FUZZY SPEAKS - MALCOLM GERRIE Q&A
FROM ORIGINAL STARDUST PROGRAMME
Q Mr Gerrie, how do you feel about the sexual aspect of “Stardust”?
A (Laughs) Great! (Laughs) Um, which sexual aspect?
Q I understand that there’s scenes involving Jim and two girls in the early part, and
there’s the big party in the studio later on.
Q Are you going to tone them down for the family audience?
A Yeah, well we’re doing it in a school and not a theatre we had to tone it down
considerably, obviously, because it’s a different audience, and we’re not using actors, we’re using pupils – this sort of thing. Apart from that, I think the sexual side of the film wasn’t really the most important side. I think the important thing was the overall theme of the film.
Q Which was?
A I think you know in Jim McClaine, who is the imaginary rock ‘n’ roll star of the film you can sort of see if you like an archetype – that’s a good word – of all the dead rock stars – yer Jimi Hendrixes, yer Janis Joplins, yer Elvis Presleys (laughs). And unfortunately they’ve died for one reason or another, and what we’ve done in the show is to use the idea of an imaginary rock ‘n’ roll star who eventually hits the big time – he leaves the rest of the group. And eventually, in the end of the film he dies, so in a sense he represents all the dead rock ‘n’ roll stars. Boom! Boom! Carry On.
Q do you think that it’s just the sensitive rock stars that end up dead or do you think they all go that way in the end. Or do you think that it’s I’ll re-phrase that sort of differently.
Do you think it’s just ones who are totally affected by the business, or who just want to play their music?
A I don’t really think you can generalise – you can take somebody like Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones who was a sensitive sort of individual but at the same time wasn’t a massive star like David Essex or David Bowie, He was just part of a group.
Q When did you first think – give over – when did you first think of putting “Stardust” on at school?
A Yeah, well, as soon as we’d finished “Tommy” we started thinking about what we’d do next year, which is now this year, if you can work that out. The sort of the first idea we had, which we kept dead secret, we’d do the life story of the Beatles, using all Beatles music. Then we found out that they’d done this “John, Paul, George, Ringo and, Bert” show, which we’d never heard of before, honest. (laughs) So they beat us to the post, and I saw the thing in London, and it’s really excellent – so I couldn’t cope with that. The other thing we were thinking of doing Sergeant Pepper, from the L.P. and dramatise that. The only thing is you tend to start making up bits of story to match the songs, and it gets a bit artificial.
Q What else did you think of?
A We thought of the usual things. “Hair”.
Q “Oh Calcutta?”
A Yeah. A rock Hamlet. Or Two Tommies of Verona. I am Curious Tommy. (Laughs)
Q Tommy Meets Godzilla.
A Cosi fan Tommi, Tommy fan Tutti. (Laughs) Tomlet. Where was I? So I’d heard about this film “Stardust” which I then saw in London. And I came back and I really did like the film. George saw it and he wasn’t too keen on it.
Q He’s not too keen on owt, is he?
A No, true. (Laughs)
Q Except beer.
A I know. Then we saw the David Bowie thing on the telly. And it suddenly occurred to us that we could work in the idea of Ziggy Stardust – even the name in fact. I think that’s where they got the name of “Stardust” from, fitted in with story line, so er
GR Yer won’t be long, will yer? No facts, mind.
A We thought that rather than do the straight-forward story, we would do our own version, starting off in the North-East and use completely our own music, in other words forget about the original score (cheers Steve) and do the songs which we wanted to do, which is what we’ve done.
Q Do you not think that a lot of people tend to compare the film with it, with “Stardust” even though it has nothing to do with it, like we got “Tommy” in before the film.
Q Then people will be saying……well they might even be comparing that with the play.
A Yeah, that’s a good question. They are so different. Our version is so different from the film that really it would be very difficult. In other words I thought I was going to adapt the script, but in actual fact we’ve changed it almost completely. We changed the plot, in other words Johnny dies, he gets electrocuted. We’ve changed the characters, the personalities of the people.
We’ve got it in a local setting which wasn’t the film. And the other big thing is, visually it’s going to be very different as we’re doing it here; musically it’s 100% different – we’re only using one song from the film, and that’s “Stardust” itself.
Q Do you think it’s going to be as big a hit as “Tommy” was? Do you think that there’ll be a many people here? Is the publicity going to be better?
A I think there’s not problem of that at all. In fact we’ve had quite a few enquiries with people actually coming to school asking for tickets. I say a lot, there’ll probably be under a dozen. It’s not bad when you think. And the other thing that we’ve got going for us this year which we didn’t have last year of course is the Aquarius thing. I think it will probably be bigger than “Tommy”, in that it’s asking more.
Q It seems to be a lot harder.
A It is harder, because it’s more original.
Q More dialogue.
A More dialogue. It’s a different concept we’re working with, working it out as we go along.
In “Tommy” it had already been done for us. I think at the end of the day, the only criterion is
whether it turns you on or not, you know.
Q Is there. Have you had permission like to change the script about a lot? or have….
A Yea. We’ve got permission off Ray Connelly, who’s the guy who wrote “Stardust” – he gave us the go-ahead. In terms of copyright last year Pete Townsend just said go ahead, do everything, don’t worry about royalties etc. Well. Not royalties, yeah, royalties, don’t worry about them. In otherwords he gave us 100% total permission. this year the Aquarius people have done it all for us. In otherwords they contacted the music agencies, and it’s all been settled. The biggest problem we’ve had is the David Bowie thing, “cos he’s just split from his agency, Main Man. But we’re hoping his wife’s going to come, uh Angie. And we’re trying to get David Essex of course. I don’t think David Bowie will come. I think that’s definitely out. I think there’s a fair chance that David Essex will. I’d like it anyway. He’s certainly been invited OK.
Q Thank you