It’s All Gone Pete Tong

UK release date: Mar 26 2008

cast list

Paul Kaye
Beatriz Batarda
Kate Magowan
Mike Wilmot

directed by
Michael Dowse

Frankie Wilde: the name sounds familiar – wasn’t he one of those DJs around at the start of house music? And it seems Carl Cox knew him well, Paul Van Dyk and Tiesto too! Wow! It looks like he is one of the founding fathers of dance music, which passed me by. Well, I guess I’m about to be educated.

The above is a snapshot of my feelings at the opening of this ‘mockumentary’ – the key phrase being ‘mock’ – Wilde doesn’t exist, but it is a clever spoof that includes faked up cover shots on DJ and Mixmag, and an interview on Pete Tong‘s Essential Selection. Ah yes, Mr Tong, the only DJ to appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, I daresay, his contribution to rhyming is slang assured. It’s a perfect title, especially given the loose plot of Wilde’s life.

His lifestyle is killing him. On the one hand he has total adulation from the clubbers of Ibiza – the opening sequence depicts him on a death slide from the rafters at Manumission, pitching straight into the DJ booth first take. It’s a thrilling start. On the other hand (this is Ibiza, after all) are drugs, dodgy sex and copious amounts of drink. Then Wilde marries a girl straight off the set of Footballers’ Wives and starts work on his new album.

At this point the film reveals its dark side – Wilde is going deaf. High pitched noises and hearing loss in one ear lead to a cringe worthy scene in the studio when his hearing packs in. It marks the start of a descent into darkness for Wilde, as he takes industrial amounts of drugs and ends up living like a hobo, teetering on the edge of oblivion.

But his sense of rhythm provides hope and slowly he rises from the ashes. He cuts a new track. “What’s it like?” says his manager. “Dunno, I haven’t heard it yet!” is the Deaf DJ’s deadpan answer.

Paul (Dennis Pennis) Kaye fits the role like a glove, with his wayward eyes and hilarious one-liners. He even manages to make the dark episodes strangely touching, which is no mean achievement. Mike Wilmot plays the slimy manager, arrogant beyond belief and thoroughly dislikeable, whilst Kate Magowan and Beatriz Batarda provide the love interest.

One target for IAGPT is those annoying ‘100 best’ clip shows beloved of Sunday night TV programmers. It mercilessly lampoons the odious self-appointed experts who mouth off on those shows. But the real influence, a ghostlike presence hovering in the wings, is This Is Spinal Tap. As with Spinal Tap director Rob Reiner, Michael Dowse clearly loves the music scene he so mercilessly pokes fun at, and revels in a soundtrack heavy with Positiva tunes. The club scenes thrill, especially in the blending of Ferry Corsten‘s Rock Your Body Rock into Trisco‘s Muzak. But it is not the music but Kaye who is the star of this movie: a tragi-comic hero who will have you weeping with sadness and mirth.

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