As a youngster I was an avid listener to late night radio. This initially meant falling asleep to the strains of oldies station Classic Gold (828 AM!), later graduating to Talk Radio (1053/1089 AM) before settling on BBC Radio Five Live (909/693 AM), a habit I continue to observe to the present day. My first encounter with the theme to The Long Good Friday was as the intro music to one of the Talk Radio presenters, whose name escapes me now. I do recall, however, that James Whale used 'Junkie Chase' from Curtis Mayfield's Superfly soundtrack as his theme.
At some point or another in my teens, I actually got around to watching The Long Good Friday, and I still recall registering the little jolt of surprise that it featured the Talk Radio music. Still, a good track is a good track, so I went to sniff it out at HMV, the only place pre-Amazon where I felt I had a fighting chance of getting hold of it. As it so happens the OST was in the dog-eared catalogue under the counter, so I ordered it, waiting a good two years for it to show up. Every time I went to load up on Joe Satriani or Bad Company albums, I'd enquire at the desk, and the same sad-eyed man in the scruffy polo shirt would tell me no, my soundtrack hadn't arrived.
And that, my friends, was that. I bought the DVD (one of about four films I physically own), have enjoyed the film a few times, recommended it to friends and then quite forgot about the soundtrack. Until, one day at work, I ventured an ill-advised Harold Shand impersonation, which opened the floodgates of my memory to the extent that the same evening I had found and purchased The Long Good Friday OST on CD. It arrived at my flat within three days.
As an aside, it's Easter Sunday and, hey hey, I'm doing The Long Good Friday. This is about the second time I've deliberately themed a review, not something I imagine I'll repeat in a hurry because I'm too lazy to look up birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Nonetheless, happy Easter.
Review: Before Amazon we had the HMV in-store catalogue (which to my mind, contained all the music worth owning); likewise, before we had Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels we had The Long Good Friday. I like both films, but the latter is the far more accomplished and intelligent gangster flick. Starring Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren and Charlie from Casualty, it's the story of mobster Harold Shand (Hoskins) attempting to cut a property deal with an American crime syndicate whilst, simultaneously, doing battle with the IRA after a botched money-drop.
It captures a fascinating time and place - Shand as an avatar of the dawning age of Thatcherism, trying to go legit with the redevelopment of London Docklands. Footage of the Docklands area, portrayed here as a grimy wasteland dotted with scrapyards and abandoned wharves is in itself a time capsule of a bygone age; the expensive flats and high-rise offices now on the site of riverine industry are not uncontentious in themselves. Here, fiction and reality intersect - watch this fascinating conversation between Hoskins and Barry Norman to see where the emotional nexus of The Long Good Friday originates from.