Blackpool based post-rockers Blanket showcased their short film Fragments Of A Dream at Blackpool Central Library to a packed and approving audience.
Upon entering we were greeted with the chance to try some fantastic exclusive cocktails created by Gavin Wrigley of the European Bartender School. I couldn’t resist the “How to Let Go”, which consisted of; Kraken Spiced Rum, St James Rhum Agricola, Myers Jamaican Rum, Amaro Montenegro, Coca-Cola reduction, Marsipan Syrup and Pineapple Juice. Just amazing!
This was followed by some excellent vegan burgers and a chance to pace around the room taking in the exhibition of album artwork on display. Liner notes describing the various influences that informed the writing process for each album track accompanied the artwork, giving an insight into the thought that these guys put into their music.
Before the screening, Blanket treated the crowd to a short acoustic set and we heard an introduction to the film by narrator Bob Foulds, also grandfather to front-man and director Bobby Pook.
The film itself is a short examination of Blackpool, highlighting the stark contrasts between the past and the present, its polarizing seasons and the vast difference between the experiences of modern day tourists and the residents. The narrator talks about the relics that still adorn the town, reminders of past prosperity and popularity, now in disrepair and decay, “It was once the jewel of the north, now an empty shell, rotting under the watchful eye of the angry Irish Sea.” We are told disturbing statistics about the towns high divorce rates and alcohol related deaths, and how Blackpool can simultaneously be a place of magic that people flock to and also a nightmare that others run from.
Bringing together spectacular cinematography and soaring music, taken from Blankets debut album How To Let Go, this short film certainly strikes an emotional blow to your senses. The music and imagery seem to be in a constant shift between mournful and wonderment as you are taken on a visual tour of the town’s most impressive landscapes, and its most dismal back streets.
As a Sandgrown’un I found this film to elicit feelings of both pride and dismay at my hometown. The stories my father told me about when he grew up here about a thriving music scene, arts, culture and a family atmosphere seem totally alien to my experience. There were places for young people to go to have a good time, and they felt safe here, not fearful of the potential drunken violence lurking around the next corner – something this place etched into my mind in my teen years.
Although I found the film to be evocative and effective, I did feel that if you took the narration away the imagery alone didn’t tell much of a story, and would have been more akin an extended music video of beautiful scenery to match beautiful music. Even if the narration was an afterthought it still pulls the pieces together well and asks questions about what our town was, is and what it could be in the future.
Recently it’s been an exciting time for the band to say the least. Signing with Music For Nations (a division of Sony), releasing their debut full-length album ‘How To Let Go’ and garnering excellent reviews in the process. So it’s a good thing they have taken the time to showcase their hometown as an influence, for better or worse. Indeed, it’s been a long time since a group from Blackpool has managed to elevate themselves beyond the grind of the local scene – long may it continue and may others follow.
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