people in my life who just don’t get it and can’t stand me. Also over the years I’ve had members of my band poached for better things and I really know how the Brent character feels in that respect – it isn’t easy. It really sucks – not that I told them that at the time of course. I would always just encourage them, pick up the pieces and replace them. And unlike David Brent I never made the money to pay them properly for their efforts so who can blame them.
I just soldier on with the next line up and try to get my songs out there. The thing is I know they are great songs – I know that in my heart and that’s why I always manage to get other musicians to join me. They know it too and they want to add those elements that the songs need – the drums, the bass or whatever it is that I can’t bring to them. In the 80s it was different – audiences were hungry for the new and the unique and we were younger and fearless. It wasn’t a question of giving people what they want, it was a matter of offering up a type of song that no one else could.
When This is the Spinal Tap came out I’d already formed my first Spines and I saw that film as a possible blueprint for what my musical career would be – not that it’s actually turned out quite like that. Never anywhere near that funny or grand.
These days maybe I am an anachronism like David Brent. I swan around town with my long hair, bad teeth and covered in paint from work and a joke to all the hipsters. The movie is all about sadness really and the human condition. I like the last part of the film when he finally has a beer with his band and then he says – “I don’t need to be a rock star – it’s just something I enjoy doing. I can live without being a success but I couldn’t live without trying and I did that.”
Then he gets the girl in the end.