Ian Dury - 'Rare And Unseen' DVD (Wienerworld) Print E-mail
Written by Johnny H   
Saturday, 14 August 2010 06:00

Ian_Dury_DVDOi! Oi! 


Nostalgia when it's done properly can be such a wonderful thing; evoking images of days gone by that otherwise might just slip from memory.  On the other hand, when done badly, nostalgia can just seem cheap and tacky, and rubbish the very thing that is supposed to be remembered.


So when sitting down to watch Ian Dury - 'Rare and Unseen', the first thing that welcomes me into the just over an hour long mix of live and interview footage is a glorious Wienerworld logo that immediately has me thinking back to the halcyon days of compulsory mullets and 'straight-to-video' rubber puppet horror movies.  The magic has already started......


The appeal of Ian Dury to me as a youngster is pretty hard to explain, I'm not sure if I ever really got what he was about as an "artiste", but his 'New Boots and Panties' album was as essential, as say 'Kiss Alive 2' or 'Never Mind The Bollocks' in my musical upbringing.  Dury's music was British to the core, and the music hall charm and superb prose that Ian tirelessly honed to perfection sat perfectly over the otherwise gonzoid funk beats provided by The Blockheads.  And just like Frank Zappa had twisted America music genres and sub cultures, somehow Ian and his supremely talented band mates got all of this to work, only this was real dirt under the finger nails music..


So to the DVD (one of a series five titles featuring artistes as diverse as Kylie Minogue and David Bowie), which opens with the marble mouthed ramblings of Janet Street Porter ruining a very early version of Kilburn & The High Roads song 'England's Glory' taken from a 1976 edition of 'The London Show', and immediately I'm wondering if I'm going to last seventy plus minutes of this if the music is all going to be talked over.  But wait just a minute, 'Sweet Gene Vincent' is up next, it's live and isn't that Dave Edmunds on guitar? Then before you know it you're straight into watching some interview footage of eighties Ian talking about his acting career which also comes with some... (ahem) choice cameo footage.  


The footage from around the time that Ian had discovered he had cancer centres around a rather candid interview with UK TV daytime diva's Richard & Judy, and it is surprisingly uplifting given the subject matter, as is his performance of 'Geraldine' from the then album 'Mr Love Pants'.  But it is the turn of the seventies footage that accompanies 'There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards' that has me choked.  Watching the footage you can almost taste what was fantastic about London before it became just another shopping mall. just like every other city in the UK.  It would certainly be interesting to hear Ian's views on how his beloved city looks today, as during the interviews contained in this DVD he seems to have a point of view on everything from his disability through to politics and he certainly didn't pull any punches.


I could go on and on about what makes this a fantastic watch, but I'll just say that the only thing I'd seen on here before was the 'Stiff 1977 Tour' version of 'Blockheads'. And thankfully 'England's Glory' does get repeated albeit without the verbal diarrhea spoling it at the end of the feature.


Although there are no extras on this disc and in fact no menus or chapters either, 'Rare and Unseen' is a fantastic way to not only experience Ian Dury's magic as a performer but also take in the hugeness of what he achieved in a world where disability was only just starting to be accepted into mainstream society.  This is nostalgia done well and with reverence, the DVD finishing on a high rather than with Ian's untimely passing which would have been such an easy card to play.


As the DVD notes quite rightly state this is a must see for 'Clever Trevors' and 'Billericay Dickies' everywhere, and what's more for every DVD sold in the UK 50p goes straight to Macmillan Cancer Support.


Oi! Oi!