Searching for Sugar Man. Have you heard of it?

Searching for Sugar Man is a documentary film, Directed by Malik Bendjelloul, that follows two fans and their search to uncover the anonymity of a singer. The singer was as big as the beetles in South Africa, he offered hope and strength to the country, his words bearing truth and inspiration to an isolated country, but in his home of the USA he was little to unknown, he wasn’t recognised and he wasn’t heard.  The true story focuses on would-be rock legend Sixto Rodriguez, with his songs centred around desolate Detroit, he was discovered on a foggy night, hidden in a smoke filled bar, playing his guitar singing his words that were true and told of his troubles.

The documentary is beautiful and incredible, not a second was spent thinking of anything else whilst I was watching, not what I was doing after, or what should I eat for dinner? Because all my attention was spent on the film. The story perfectly unfolds, flashing by in a blink. Were we really in there for over an hour? It felt like half the time.

True stories occasionally lack the substance of fiction, the thrills and tension but, when a film can encapsulate that with no added exaggeration, when it is just re-telling the truth it adds something truly special, and In Searching for Sugar Man the suspense lasted through the whole film and further remains after it ended. I could expand a lot on details because I fell in love with the film, the people in the film, who made the film and Rodriguez himself but, I want you to see it for yourself.

I have a few films that I can think off the top of my head that have moved me in such a memorable way. I haven’t stopped thinking about this film for a couple of days now, it makes me smile to think of it. It reminded me of what life is about, giving, the modesty of people and the power of a community. I really want you, your parents, and your parents, parents, your teenage son, teenage daughter or cynical auntie to go and watch this; I can make a guarantee, a promise that they will be inspired, uplifted and thankful.
Let me know what you think.

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Happy Bonfire Night.

Remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder treason and plot. Every year in the UK we celebrate the failed explosion of the Houses of Parliament, Guy Fawkes Night. Celebrating with burning bonfires, tall and roaring, warming the cold November night and fireworks that shoot far into the sky, bigger every year, louder ever still. Pets resort to hiding under beds and disappearing from the booms and bangs. An annual event that sees families and friends take to fields and big spaces to stare up at the mid-autumn sky,watching flashes and flares dance tall in the night.

When I was younger, much younger, my family and I would venture out to the local rugby club, to see a display of thirty minutes, joining the community in the yearly event. I remember wearing a big woolly hat with a bobble on the end, gloves that wrapped and snuggled my hands in tight and a big coat, zipped up to the top. We never drove to the rugby club, because there would never be parking spaces. We walked all together anticipating the start time warming up as we went. I remember seeing floods of people towering over me, waddling through the field to get the best view, I was clenching my Mother and Nan’s hands, desperate not to lose them. The smell of the burning bonfire, strong now nostalgic, all merging with fast food of burgers and hotdogs, fried onion and mustard, sweet candy floss and tooth shattering toffee apples. A tradition of candy floss eating became a eagerly awaited treat. I held the stick in my hands, removing my gloves to tear away at the fluffy ball, resulting in sticky hands and sensitive, sweet teeth.

The fireworks would start, of course with a bang, looking up to the sky I could never quite seeing enough, my view was impaired by broad shoulders and tall heads. To my benefit my Grampy lifted me to his shoulders to let me see the horizon, up, up above, seeing more than I could imagine. The fireworks illuminated a flock of faces, gazing happily and occasionally flinching at the strength of the explosions, they were stunning and bigger than little me could comprehend, the colours and the dispersing glitter, made time freeze for half an hour, the candy floss eaters seized and people stopped chattering, only allowing ‘ooh’ and ‘aahh’.

Every year from then on I would stop and watch, with my family, on Grampy’s shoulders, until I became too old and too cool going with friends, a chance to mingle and giggle on the fairground rides. Until I left the tradition and watched a far from my window. Its funny how I remember the 5th of November, fireworks, candy floss and sitting on shoulders.

I hope you have a lovely bonfire night, keep the pets in and wrap up warm, tonight is going to be a cold one.