Michael Sheen OBE, Actor
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Our apologies for the club being a little quiet this last little while. A few little hitches of recent times. For one thing, our resident DJ (DJDazza) slipped off to Ibiza for a week's sabbatical, and got stuck there -- no return ticket, the idiot. Then he got stuck in rehab for a few months -- the cretin. Then he got stuck in US Immigration for even longer -- the criminal. Truth to tell, we didn't really want him back; I mean what use is a deaf DJ with a weakness for The Seekers, for goodness sake? And the man is old enough to have dated Judith Durham, back in the day! But he's back alright, with even fewer teeth, and a new moniker. Seems there is another DJDazza, who works the clubs and weddings in Essex, and Daz had no desire to mix it up wiv the hard men of Essex. So from now on it's DJ2P...
But enough of us. Tonight we are incredibly pleased to welcome to the stage one of the world's finest actors, and a funny Welsh bloke to boot. We don't know what to say about him that hasn't been said already -- he surpasses all superlatives. The man has such grace and facility as an actor, and range too. More than anyone we can think of he disappears into a role, he subsumes the role, so much so that the actual people he plays become pale facsimiles of Sheen, in an odd way. Tony Blair more than anyone can only be seen now through the lens of Michael Sheen's performances (and rather more cruelly as the hilarious maniacal charlatan in y-fronts in Steve Bell's brilliant cartoons). Likewise David Frost. And Brian Clough -- how good was The Damned United? Anyway, the man has a huge movie career, he's very very good, his stage work is the stuff of legend (wish we'd seen his The Passion, a 72 hour piece that involved almost all of his home town of Port Talbot in South Wales), he has a very nice girlfriend, and we think he's the bee's knees. Look out for him next year in Masters of Sex, a drama series about Masters and Johnson, and Mariah Mundi, also featuring other Dayglo DJs Lena Heady, Aneurin Barnard and the Prop. And check out his song list -- he knows and loves his music!
Be upstanding, if you will for the utterly incredible, the outrageously talented, the simply superb...Mr MICHAEL SHEEN!!!
This was one of the very first singles I bought as a kid. Makes me proud that I was into such a bizarre song when I was about 12. It will either annoy the heck out of you or blow your mind. I used to listen to it over and over again. So eerie and haunting. Like a Murakami novel set to music. Or something you can imagine David Lynch singing in the shower. "Well you don't know me...but I know you." Aaargh!!!
If I had to name my favourite song ever it would probably be this. Written and sung here by Tim Buckley, whose son, Jeff, was also a musical legend and who also died tragically early. I first heard this song performed by a Northern Irish Elvis impersonator called The King. It instantly reduced me to tears. I can't listen to that particular version without crying from that day to this. It's helped me in a few scenes where the tears are needed over the years. Its been recorded by many people but I put Tim Buckley's version here as he was the creator and it has an extraordinary quality to it.
This is like a beautiful nightmare of a song. Like drowning - ..black-eyed angels swim with me.. Thom Yorke performing live is quite something. Like an epileptic fit personified, electric and passionate and tortured and thrilling.
I first heard this song while filming in New Zealand. Bill Nighy, a Dylan officianado, told me it was a Dylan song that sorted the men from the boys, which was good enough for me. It's heartbreakingly beautiful with a gut-wrenching drama to it.
Ideally, in the living soundtrack to my life, this would play whenever I walk down a street or enter a room. It is just very, very cool with a kind of 60's vibe. It's a strutter.
One night when I was about 13, my cousin Huw was left in charge of me while my parents went out for the night. He was about 17 at the time and therefore unbelievably cool. He introduced me to 3 things that evening - Lord Of The Rings, Jeff Wayne's double album of War Of The Worlds (on vinyl) and the album that this song comes from, NightOwl by Gerry Rafferty. Thank you, Huw. His voice will, for me, forever be associated with Frodo and his epic quest. Gerry died recently and a memorial concert was performed in his honour in Glasgow. I was asked if I would sing one of his songs which was a huge honour. It was happening whilst I was doing my final performance of Hamlet on stage in London and so I couldn't get there in time. I will always regret it.
One of the proudest moments of my life was during the 72 hour non stop live performance of The Passion that I did all over my hometown of Port Talbot in 2011, when the curtain went back on the stage of the working men's club where our version of the Last Supper took place, and the Manics launched into a version of this epic song that they'd specially re-written for the performance. I'm proud to call them friends. They brought an integrity, a theatricality and a fierce passion to the music scene when it was much needed. I also remember, years earlier, driving across the Severn Bridge which connects Wales and England as this song was playing on the radio. As my homeland receded in my rearview mirror and James Dean Bradfield sang his heart out over the airwaves, I thought I would never stop crying.
Part is a composer that I've only recently come to appreciate. His music can be quite difficult at times but mostly it has a beauty and a power to it that can be breath-taking, like here in this piece written for a fellow music-man. I tried to recreate the drama and the beauty of this, with its bell-like tolling and sense of ritualistic propulsion, on the final walk through the town on the Procession in The Passion.
When I was at drama school, I got introduced to a band called Dead Can Dance, who created extraordinary music using old and exotic instruments and drawing on myths and primal themes for their work. Lisa Gerrard was one half of Dead Can Dance. After they broke up she went on to write music that was used in a number of films, like Gladiator, Whale Rider and Inside Man, to name a few. This is just jaw-dropping. Her voice is unbelievable in its range and power and emotion. She is like a force of nature with the kind of quality that can only come from a combination of extraordinary technique and a total belief and commitment to something ultimately unknowable but deeply felt.
This is really just representing the entire album which this piece comes from - Peter Gabriel's soundtrack to the Scorcese film Last Temptation Of Christ. Gabriel gathered together musicians from all over the world, representing an array of cultures and ethnicities, (many of whom were, at the time, completely unknown to Western listeners), and out of this historic collaboration created one of the most inspiring and powerful records of all time. As a result of this project he went on to set up the RealWorld label that would bring World music to the fore as never before. Since I first heard it aged about 14 I think, it has always inspired me and worked on my imagination like no other album. If I need ideas for something I will listen to this and it seems to open up my mind and my heart like nothing else.
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