Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stiff Little Fingers

Still Burning (DVD)
Fremantle Home Entertainment

Celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the hugely influential Northern Ireland punks, this film, written and directed by film-maker and punk flame-holder Don Letts, charts their history from pre-punk Troubles, to the success of first single Suspect Device (after sending it to a certain John Peel in a similar manner to near-neighbours The Undertones), through label-wrangling, disillusion and indifference right up to their current status as top-draws on the punk circuit, against the backdrop of a performance of the entire Inflammable Materialdebut (in full as a special feature along with extended interviews). Lacking vintage footage - besides an awesome clip of Gotta Getaway - which would broaden its appeal to the casual observer, it does dig behind the scenes of a band on the skids as they lingered in limbo between the punk 'rules' and new-romantics of the early eighties as well as proving that hitting the comeback trail isn't always the easy option it seems. As one of the original bands to reform SLF had to recharge batteries, belief systems and bite tongues and figurative bullets to reap their deserved rewards, which they discuss with admirable honesty and no trace of starry artifice.

- Stu Gibson

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