Privilege 1967

poster3 privilege

A genuine find, Peter Watkins’s 1967 film is an incredibly prescient picture of pop stardom and media manipulation. Steven Shorter (Paul Jones) is presented as a pawn in a government propaganda machine, with an incendiary stage act that drives his fans film. Pushed from one state-sponsored gig to another, promoting healthy products such as apples and religion, he’s an easy way to control the behaviour of the masses; anyone au fait with how British children’s programmes of the 60’s and 70’s were used to create notions of community for young people will know what Watkins is getting at. The music, including Jones’s top five single I’ve Been A Bad Bad Boy, is surprisingly agreeable, the presence of 60’s mavens like Jean Shrimpton add to the authenticity. A prototype David Bowie, Steven Shorter’s story way well ahead of its time, and skewers the 21st century media to great effect.

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