Flamboyant entertainer Ian Dury, backed by the Blockheads, takes to the stage, explaining to his audience how, as a child, he contracted polio from a swimming pool and attended a special needs school where he was bullied, particularly by orderly Hargreaves, a fact which shaped his tough and frequently iconoclastic approach to life, culminating in his controversial contribution to the Year of the Disabled. From his early days with Kilburn and the High Roads, playing seedy pubs with no dressing rooms Ian moves onto chart success with the Blockheads, collaborating with musician Chaz Jankel. His private life is complicated as, separated from the tolerant Betty with whom he remains friends but refuses to divorce for many years, he lives with the much younger Denise along with his adored son Baxter, who will himself become a performer. Ian dies in 2000, having packed an enormous amount of living into a comparatively short life.Written by
don @ minifie-1
Filmed around Egham and Watford between April-June 2009. See more »
In the Kilburns' pub gig towards the start of the film (in the early 70s), the drummer is playing Sabian cymbals (a Sabian logo is clearly visible when the audience start throwing toilet rolls). The Sabian cymbal company didn't exist until 1981. See more »
It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog...
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The first credits shown are of the major performers, done in the style of the opening credits - lots of colour and animation. See more »
Entertaining enough if you know the fuller picture
The Ian Dury story was definitely too strange for fiction. A disabled pop star - in the modern video age - who created a mix of musical hall, punk and pub rock that topped Euro charts and still gets a whirl now and then on nostalgia radio.
But is this is the real story? For a start he had one of the great backing bands (and to be frank they were more musical than him!) and, besides that, he was both an art teacher and born and brought up well outside of London. Making him Mockney No.1.
Like most bio-pics, facts that don't fit the overall picture are thrown over the wall. Also chronology is not guaranteed either. Never mind the interesting bits that the micro-budget couldn't touch.
Serkiss is simply great as Dury. Indeed hard to see anyone doing any better with the material. Such as it is. Why did women go for this unconventional man who clearly had a great deal of trouble thinking beyond himself and his own creature comforts?
("Don't know" says the movie very honestly. Although he may have been quite nice on the days he wasn't acting a prick. There was a brain and a conscience up there.)
Like many artists you are glad for their art because it shows they had hidden depths that their appearance and behaviour didn't always indicate. Later he left music ("writers block") to try and be an actor. I don't mean play at being an actor, but become a real one. Work at it. Character roles a speciality. He did OK actually. Another fact that could have been a good 20 minutes rather than ending up over the aforementioned wall.
The whole production team has worked hard to get some energy and oomph in the film and not to make it limp like the man himself, but despite that it is really only a time passer. As I have already said, the film doesn't have the budget to get involved in his era (which made him really) and while it is nice to know he had a country house and a swimming pool the real action is clearly elsewhere most of the time.
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