In 2004, watching a documentary about Paul McCartney's 1989 album Flowers
In The Dirt is a little like interviewing Nelson Mandela and only talking
about his encounter with The Spice Girls. It's not exactly the first thing
that'll go into the history books.
Originally filmed back in 1989 to mark the launch of Sir Macca's then
latest album, Put It There is an hour-long documentary featuring studio
footage of his then current band line-up, interspersed with an interview
At the time, Flowers in the Dirt was being hailed McCartney's return to
form. New songs on the album are talked about in great detail, including the
album's flagship single My Brave Face, written with Elvis Costello
(interestingly, Costello's own new-wave version of this song - also featured
here - is much better than Paul's slightly plodding but technically
excellent version). In interview, McCartney is upbeat and eager to show off
his new band and material, talking about the inspiration and ideas behind
each song and the slightly bizarre choice of choosing electro king Trevor
Horn as producer.
For anyone owning the album, or interested in McCartney's career post
Wings, Put It There is an interesting if predictable watch. Macca is, as
ever, anecdotal and candid, still obviously loving live performance and
embracing more and more musical styles (including an ill-advised delve into
reggae). Although he's clearly a man past his best and in it for the enjoyment
more than anything else, this documentary is entirely watchable and might
even tell you something about McCartney that you didn't know before.
There are, however, a few things about this DVD format which I feel duty
bound to tell anyone considering purchasing it:
Firstly, anyone looking for a retrospective of Paul's career won't find
it here. Yes, there's the odd mention of his life prior to Flowers In The
Dirt - there are even a couple of Beatles numbers - but all are performed by
the mullet-wearing Paul McCartney of 1989 rather than there being archive footage.
Secondly, the front cover shows Paul on what looks like a stage.
However, all the footage on this DVD is from studio sessions. And you'll be
hard pressed to find the "Never Before Seen Footage" advertised on the back
if you've already seen the VHS original.
Thirdly, the DVD's Picture Gallery is hardly an extra, given that its
contents are actually stills taken from the documentary footage. Anyone able
to use their pause button will feel a little swizzed by this promise.
Lastly, you do not hear all of the songs which are listed on the back.
Take Hello Goodbye for example. The playful Paul tags the coda of said song
onto the end of new song Put It There; however anyone expecting to hear the
song in full (as the track listing implies) will be disappointed. Even bonus
song, Fool On The Hill, is not where the DVD sleeve says it is.
To some, these will be minor quibbles which don't take away from the
fact that it's FORMER BEATLE PAUL MCCARTNEY and therefore essential fan
fodder for completists everywhere.