A SKIN TOO FEW - THE DAYS OF NICK DRAKE
Dir: Jeroen Berkven
Review by Andy Smith
Brilliant film. Beautifully shot. Deeply moving.
Gabrielle Drake, the sister of the dead singer, was wonderful still very beautiful and demure.
Looking inside Nick's room was really revealing and gave me a real sense of actually being there. Seeing it all through Nick's eyes.
The views of a splendid Warwickshire countryside shown through his bedroom window clearly inspired him and his quintessentially English music.
The film celebrated his life, his music. Strangely I left feeling uplifted.
Robert Kirby (his friend and writer of the haunting musical underscores to his songs) and John Wood (sound engineer) did some fascinating demonstration mixdowns from Nick's master tapes, recorded at Sound Techniques and played back on the original Studer 8 track.
Hearing the song "At the chime of the city clock" with isolated guitar parts, those clean sounding, tight, syncopated drums and Kirby's haunting string arrangements, showed me just how well the songs were actually played and recorded.
More revealing was hearing Nick's voice in isolation.
It sent shivers down the spine.
The despair he must have felt in the end, failing, in his eyes, at everything he had done.
The one poignant comment that touched me the most in the film was one Gabrielle related: "Nick said to me, if just one person had been touched by his music, just one, then it all would have been worth it"
I nearly cried.
Did he take his own life? Gabrielle thinks he probably did, but feels perhaps Nick wanted to change things in his life once and for all.
She feels he no longer cared what eventual outcome or consequence would be when taking an overdose of the anti-depressants. If the pills he took didn't kill him, then a change would have to be enforced. And, if they did, at least he was free from all the suffering he was enduring in his head.
The film played out with Northern Sky with a cine film of Nick as a boy at the seaside, happy, innocent and as yet untarnished in a world he later found too difficult to live in.
So, to conclude, this was by far the best film I have seen about Nick. I am not sure it can be bettered.
Also featured Molly and Rodney Drake, Paul Weller, Joe Boyd, Keith Morris and several Cambridge contemporaries, and many of Nick Drake's songs.
(c) Andy Smith 2002