The Sapphires



I went to my local last night for a quick pint. All this New Year stuff doesn’t really bother me. But they wouldn’t serve me because I didn’t have a ticket for the New Year bash. That’s fair enough.

I had a can of beer and watched once of those daft movies on BBC 2. The Sapphires. I wasn’t expecting much, which makes it even better when it turns out to be a surprise hit. It was set in 1960’s Australia in one of those godforsaken missionary towns that sound like WongaWonga, and that was part of the joke about how an all-girl Aboriginal group came to be called The Sapphires. When the four girl audition for their big break, which admittedly isn’t much of a big break, a tour of Vietnam, entertaining US soldiers drafted to fight in a foreign country, then the WongaWongaWonga girls didn’t sound professional enough. The Sapphires cuts the mustard and sounds a bit like The Supremes. And boy can those girls kick ass with their singing. I was blown away in the same way I was with that other classic The Commitments.

Here we had the real deal. Not the black sound of soul from the black Irish. But Chris O’Dowd playing the bumbling Irishman who comes to manage a group of girls from a no-water town that are far too smart for him, far too good for him, but you know there’s that love thing. There’s racism. There’s sexism. There’s Vietnam and what used to be called Saigon. It was a nice way to welcome in the New Year.  Great music. Great harmony and solos. And like the Commitments it left me wondering where the stars of this show are now? Surely with so much talent they couldn’t fade back into obscurity. Then again, any sentence that begins with surely is surely suspect. And surely my local pub, where I drink all the time would have served me with a pint of beer, even at this time of year. Their loss. My gain.

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