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Friday, April 14, 2006

Passion in Manchester

John Harris reports in the Guardian on today's Manchester Passion: a re-enactment of the life of Christ that will apparently climax with "a crowd of people carrying a 25 foot cross" to a location close to the town hall:

By way of rebranding The Greatest Story Ever Told in shiny new colours, the cast - which includes both Keith Allen and Tim Booth, the former singer with one-time indie-rock monarchs James - will break up the dialogue by singing a selection of tunes by Manchester musicians. No matter that most of the material was conceived in rock'n'roll's traditionally irreligious spirit: the Last Supper will be marked by a mass rendition of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart, Judas Iscariot will duet with Jesus on a version of New Order's Blue Monday, and - for some reason or other - the trial of Pontius Pilate is to be based around Oasis's Wonderwall. Despite the fact that Robbie Williams is from Stoke-on-Trent, there will also be a rendition of Angels, but the producers aren't letting on any more than that. Let me say this, though: if it soundtracks the Ascension, we will officially be living in a world where the sacred has been so mixed with the mundane that Dr Rowan Williams may as well join the Ordinary Boys.

He continues:

One also wonders what song ideas were rejected: one last oration from Jesus to the strains of the Smiths' Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before? Christ grappling with the stone that blocked his tomb to the sound of Noel Gallagher's Roll With It? There again, the fact that Mary Magdalene is reportedly going to sing the Buzzcocks' Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) proves that the whole business is largely beyond satire.

The newspaper gives more detail of the event reporting that the climax sees Jesus sing the Smiths classic song Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now as he is being flayed by Roman soldiers. He will then come face-to-face with his Roman prosecutor Pontius Pilate with the two of them singing a duet of the Oasis hit Wonderwall and its chorus:

"I said maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me?
And after all
You're my wonderwall."

Presumably, we will be getting a sequel on ascension day with the Stone Roses "I am the resurrection". Any more suggestions of suitable songs by Manchester bands welcome.
They're ahead of you. They're trailing it on TV with the Stone Roses.

Heaven knows I'm miserable now while being flayed? That's rather banal isn't it?
"Heaven knows I'm miserable now" is of course by The Smiths. Who else could write such a song?
I know who sang it - I bought the first album back in 84 or 83. Still banal to use it. Hardly the St Matthew Passion, is it?
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