Oh! Gunquit’s Film Jukebox

Oh! Gunquit

Oh! Gunquit are a rumblebop, trashgarage, freakabilly band from North London who have a love of wild garage, exotica, 60s R&B, surf and punk. They have released two 7” singles (the second being Single of the Week in Artrocker), a track on a Japanese compilation of UK garage rock, and are just putting the finishing touches to their self-produced debut album due out early September, recorded at the legendary Gizzard studio in Hackney Wick. OGQ have taken their unique show of horns, hula hoops, rumbling toms and buzzsaw guitars to festivals and bespoke events all over the UK, Portugal, Belgium, Holland and Germany. They play the 7th Annual What’s Cookin Picnic on Sunday 20 July at Henry Reynolds Gardens in London and the Shuffle Festival, curated by Danny Boyle, on Wednesday 30 July. For more information on the band please visit Oh! Gunquit on Facebook. Below, Tina and Simon from the band (lead vox and trumpet / guitar and vox) pick their favourite films.

1. Spartacus (Stanley Kubrick, 1960)
I could have chosen pretty much any of Kubrick’s movies, as he’s my favourite filmmaker, but I chose Spartacus because it’s the first one I ever saw by him. I was around seven years old on a rainy Sunday afternoon in terraced suburbia, dunking biscuits, engrossed in this classic tale of rebellion, ancient civil disobedience and the battle with mankind’s oppression of others. Although it’s a pretty mainstream and simplistic film for Kubrick (which he distanced himself from later), and one where I believe he didn’t have his usual level of complete control, I still love the sheer epic scale and Kirk Douglas’s clench-teethed intensity, his steely eyed ‘fuck you’ to the ruling classes. There’s also the incredible sweeping score by Alex North, who made a point of using antique instruments where possible to fit the period, many of which had never been used in film before. I have been known to wheel out my drunken impression of ‘The King of the Slaves’, which generally involves being bare-chested on a skateboard in the rain exclaiming of course that ‘I’m Spartacus!’ Simon

2. Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger, 1969)
Probably one of favourite movie soundtracks ever, the music and the film actually seem to have been conceived simultaneously. The classic tale of the small-town working-class boy trying to make it in the Big City, living on his wits (which the lead character Joe Buck, played phenomenally by Jon Voight, is severely lacking) and his delusion that he’ll Make It Big on his youthful good looks and vigour alone by being a gigolo is tragi-comic. The meeting with the archetypal Neu Yoik street-wise hustler (Rizzo) is just perfect and every scene is a winner, from the Warholesque Factory trippy party scene with ‘Old Man Willow’ by Elephant’s Memory to the penniless street-walking scenes of ‘Everybody’s Talkin’, in which Joe is systematically ignored by everyone. There’s nothing quite like being a stranger in a strange town, and the beauty of the theme tune ‘Midnight Cowboy’ is one of many compositions by the incredible John Barry that I love to sink into. Even the fruity beach-skipping day-dream scene’s ‘Florida Fantasy’ would get an airing at post lock-in parties when I lived above a pub in Chalk Farm Road, the tune coming complete with a specific stoopid dance routine. Above all, a sweetly glorious story of an unlikely friendship and the fight for survival in the gritty, seedy underbelly of late 60s Manhattan, which seems a million miles away from today’s safe yuppie hell. Simon

3. Drugstore Cowboy (Gus Van Sant, 1989)
Ok, I know, so another ‘cowboy’ film with no real cowboys in it. Get over it. Gus Van Sant’s breakthrough movie follows the exploits of an overly glamorous crew, granted, of junkies trying to score, and quit, set in the early 70s in America’s Pacific Northwest. It’s dark and funny with a great snappy script, and I really like the protagonist Bob’s narration of this film. I dig the desperate black humour and the focus on society’s fringes, the outsiders, the freaks, losers and weirdos. Kelly Lynch plays the no-nonsense ice-cool bad-ass Diane brilliantly, and William Burroughs is great as the fallen priest, long-term addict, and sage-like friend of Matt Dillon’s Bob. I still think of this film every time I put a ‘goddam hat’ on a bed; and who can not like a movie with The Count Five’s ‘Psychotic Reaction’ on the soundtrack? I once met a guy on the tube who was the spitting image (complete with the fidgety hat moves) of Bob’s foil, ‘David the TV Baby’, so much so that I had to ask him if he’d seen the film. As he was only about 19 he hadn’t a clue what I was talking about; this was the perfect answer. Simon

4. City of God (Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund, 2002)
A bit like Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, I remember watching this for the first time at the cinema and being completely blown away by the sheer pace of this film. It pulls you in instantly and wriggles your senses about. Generally, I’m not a fan of gang movies or anything that involves macho gun bravado bullshit, but this story about the struggle of the photography-loving favela boy Rocket, trying to stay away from the cold, ruthless gang world of Rio de Janeiro and escape the lure of crime in the ghetto, is told with warmth and depth. The cinematography is astounding and the performances from the cast (nearly all real favela kids, not previously trained actors) are bloody electric. I guess that’s why it jumps out of the screen at you, as you can’t imagine any nice middle-class kids from the posh suburbs getting anywhere near knowing what it would be like growing up in those terrifyingly hardcore shanty towns. And who doesn’t like a coming-of-age movie? Interesting point also, when it mentions that you have two choices if you grow up in the favela: 1. Be a criminal or 2. Join the police. The only thing to distinguish between the two is a uniform, as both appear to be as corrupt and trigger-happy as each other. Musically it thumps along with loads of sleazy 70s Brazilian funk and soul and the heat, fun and sex of the block parties seeps out at you. I imagine Brazil is trying very hard at the moment to present a completely different view of their divided cities. Simon

5. The Ladykillers (Alexander Mackendrick, 1955)
I thought I needed to include at least one British movie, although I was torn between Sexy Beast, Mike Leigh’s Naked, Shane Meadow’s Dead Man’s Shoes, Robert Day’s The Rebel and the obvious Withnail & I, but in the end I went with this, cos it’s a bleedin’ classic, ain’t it, right!? Also because it was filmed at the famous Ealing Studios and on many locations around the corner from where I live in Somers Town, St Pancras, Kings Cross. And you have to have something with Peter Sellers in it, don’ cha? (His role in Kubrick’s Lolita is pretty special too, I think). Alec Guinness as the sinister crime boss is great also. It’s just an all-round ace British film that gets more absurd as it romps along, and the juxtaposition of the hardened Laahndan criminals and the doily-loving dithering of Mrs Wilberforce, the elderly landlady, is sheer quality. I even quite like the Coen brothers remake, but you can’t top the original, the best London crime caper ever. Simon

6. Crooklyn (Spike Lee, 1994)
I wanted to get in Life is Sweet by Mike Leigh, which I saw for the first time the other week, and boy, did it resonate with my inner teenage-girl angst – totally wish I saw it when I was growing up! Alas, it doesn’t have music in it, so I thought I would hark on about another classic, more productive female coming–of-age in the form of Crooklyn, which is Spike Lee’s homage to a young girl named Troy, growing up in a brownstone in Brooklyn in the 70s with her chaotic family and neighbours. The characters and the story are great, as is the sense you get about the community values of the time, plus the music and cultural references are a joy! Really gets you reminiscing: growing up in a house full of people – ‘Yes, you are selfish! I can’t even take a piss without six people hanging off my tits!’, wishing you could dance on ‘Soul Train’, eating Trix cereal, playing street games, and wearing knee-high socks, all the while you have tunes from Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5 – all aboard! Tina

7. Meet the Feebles (Peter Jackson, 1989)
Long before Peter Jackson embarked upon the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I fell in love with this director for his deranged, honest, funny horror movies like Dead Alive and Bad Taste – so much so that I wrote him fan letters and sent him a picture of myself with my Morris Minor, which so prominently features in the film Meet the Feebles. The best of every type of crazed plotline that can go wrong does in this movie. I love the sheer scale of the puppetry, with surreal scenes of puppets playing Russian roulette in Vietnam, suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome and getting hooked on smack, to a soulful singing hippo with an eating disorder, and a hedgehog named ‘Wobert’ trying to make his way onto the stage – did I mention it is the world’s first R-rated musical puppet movie? As ridiculous as it is to watch, it really goes to show how ridiculous people are when it comes to drugs, sex, lust, disease and violence, all without CGI – woohoo! And the musical numbers are classic, including the likes of ‘One Leg Missing’, ‘Garden of Love’, ‘Robert’s Serenade, and let’s not forget ‘Sodomy’: ‘Why you might think it very odd of me … bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum’. Tina

8. Cry Baby (John Waters, 1990)
Not so long ago, we played Amy Grindhouse’s Filth Festival, centred around all things John Waters, and this little cracker, with a streak of raucous rock and roll, houses all the lovely 50s kitsch you can dream of, and is family friendly without stepping down to munching on stools. With roles filled by Ricky Lake, who hosted the kindest, loveliest daytime tele back in the day, Johnny Depp and Iggy Pop, there isn’t anything not to like. And who’s not a square or a nerd secretly wanting to be a drape? This movie just makes me giddy all over to watch, like eating cotton candy without having to worry about cavities or diabetes – yum! Tina

9. The Jerk (Carl Reiner, 1979)
Back in the days of Betamax video, I used to watch The Jerk with my brother and sister when growing up in the swamp in New Jersey. There is so much to love about Steve Martin, why, he is even an excellent banjo player himself! In this film Steve stars as Navin, the adopted white son of black sharecroppers, who is a bit of a simpleton and has an utter lack of rhythm, whenever his adopted family play spirited blues music. He decides to hitchhike to St Louis after hearing a song on the radio called ‘Crazy Rhythms’, which he can’t stop dancing to. I too grew up out in the corn fields in southern Illinois and have found myself moving around and seeing where opportunity takes me – and that is what Navin does, when going to work in a gas station, and then in a travelling carnival, where he eventually learns about his ‘special purpose’. The movie has the sweetest beach bonfire duet song, ‘Tonight You Belong to Me’, including a nicely mimed trumpet solo! After Navin’s ups and downs, the story ends with his returning home with his family, who sing Lead Belly’s ‘Pick a Bale of Cotton’, with Navin dancing along in perfect rhythm; now that’s what I call slap happy! Tina

10. Dr Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
Growing up a military brat out in Las Vegas, I once saw what I believed was an atom bomb cloud, and thought for sure the world was ending and the Russians were coming. Turns out it was just a chemical plant explosion that also made the marshmallow plant next to it explode, as well as emitting a sonic boom which caused the wheels to blow off of my brother’s stroller and our house to collapse. This movie by Stanley Kubrick embodies all the nonsense of Cold War ‘Peace on Earth’ and military ‘strategy’ gone haywire, with epic performances by Peter Sellers and Slim Pickens. Everything wrong with America’s foreign policy tied up in a black comedy about the doomsday orders, it’s a classic that is just as relevant now as it was when it first came out. Gotta love the closing number with Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll meet again… don’t know where. . . don’t know when…’. Tina