Friday, 14 December 2012

Having A Wild Weekend

It seems odd now, but The Dave Clark Five were one of the biggest names in sixties pop, particularly in the US where they appeared on the Ed Sullivan show eighteen thousand times and had sixty number ones or something. The DC5 didn’t really bother with things like musical progression, and they didn’t get all hairy and weird like The Beatles, so they may have seemed safer and more palatable to our predominantly more conservative transatlantic cousins. Their music, a pretty basic shouty, stompy take on early rock and roll is probably one of the least interesting things about them. By far the most interesting is the film they made in 1965, ‘Catch Us If You Can’.
Directed by rising star John Boorman, the film is wacky and fun loving for approximately ten minutes before becoming quite amazingly wistful and downbeat. Dave and the lads (the other four aren’t given names. One has no lines at all) play stuntmen (Dave’s job before he became a pop star) who are working on a successful advertising campaign for meat. The star of the ads is Dinah, the ‘Meat For Go!’ girl. She and Dave share an unspoken mutual attraction and both feel confined by the ruthlessly commercial world they have become a part of, a world run by manipulative men only marginally older than them but much more ‘grown up’: men who no longer have dreams, only goals. Dave and Dinah impulsively run away from the latest advert shoot, stealing an e-type Jag and heading for an island off the Devonshire coast that Dinah is thinking of buying.
What follows is an hour and a bit of Dave and Dinah trying to find freedom, pursued all the way by the unstoppable forces of adult life and the press who, in order to generate maximum publicity,  have been led to believe that Dinah has been kidnapped. This downbeat travelogue is occasionally punctuated by DC5 recordings (the band do not play or sing at any point during the film), and, superbly, incidental music from an uncredited Basil Kirchin.
When they finally arrive at their destination (Burgh Island near Plymouth) the young almost lovers soon realise it’s far from being the safe haven they dreamed of - not only is it readily accessible when the tide is out, but the media circus following the couple has already landed. Dinah, swayed by the flash bulbs and the attention, is immediately sucked back in; a baleful looking Dave and the boys drive off in their Mini Moke to their next existential crisis.
A strange, pensive film, it’s interesting to think what DC5 fans would have thought of it, especially under its US title ‘Having A Wild Weekend’, but then I suppose ‘Having A Weird Weekend’ doesn’t sound as much fun (it does to me).  Dave Clark readily admitted that he was not comfortable as an actor and this clearly shows – in fact, he does the strange thing of making the viewer uncomfortable. Described throughout as ‘saturnine’ he is a dark, glowering, monosyllabic presence who spits out his chewing gum on his own floor, the sort of bloke one tends to steer clear of in real life, whatever that is.

Here’s a lovely medley of the amazing Mr. Kirchin’s incidental music. it has never been officially released, so this is an audio rip from the film. I’m not a technical sort, so don’t expect perfection, just a lo fi sound portrait of Basil’s usual brilliance.


  1. Found what I presume to be the tie in LP for this movie for £1 a few weeks back (no mention of the film itself anywhere on the packaging) and it ain't bad, not sure I'll ever play it all the way through ever again and obviously no Basil on there but still pleased to find and hear it.

    This is one of those movies I've been meaning to see for years and as this write up makes it sound more interesting than I presumed it would be maybe it'll bump it up my mental "to see" list.

    Oh, and thanks for the download.

  2. Really nice, Paul. I hadn't heard of this one.