Sunday, 5 August 2012



I type from Mexico City, where we just did a special screening in aid of CONFE, the Mexican equivalent of Mencap.

Incredibly, a dynamic group of MexNYLonLA types put their heads together on Skype and email, and got this special screening sorted in just two weeks. My friend Kim Machray who does all this international music showbiz stuff for a living seemed to get the whole thing whipped up in five minutes, all I had to do was ask Lars if he would come and get on a plane and give myself DVT. We screened the film to about 600 people (an lot of them in black Metallica T shirts) and followed it up with a Q&A session.

We were extremely high fivesome when Lars agreed to join us for the panel at the cool Blackberry Auditorium. He came in with security a beautiful woman and his really beautiful and kind PA, and then proceeded to be incredibly nice and charming even though he looked pretty tired. Metallica are playing eight shows in Mexico City, straight, and two hours after leaving us he would go on stage for gig number five (more of which later). A police escort was going to take him from the Blackberry to the sports stadium where they were playing. Nice.

I was very tired after crawling off an 18 hour cheap flight from the UK just 18 hours before. Tired I could handle, it was the bloating that worried me the most. I planned to wear a white dress with a thin black belt round the waist, I feared my gassy overtraveled belly would pop out from beneath it like a late stage pregnancy. In the end, I got over it. No one was there to see me. I practiced my funny line to say hello to the crowd, but in the end I just said, Hola Mexico City. Apparently it's what James Hetfield always says, so I guess it was OK that I did it too.

Lars arrived and signing loads of posters for us, asking after Tom, and taking the piss out of how many crisps we had on our rider, but no booze. We had the crunchiest and least rock n roll rider, ever. I sort of post NA/AA trailer park feast with every fizzy pop made by coca cola.

The film went down well, the translation for the subtitles had been done quite quickly so they weren't perfect, but seeing 'one's' film subtitled, well, it does make 'one' feel quite highbrow. We are now a foreign language title. We had some chuckles and belly laughs fancying the dubbed version, using Colombian soap actors for our voices, Tom's first lines being Donde este Lars, said in a growly sort of a porno south american dubbed int actors voice. Ah, yes, how we chuckled.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh yes, sitting on a discussion panel next to Lars, as you do.

There were others there, all equally superior to me in achievement and notoriety, there was Olallo Rubio (who made one of the best documentaries ever in Mexico, called Gimme the Power about an insane band called Molotov - he's like a radical and left wing hybrid of Michael Moore and Howard Stern) and Raquel Jelinek who is the director general of CONFE, the Mexican equivalent of Mencap, and also an eminent academic. Here we all are below, from left Olallo, Lars, moi, and Raquel.

Cleverly, we did not let only Metallica fans ask the questions, so we did get to talk about some diverse things, and I got to pump my fist to my chest and say, 'learning disabled man from Exmouth (Effmuff as Tom calls it) or international metal hero, we are all the same people under the skin with dreams, feelings and needs', or something equally drenched in cheese, and everyone clapped. I also thanked Lars for showing Tom the respect that so often learning disabled people are not afforded. I was not a complete oily schmooze (though I did mean everything I said, very much), I said that we had hoped (secretly) sometimes before we got to meet him that Lars might turn out to be an a'hole so that our film might have some Borat magic.

Lars said a whole heap of stuff and as soon as the video is posted to YouTube I'll post it here so you can fast forward through the bits of me guffing and get his pearls of wisdom.

People asked him why he had done the film and part of his answer was that perhaps because now he is a parent he is much more compassionate or something. I think that's someone most parents will get, I found it strangely touching though it was not an unusual thing to say. (He said between them the band had enough kids for a football team now. That day Mexico had beaten Senegal at the Olympics. Random unconnected factoids for you there). He had three wristbands on, they were from a trampoline place he takes his kids. That night after the show he was going to fly back to SF to see one of his children on their birthday.

After the show we drank Coronas and then went in a minibus with 13 other people to the Metallica show. This eight date Mexico City run, to about 30,000 people every night, if a best of from previous tours, and is like a best of the best of the best of. All the fire, and crumbling falling down stuff and the bit from the tour where two guys appear to be crushed under some rigging, all the big giant tunes and then some more fire. James Hetfield is looking as hot as I ever seen him look; I think he must have a stylist. Kirk is still cute, Rob is still muscly and greasy. Lars is still in the middle looking very European.

They are rehearsing the sets for their new film, which will be them live and in, get this, 3D. It's going to work, you just know it, it's going to be Spinal Tap meets Monsters of Rock meets Jaws 3D. I can't wait to see it, for the chuckles and thrills. Perhaps Louise Mensch will do a screening for MPs in the Commons, we could do a double bill with Mission to Lars, in all its 2D lo-fi glory.

I haven't been to a Metallica show since we made the film in 09. Lars invited me to Download to his special on stage viewing platform thingy when we showed him the film in June 2011 but I had to turn this amazing offer down because I had promised my mate I'd go to Take That. (I told some of the Mexicans that and they were beyond flabberghasted, they were flabber-appalled-ghasted. I am a little bit myself too, but I didn't want to let my friends down.) 

I regretted the Take That decision when I saw the band in Mexico last night. Seeing Metallica in Mexico, particularly the first 15 minutes, should be on everyone's bucket list. The crowd went completely ape, the floor vibrated like there was an earthquake, the roar of psychotically happy fans made a football match look like a tea party, of course there were fountains of fire. It was highly stimulating, to understate it completely. A few people came to give me a hug and say thank you for the film, because they had been to the film before they went to the gig. One of them was from Venezuela, and he wanted to know when M2L would reach there.

It was fun to be there with no filming to do. Tom would not have liked the demented, Nuremberg style crowd, if they had brought a virgin on stage to slaughter I doubt anyone would have objected. Tom only goes to the quieter Metallica gigs and only then if he's given Tom Spicer special treatment and a box to retire to afterwards.

Dear Tom, my God, I am so proud of you. People fall for him in the film and want to meet him. Some scary sneery Mexico City hipsters asked me why he hadn't come with me, and went on about how he seemed like a much nicer person than me or Will, then they went on about how handsome Will is. Oy vey. At this point I went home for the evening, thinking, a little bit, 'tossers'. 

We might persuade Tom to join us on our Mission trips, he might be persuaded if it was first class, 5* and meat pies all the way. Who knows, perhaps, one day. Tom, every time I show this film I become more and more proud of you and humbled by your sensitivity and bravery and tolerance of me and Will. I'm bringing you back tour T shirts and a signed poster from Lars, oh yeah, and Lars' love too. Nice, as Tom would say.

here is Tom (centre) outside our premiere in London on 6 June with James Moore (at right) one of the film's directors and some random chap I don't know (at left)

Watching other people watch your film has an effect on the body a bit like bad speed (I imagine); I felt very tense and I wish that I hadn't been so anxious. I didn't chill out until we got to the stadium a few hours later and got stuck into the buckets of stadium piss that passes for beer at big venue gigs around the world from Bogota to Birmingham.

It was a good night and I think we did a good thing. Hopefully we'll get distrbution in Mexico soon and we'll be back for a premiere soon.

Meantime, I could like to thank the following people for making this screening the amazing, unique and meaningful event it was

Raquel Jelinek, director general of CONFE
Pepe Nacif, producer at Amateur films
Lars Ulrich, heavy metal megastar
Kim Machray, freelance global music pr strategist
Rodrigo Hernandez Stockder, producer at Amateur films
Olallo Rubio, film director, renegade
Alejandra Hernandez Stockder, freelance event planner
Diego Jimenez Labora, owner of Blackberry Auditorium

Everyone was well cool. And Mexico City, what tiny fraction I've seen and drunk in, is a can do creative sort of a city with blessed little red tape.

We will be back.