Because The Night Belongs To … Patti!

Patti Smith – bloody marvellous – started off with a spoken-only version of P*ss Factory, played for 2 and a half plus hours, veered between mad genius Blakean stream of consciousness poet, eco-friendly ingenue and Rock Witch – she was as powerful and cathartic as when I last saw her in 1978. The marvellous was made more so by the presence of Mr. Tom Verlaine on guitar. Wow is what I say – a true legend, still at the peak of her power. Only two UK gigs after the triumph at Meltdown? This tour is a valediction, it reminded my of David Byrne last year – damn, my work has been worth it! I’m so glad we went to give her the applause she deserves for just still being here.

This gig offset the crushing disappointment of Tim Burton’s teeth-grindingly annoying remake of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. It is, despite Burton’s careful assertions, a remake. Each aspect is faultless – all the acting (except arguably Christopher Lee and the Oompa-Loompa) is sterling – even the kids. Set design, fabulous. Direction, fluid and deft. However – the best ideas already appeared in the original film. The additions (Wonka’s back-story, the “It’s A Small World” dancing dolls pastiche, The anodyne tacked-on ending, seeing the naughy kids walking free of the factory, the really stupid 2001 references in Mike Teevee’s demise – dumb dumb dumb). I love and defend Depp, but he’s not Wonka, Gene Wilder is. There was no deftness of touch to the Danny Elfman soundtrack, and although the original words were used for the Oompa-Loompa’s songs, Elfman’s useless, clumsy arrangements were in the realm of showing off at best, crass crowd pleasers at worst. The movie was complete waste of everyone’s time – including the audience – and talent (what wondeful movies, acting and music have we been denied while they sod around with this drivel?). Corpse Bride notwithstanding (for this punter, it will be his last chance), Mr. Burton has lost the plot completely, and I want my money back.

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