Music On Film: This Is Spinal Tap

Author: John Kenneth Muir

Long regarded as one of the funniest films ever made; This Is Spinal Tap is one of those comedies that is instantly quotable – probably even more so than Airplane! This Pocket sized book (although far exceeding 100 pages) does the mammoth job of covering the before, during and after of the film, which is more than can be said for the Disc release of the film.

Sure the special editions include a mountain of extras, but this book probes the making of process that the film-makers try to ignore in order to preserve their alter-egos (hence why we got a hilarious DVD commentary done fully in character).

Author John Kenneth Muir has obviously spied the many films that have tried to take a leaf from Tap’s book (Mark Wahlberg’s Rock Star, Chris Rock’s CB4 and even the real life documentary on Anvil), so he’s obviously clued into what has come to the screen in the aftermath of this film’s release. The opening of the book digs into the legacy that is This Is Spinal Tap – but the real meat is in the making of.

Quotes are taken from the writers on what they aimed to do with this film and the different approaches they considered and why they decided to do it like a documentary (“reality could be far funnier than any slickly manufactured comedy”). Did you know they originally thought to focus on the roadies instead of the band? Yep!  Until of course they agreed that the band would of course be funnier.

There is also a look at the improvising that went on during the shoot and moves into the editing process (to think that there is a 6 ½ hour version of Spinal Tap out there might make fans heads spin!)

There is also a nice real life “Where are they now?” section which is fairly thorough when name checking people – not just the famous people you already know! This is a great little addition providing information beyond what the DVD/Blu-ray releases have given you. And although it can fit into a pocket, it is crammed with useful and insightful information.

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