As the delivery guys disappeared down the stairs Adrian called out after them.

Happy New Year!

When the outer door clicked shut Adrian was suddenly aware of the silence.

Just him and the film. 


Until now he hadn’t given a thought to the sheer bulk of the material – or the time it would take to view it! The pile blocked the stairway outside the door to his flat.

As he lugged the boxes inside, he gradually acclimatised to now actually having the film – holding the tapes! 

Now he could view them.

Today he would know if his belief and excitement about the footage was justified.

Or was Bowie playing The Laughing Gnome?  Then the laugh would be on him!


He settled back, video remote in hand.

Pressed  PLAY >

The moment of truth had arrived.


The initial colour bars were soon replaced on the screen by a band playing. 

FAST FORWARD  >>        PLAY >    PAUSE  ||    

He would jot down any clues to their identity.  And move on.

FAST FORWARD  >>        PLAY >    PAUSE  ||   

. . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

But this was shot in 1970 – 20 years before. 

What would any of them look like – even Bowie. 

Especially Bowie!


Not having any audio really did make viewing tedious! 

Close ups of vocalists mouthing unknown, unheard words. 

Reminiscent of seeing goldfish in a bowl, gulping for air!


After the first hour he had to push aside the realisation of the enormity of the task ahead. 

Could he really go through 33 hours of tape like this?!


Well, yes he could. 

But probably only because on only the third tape – the third hour – Mick Ronson flashed into view!

There he was! Looking the same as ever!

But in a gold suite!

REWIND <<        PLAY >


There! There beside him! 

David Bowie! 

Wow! Wearing a silver top and tights. A metallic blue cape! Long curly hair.

Not Ziggy. But nearly!

Definitely not The Laughing Gnome!

What relief. 

Time for a coffee break. Let it sink in!


Then the hunt was on.  

More Bowie? – or a first sighting of Genesis?

FAST FORWARD >>      PLAY >      PAUSE   ||   

FAST FORWARD >>      PLAY >      PAUSE   ||    

What would Genesis look like in 1970?

Only a few tapes later – centre stage. A brightly coloured drum. No one was playing it, but there it was. Centre screen.


REWIND <<      PLAY >      PAUSE   ||

The drum skin design, a red dragon on a green background, announced them with one word:


Wow! Well, that was easy!

Peter Gabriel had always placed his drum there. It was a throwback  from before they were called Genesis. Small affairs. Bar mitzvahs and birthday parties. 

And no outlandish costumes for them now. 

But Peter Gabriel – not long out of school – strutted the stage. Oozing confidence. 

Even beckoning to the audience. Teasing them. 

Such presence demanded attention! 


But, as well as the volume of material, Adrian had also not given a thought to the length of time viewing would take. The time to make notes.

The effort to stay focused – for 3 days – after the excitement of the first sightings.


Remember that he is viewing the ‘rushes’.

Every camera take, from every camera – each randomly placed with the others.

Footage of different bands, of the audience, of backstage. 

Footage from floor level, from the balcony.  

Footage from handheld cameras, from fixed cameras. 

All collected up after shooting each day. Every day.


SILENT rushes! 33 hours of them!


New clips of Bowie or Genesis still appear, and rejuvenate him,  even on Tape 28 – the 28th hour! So he carries on.

But, by the third and last day sheer exhaustion has set in. 

And frustration. 

Yes, frustration at having to look at the same scene again! 

From a different camera angle.

So he shouts at the screen – at any scene which lingered too long. But, of course all films are ‘made’ in the edit. So all scenes are filmed ‘too long’!



So, Adrian slips the final tape into the video machine, his relief palpable.

His blinkered enthusiasm has seen him through. 


But the trawl through 33 hours of silent footage leaves one predominant thought:


‘What tracks are they playing?’ 

To be continued

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