The Goods

Books I 7 F


104 Louis de Bernieres


107 The Golem’s Mighty Swing


-~.v 108 Paul Weller


ii, i 110 Mario Kart Super Circuit


1 12 Code Unknown, The Exorcist


1 12 Band 01‘ Brothers



t’s worth buying the soundtrack to Ghost I World for the terrific opening track alone: ‘Jaan Pehechaan Ho’ by Mohammed Rafi is a stunner. A rocking tune from an old 1965 Bollywood musical - Gumnaam - it’s unlikely you’ll find it anywhere else.

Ghost World writer (of both film and comic) Daniel Clowes was sent it as part of a VHS compilation by some dope fiend pal who devoted his time to sourcing obscure shit. When Clowes and director Terry Zwigoff collaborated on the film, they got their legal team to track down the original recording. They succeeded, finding the sons of Gumnaam’s director, who ended up hand-delivering the original film negative to Clowes and Zwigoff from which they took this recording.

This tale perfectly encapsulates everything that’s brilliant about Ghost World, the movie, comic and soundtrack. Nothing is commercial and cliched; everything is eccentric and original. Thus, although the soundtrack is a compilation of existing music rather than an original score, it’s not just a random collection of popular tunes aimed at relieving you of more than your cinema ticket money.

In the extensive liner notes, Zwigoff writes: ‘My own likes and dislikes musically speaking are so out-of-touch with the rest of the world that it was problematic choosing tunes to use in Ghost World that would connote the same message to the audience as to myself. To have done it in a very broad way wouldn’t have been difficult, but I wanted to sustain a more nuanced, subtle and deadpantone throughout the film.’

Skip James’ ‘Devil Got My Women’ is a good example. This bleak old blues track stopped Zwigoff dead in his tracks, he says; it does something similar in the film and on the soundtrack, but in a good way. The recording is from Zwigoff’s own personal collection. ‘I have about 1500 78s; I try to keep my collection down to the essential,’ he says. This is also a line of dialogue attributed to Zwigoff’s alter ego in the film, Steve Buscemi’s record-collecting nerd.

But though Zwigoff relished the opportunity to air his 78 collection to a wide audience, the

Terry Zwigoff

00000 Excellent 0000 Recommended 000 Good

00 Flawed

0 Poor

1 14 Back To School


1 16 VEG, Festive Food


1 24 Skye


Oillfilllll MGllDtl PlClUM SOUNDTRACK

music on his film’s soundtrack is entirely in context. ‘Devil Got My Women’ is the song that brings Buscemi’s anoraky Seymour and Thora

‘My own likes and dislikes musically speaking are so out-of-touch with the rest of the world’

Birch’s angsty teenager Enid together. Buffs might like to know that during that scene, at a garage sale, Enid idly asks Seymour about another record and he replies: ‘That one’s not too good.’ The disc in question is a blues album featuring Zwigoff and his friend, the comic book artist Robert Crumb.

Zwigoff and Clowes also tried something a little different with their soundtrack. They have written a pair of purposefully awful tunes. ‘For

the world-at-large in the film, I wanted horribly contrived commercial slop,’ says Zwigoff. ‘This usually translates to the most popular music of the day.’ Clowes penned the happy highschool hip hop ‘Graduation Rap’ and Zwigoff wrote the dirge ‘Pickin’ Cotton Blues’ by pretty boy rockers Blueshammer.

Ultimately, Zwigoff couldn’t resist delving into his collection again. Tracks 14—19 are a bonus: ‘I picked six of my favourite 785 of all time. They all date from the late 1920s, which was the golden age of American recorded music.’ (Miles Fielder)

I Out now on Shanachie. See Winter Film Preview, page 75 for Ghost World competition.

4—18 Oct 2001 THE LIST 103

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