The Schla-la-las

Photo © Daniel Cooper

The Schla-la-las are five sassy London girls with fabulous matching outfits and boisterous punk-pop tunes harking back to classic sixties girl groups but with fuzzier guitars and shouty vocals. They’ve just released a new single 1234 – you can see their brilliant stop motion Lego video here!


1- Time of the Gypsies (1988)
This is a tragi-comic coming-of-age tale, told in a magic realism style. I love films that make me laugh and cry. Perhan, a Gypsy teenager with telekinetic powers, leaves his Serbian village in search of his sister, who got abducted by a gang to work as a beggar in Milan. Sucked in by the promises of power and riches, he ends up rising through the ranks of the gang itself, but being a good guy at heart, things come to a tragic end.

2- This is Spinal Tap (1984)
This spoof rockumentary has to be one of the funniest films ever, and if you’re in a band, you are bound to have experienced the odd Tap moment. We follow a slightly past-its-prime British rock band during their tour in the States, trying to promote their new album – not very successfully. There are battles-of-the-frontmen, a Yoko type character, and generally lots of very well-observed moments of rock’n’roll vanity. And if you get the DVD, the second disc with everything that hasn’t made it into the cut is just as hilarious.


3- Ghostbusters (1984)
Okay, I could pretend to be all pretentious and/or arty here, but hand-on-heart my favourite film of all time is Ghostbusters. I saw it at the Chester Odeon with my Grandma and little sister when it first came out and absolutely loved it, have done ever since. Music from the film Ghostbusters and Wham’s Make It Big where the first albums I ever bought in fact. Altogether now ‘Bustin’ makes me feel good!’

4- Great Expectations (1947)
I’ve never really gone in for lists of favourite films (although I’m mad for a music top 5), but I recently saw David Lean’s Great Expectations for the second time, and it was absolutely amazing. I first saw it during a summer holiday from school. Six glorious weeks to do with whatsoever you please, so my sister and I spent them sitting around the house watching daytime TV. Great Expectations came on one afternoon and captivated both of us. I’d never really given it much thought again, until I opened Time Out the other week, saw a still from the film and recognised it immediately. I invited my friend Ben to go with me. I didn’t reveal too much about it as I wasn’t too sure how he felt about black and white films, especially those made in 1947, but he gets discounted tickets at the NFT so it was a chance I was willing to take. And he loved it. Of course he did, it’s amazing. Funny, and thrilling, and touching in equal measure. Go see, go see. You won’t regret it, I promise.


5- Paris When It Sizzles (1964)
Gabrielle: ‘Actually, depravity can be terribly boring if you don’t smoke or drink.’ Paris When It Sizzles is like seeing Audrey Hepburn in a Quentin Tarantino film (without the bloody bits). There’s an amazing use of timeline, classic comedy and of course glamorous outfits for Audrey. It’s purely pleasant.

6- O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Ulysses Everett McGill: ‘What’d the devil give you for your soul, Tommy?’
Tommy Johnson: ‘Well, he taught me to play this here guitar real good.’
Delmar O’Donnell: ‘Oh son, for that you sold your everlasting soul?’
Tommy Johnson: ‘Well, I wasn’t usin’ it.’
O Brother Where Art Thou is an age-old story (based loosely on Homer’s Odyssey) told in that gritty, darkly humorous Coen Brothers style, the acting is superb and George Clooney… *swoon*. The soundtrack is the cherry on top of this fabulous film.


7- The Red Shoes (1948)
Red Shoes is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen. Jack Cardiff is my favourite cinematographer and Technicolor is grand.

8- Heathers (1989)
Heathers is an amazing script displaying a true understanding of contemporary use and development of language. Not to mention it started my first poster-on-the-wall crush of Christian Slater!


9- Tommy (1975)
I love rock-opera and films based on albums (see Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Clubs Band for another amazing example of preposterous workings of songs into a storyline! Starring The Bee Gees, Steve Martin and Frankie Howard!). Tommy was written as an opera but it’s no less bonkers. So many fantasy and dream sequences it’s impossible to know what’s real and what isn’t but some amazing set pieces including Ann-Margaret in a jumpsuit rolling in baked beans, Eric Clapton as the priest of money, Oliver Reed revelling in a scary Butlins style holiday camp, Paul Nicholas as twisted Cousin Kevin, Keith Moon as perverted Uncle Ernie and of course Tina Turner as a freaked-out junkie locking dead, dumb and blind Tommy into a needle-pricked sarcophagus!

10- Privilege (1967)
A late 1960s film starring Paul Jones (Manfred Mann’s vocalist) as Stephen Shorter, a pop star of astronomical fame. The numb-to-it-all doesn’t-know-what-he-wants Stephen Shorter is babied and guarded by a posse of wagon-jumping yes-men trying to satisfy his every whim to keep the money-machine turning (‘Stephen wants hot chocolate! Let’s ALL have hot chocolate! After Stephen turns down an alcoholic drink at a garden party). Teenagers are seen as money and music purely as a commodity. Stephen is manipulated by politicians and businessmen who see him as a way of promoting their cause. Eventually the church get involved and Stephen Shorter is re-invented as a Christian rock band with Mersey-beat versions of Onward Christian Soldiers sung by Stephen and his shaven-headed band behind a giant burning cross. A satirical, sometimes bleak but very compelling film. (P.S. – this film is nigh on impossible to get hold of in a good quality – I had a copy but leant all my videos to a friend three years ago and haven’t seen them since! Argh!)