|Pictured above: Barlow takes a break from running down the road trying to loosen his load.|
There is a hole in Louisville music created in the wake of the now long absent Duncan Barlow, whose music was a cornerstone of community for the years he was a part of it. Barlow was an integral piece of both Endpoint and By the Grace of God, figureheads of Midwestern punk and hardcore, and also served spearheaded the mighty (and powerfully un-Google-able) Guilt, as well as the criminally overlooked band The Aasee Lake, all before moving on to Denver, CO. From there, Barlow worked as an educator and fronted a number of bands out that way like d. biddle and Hollow Talk, as well as a number of solo projects that range from his work with acoustic guitar to ambient music. All of this is on top of his work as an educator, and writing the book Super Cell Anemia. We asked questions to Barlow about his favorite moving pictures, and he was kind of enough to respond. You can catch Barlow playing in By the Grace of God, but performing an all Endpoint set tonight at the New Vintage as part of the In Pants benefit for the Louisville Outskirts Festival. They’re playing with Young Widows and Miracle Drug, which promises to be awesome!
Never Nervous: What is the last movie that you saw in the theater?
Duncan Barlow: I saw the 1958 film, The Blob, in the colonial theater in Phoenixville, PA as apart of Blobfest. It was a delight to see the film in the actual theater where it was filmed. It’s largely just the same as it was in 1958, which is rare and wonderful.
NN: Describe your ideal movie.
DB: I prefer strange movies that delve into unique and often dark fictional spaces. One of my favorite pieces is the Brothers Quay’s interpretation of Bruno Schulz’ Street of Crocodiles. They have a way of focusing on the microscopic that’s very decentering.
NN: If you were to write a movie, what would it be and why?
DB: This is an interesting question because I’ve often thought about writing a screenplay. I’d write a nonlinear narrative. Something dark and gritty. Something that worked to consume itself before the end. Characters who frustrate viewers. It would still have a narrative line, but the narrative line would reach out in several directions at once, work to subvert expectations and to leave the viewer no choice but to actively participate in the construction of the film’s meaning. It would be short but it would have long shots and ample silence.
NN: What is your favorite movie where the antagonist wins?
DB: No Country For Old Men, but to me, he’s the protagonist. He has a code of ethics that he doesn’t violate.
NN: What takes you out of a story? For example, I know that you enjoy the television show Hannibal. I also enjoy it, especially on an aesthetic level, but I’ve found myself progressively removed from the series as every character seems to be remarkable at everything that they do.
DB: That’s a very good point. They’re all poetic and intellectual characters. Nothing takes me out of a film faster than poorly written scripts. A serious plot issue or a really heavy-handed line can ruin a good movie for me. This is a problem with film that’s unforgiving. In a book, it unfolds slowly and we’re more forgiving of a bad sentence; however, in a movie, that sentence occupies a much greater piece of real estate and thus carries a greater weight.
NN: Is there a good fictional movie set in the punk/hardcore/indie scene that you feel actually seems to get it?
DB: I’m not sure. This is a problem I often have with fiction that tries to capture music scenes. It always seems to be an outsider who dabbles in it and writes things like, “the fury of the mosh pit reached its crescendo.” I’ve never really had an affinity for stories based in these scenes so I can’t say I have much to say here. I remember enjoying Suburbia when I was 14. I thought it was a little cheesy but I thought they generally got the weirdness and politics of a scene. I think my favorite music movie, outside of documentaries, is Breaking Glass. It had a really interesting composition. The TV show Halt and Catch Fire has a punk character and she’s usually listening to good music. It’s the thing I hope doesn’t change as her character evolves.