Saturday, October 10, 2009

Scarce: Days Like These

Nottingham, England is not known as one of the great cinematic capitals of the world, but it is where the doc Scarce: Days Like These is premiering on the 13th. There is a reason, as this is where Scarce's UK tour starts and, as the film is about them, it makes sense.

As a great follower of obscure bands myself, I was intrigued as to why the London-based photographer and filmmaker Sally Irvine would undertake to document a band that released one album before breaking up in the 1990s. Mind you, Scarce had a dramatic story: singer/guitarist Chick Graning nearly died from an aneurysm and was only saved by the timely intervention of his bandmates, who broke down his door when he didn't turn up for practice one day.

Having seen the film, I noticed how little Graning says, his more voluble bandmates Joyce Raskin and Joe Propatier doing most of the talking. He seems a rather fragile presence, even 14 years after the event. It was Raskin, committing her thoughts to paper for the book Aching to Be, who contacted Graning and got the re-formation going. She seems to have been most affected by the dissolution of the band, but the emotional fallout is not really covered in the film.

What is clear is the durability of bonds within a band and between band and audience, and the fact that Scarce can break up and re-form a decade later and still find an audience is heartening.

Scarce: Days Like These premieres in Nottingham on 13 October. Scarce tours the UK 13-17 October.

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