Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Awaydays: How we made the best soundtrack in football film history – with no money

"When it got to the scary business end of our delivery schedule, we had a finished cut of the film that featured Joy Division, The Cure and Magazine in key scenes. Having tried numerous tracks and different ‘takes’ and assemblies of these big, evocative moments – The Pack coming around the corner for Carty’s first big away day; the bizarre love triangle between Molly, Elvis and Carty; and Elvis getting jealous in Eric’s – we couldn’t imagine life without the tracks we’d settled upon: The Light Pours Out Of Me by Magazine, Joy Division’s Insight and the heartbroken, stripped-down very early four-track demo of The Cure’s 10.15, Saturday Night.

With The Cure, it was pretty simple. Their music publisher told us we would have to secure written permission from Robert Smith. The only problem was that the band was on a world tour and there was no saying when he might receive the letter, if at all. They suggested writing one letter c/o The Cure’s manager, who would be likely to fly out and join the tour at some point – but to send another (not a copy – the publisher emphasised that Robert Smith was a fan of a personal letter) to him (the publisher), who would forward it to Bobby’s home address. So I did – I wrote him a letter about how I’d seen him play at Eric’s for £1 on a Thursday night in 1979 and walked home, getting a lift from the milkman for the final mile. It was completely true – but it didn’t work. I didn’t hear back.

Until, long after we’d given up hope, a hand-written letter arrived from the man himself. He said he hoped we didn’t think he was being rude in not replying sooner. He’d just got back off a gruelling six-month tour (after which he’d taken a month’s holiday). He said he’d be more than happy to give his permission for us to use the track in a sensitive, non-violent context – so long as we donated £500 to Greenpeace. And he remembered the Eric’s gig with great affection. We were on."