All the talking heads in the Peter Green documentary were male heads, I believe; and — for all they’ve achieved a kind of artless wondering openness towards the discussion of what must have been very tricky passages of their long-ago past — none seemed especially wise heads. Green himself, hearteningly enough, has emerged as a cheerfully plump balding hobbit of a man, a long long way from the ethereal and curly-headed yearning elf-poet of yore: he has — for someone who’s been through the extended labyrinthine haze of mental breakdown, medication and ECT and long stays on wards — a strikingly exact memory of moments, artistic or chemical or inspirational, on the cusp of his breakdown. He’s vague enough about what he wanted, what drove him — a thing that wasn’t yet there, in his music and his playing — but he’s funny and practical about everything else.
Other things to note:
i: clips of young Fleetwood, a gangly long-hair beanpole pulling goofy faces; clips of young Mcvie, small and compact, stern-faced, focused, always avoiding looking into camera. Compare both to how they are now
ii: the way Fleetwood always speaks for McVie, sat darkly right there beside him, keeping his counsel (“John always felt…”: why can’t John say what he always felt?)
iii: no one seems to get close to the nut of what went awry (money, drugs, sudden vast fame, various semi-related violations of idealised integrity, sex…), nor do they really recognise they’re nowhere near it. As anecdotes, it’s compelling; as self-analysis or wider cultural acuity, really nowhere…
iv: this was a generation who escaped the cramped given futures of their backgrounds into (someone else’s) musical facility rather than (someone else’s) verbal facility. “My” generation of pop-figures trusted music far less; placed far more uncritical trust in borrowed systems of words (tempted to say “college-boy” words). Which is perhaps why the reflection on display here seems so much more open and beguiling, right or wrong. It hasn’t convinced itself it’s “cleverer” than you; it isn’t looking over its shoulder all the time; its insight isn’t something you anxiously need to go away and read up on.
v: With iv in mind, significant perhaps that their “younger-generation commentator” has to be a Gallagher. He doesn’t bring much beyond simply stated fandom — but who might they have invited that allowed themselves even this? (And not clouded it up with second-guessing, I mean.)
vi: “B. B. King (…) said that the only guitarist that sent shivers down his spine was Peter Green…” Don’t read anything pejorative into the word “borrowed” here.
vii: [added a little later] Andy Capp-style flat caps as the fashion accessory of the Thames Delta Blues Kids, 40 years on.