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THE MUSIC OF BEING HUMAN: GILBERT FUN

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In this latest look at the music that makes Being Human special, Alex Pillai, director of episodes 3 & 4, tells us how he and his team created the unique sound of 'Gilbert Fun'. Over to you Alex...



In the character of Gilbert (Alex Price) I was given a gift to direct - anyone who lived through the 80's will recognise him immediately as the kind of opinionated, politicised, music-fascist who could bring a party down with his morbid self-absorption.


His character is stuck in time, arrested in his emotional development, and stuck on the tunes of era in which he died. Like a record stuck in a groove, he has to move on - and it isn't until he discovers the ability to love that he is finally released from his limbo here on Earth.


But Gilbert is no simple 80's wraith - he is from Manchester, the home of the new wave that was kick-started by the appearance of The Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall on June 4th 1976. Musically, Gilbert carries The Smiths with him as if he has just walked out of the Salford Lads Club into the 'Winter of Discontent'.


The track 'Girlfriend in a Coma', is quintessential Smiths - miserable, deep, and charming. It naturally had to be played as Gilbert walks Annie back to the house in the rain after their first date. It's not a romantic song, and yet is so bursting with love that it expresses Gilbert's painful emotional state. Initially this scene had some dialogue on it, but as soon as the music went on, out came the dialogue.


Music by Marc Almond was also a natural choice for this episode and Marc and the Mambas' 'In My Room' has that wonderful self-absorption that could have only been taken seriously back in the 80's. Alex Price was so good at improvising bizarre dance moves to the louche keyboard playing and lyrics of his music. Thus 'Torch', by Almond's band Soft Cell, drives George mad with frustration when he is trying to prepare a dinner for Nina, and Gilbert is gyrating like a loon to it in the background. At the 80's night disco - the opening track is 'Tainted Love' as George, Mitchell and Annie stagger into the club


With such a preponderance of music from Gilbert's ghostly 'Walkman', and a composed soundtrack by Richard Wells, I decided that any contemporary music would be discordant, and so myself, the editor Paul Endacott, and producer Matt Bouch, decided to find tracks from Gilbert's era to evince the mood of the story.


Thus we have "Ghost Town" by The Specials as Gilbert is walking to the house, bringing with it a whiff Jerry Dammers' original meaning - a mournful hymn to a landscape of closed factories and mass unemployment from the early 80's. The link with The Specials is continued with the used of "Tunnel of Love", from the band made of ex-Specials, Fun Boy Three, as Gilbert demonstrates to Annie the dubious meaning of "Gilbert fun".


To accompany this virtual compilation album of 'Hits of the 80's', our composer Richard Wells had to weave his own music - carrying through an emotional theme that comes to its heart-breaking climax when Gilbert passes through the door to his Death.


The only non-80's track in here is a song to accompany the montage of Annie helping Owen around the house. I had always envisaged this as having a soft and gentle track, and 'Little Garcon' by Canadian Indie band Born Ruffians absolutely captures the wistful tone with which Annie follows Owen around like a lost puppy. .


The episode is strangely lopsided in its use of music tracks form the 80's - as the story becomes more serious, and Gilbert's emotional attachment to Annie grows, the ghostly echoes of his 'Walkman' die away, and the music of Richard Wells takes over - taking us into the dark place where Owen killed Annie, and the end of Gilbert's journey. By discovering that he loves Annie, Gilbert's needle has been jogged out its groove, and he can finally move on.


Episode 3

Track & Artist

'Tainted Love' - Soft Cell

'High Tension Line' - The Fall

'A Promise' - Echo and the Bunnymen

'Girlfriend in a Coma' - The Smiths

'Ghost Town' - The Specials

'In My Room' - Marc and the Mambas

'The Tunnel of Love' - Fun Boy Three

'Little Garcon' - Born Ruffians

'Love will tear us apart' - Joy Division

'Torch' - Soft Cell

'A Promise' - Echo and the Bunnymen

'Reward' - The Teardrop Explodes


(Note - The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.)


Übersetzt nach:

  1. THE MUSIC OF BEING HUMAN: GILBERT FUN Garret Keogh - 17. Februar 2009

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