Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Still Bill

Just finished watching 'Still Bill' (2009), which is a documentary about the singer and songwriter Bill Withers. Here's a wiki link, as if you need to know (HE'S A LEGEND). Refreshingly for a music doc, it shuns a typical trajectory-of-career approach and focuses very much on Bill in his everyday surroundings in the 2000s, following him as he goes about his day-to-day with his family and friends (Withers quit the music industry in 1985 or so).

For someone who was once such a global superstar, Withers is down-to-earth to the point of almost being under the ground. This is so so so so nice to see. The film is littered with his own ponderings and philosophies on life, including (of special interest to me) what it means to be an musician and artist. Most of them are incredibly concise and beautiful, and you'll just want to be giving him a big hug by the end of film. The word heartwarming doesn't do it justice.

There are too many quotes to mention here, but in general it's great how Withers just didn't give a shit about the fame machine. He had great success. The music industry wanted him to replicate that success ad-infinitum (standard practice). He would only do things on his own terms, and when the industry didn't see it that way, he turned his back on it. The way he saw it, he was perfectly happy making airline toilets up until the age of 31 (his pre-fame day job), and he could just as easily go back to that life in West Virginia and do it all over again. 

This, ladies and gentlemen, is someone who has their life philosophy DOWN. Mr Withers, I salute you sir.

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