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July 22, 2009

Clint Mansell, Union Chapel 20th July 2009

First off, this is going to be the lamest review ever. So don’t get your hopes up. I have never been able to write about modern music the way I can write about games, films or literature. I shy from stylistic parallels (because I don’t hear them) and if there’s a standard vocabulary pack for music journos then I certainly don’t have it installed. I rely on phrases such as ‘‘They’re a fun band. I don’t know much more about them than that’’, and ‘‘Death Cab For Cutie are extremely worth listening to, I promise’’.


A week ago, a friend updated his Facebook status thus: “Arfie Mansfield¹ has a spare ticket for Clint Mansell at the Union Chapel on Monday, if anyone would care to join me.” I think of Clint Mansell as a Big. Name. for reasons entirely attributable to the fact that I also think of Darren Aronofsky as a Big. Name..

And sure enough, Aronofsky introduced the concert. I can’t really remember what he said, but he was hanging about beforehand and Andan Danndendund² approached him for an autograph and – I assume – a “I love your work” fan-ey squirt.

I kept drifting in and out of sleep during the concert, but it was the right music to do that to. Dramatic strings juxtaposed with sudden bursts of drums and techno, overlayed over overexposed American home-movie-style 60s (70s?) videos (projected with performers, providing the perfect packdrop) gave the discomfort of squashing my entirely normal-sized frame into a pew (a gig in a Church? Whatever next?) enough musical morphine to make up in some way for the inexplicable two hours of sleep I was attending on.

I’ve said almost nothing about the music.

Hello I am Clint Mansell. Skibbee dooby doo ba baahh!

There was a string quartet, a pianist, an invisible drummer, and the man himself, sitting at a laptop and mic in the middle with right+left hand men (guitarists).

They stopped and he talked about what they were going to play sometimes.

He justified the laptop thing. “I write in 1s and 0s”.

The other members were introduced.

Clint Mansell is a scouser.

The Cellist was a babe.

It was like a poetry reading. Stopping and starting with explanations and insights thrown into the mix.

We arrived at 7:30 and had to wait until 8:45 before it started, but we didn’t care.

There was a patronising standing ovation.

The strings were called Sonus Quartet.

All the old favourites were played, reminding us once again that Mansell must earn about £1million annually from royalties on The Apprentice alone.

And that’s your lot.

By Jim Miles³

¹Name not changed.
²Name changed.
³Name not changed.

January 2023

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