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Review: Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow and All Music has Disappeared


A world where music is no longer existing and natural sound has remain the only sound in town was what Bill Drummond wished to establish in his life time, but needless to say his unrealistic dreams were motivated by a deep feeling of nostalgia and paranoia .

The film is a documentary directed by well-known Swiss director Stefan Schwieter, Schwieter is popular for winning the Berlin International Film Festival (2007), the C.I.C.A.E Awards and the best documentary and the Swiss Film Prize 2008 best documentary. Schwieter follows Bill in his journey of recording new sounds that never existed before.

The film opens with an interview of once popular musician Bill Drummond who poses the question, imagine a world without music? In this case the camera follows Bill as he goes back to all places he visited in his days when he was a popular musician. He cherished the A1 road which he claimed was a historical road in the history for Great Britain. Bill has a nostalgic feeling that he wants to suppress by developing a nihilistic behavior and the belief that all music is baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. He became associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence of music. Bill during his visit formed a great choir which he called the 17 and brought people from different walks of life, ranging from factories and farms asking people to hum new sounds that he said will be only listened by those who belong to the 17. Bill after recording the different sounds he could not allow the audience to listen but deleted it and claims that it can only be listened by those who are in The 17.

The film cast is led by Bill and some different people who were interviewed in the streets and different places.

The film cross genres boundaries, and if not well thought, one can simply confuse it to be a bio-pic. The filmmakers Instead of using interviews like in most documentaries, they rather used choirs as a metaphor to replace the popular feature of interviews, for an instance Bill met farmers, taxi drivers, and factory workers and brought them to hum new sounds that he recorded. The filmmaker also makes use of extreme shots, in which case Bill’s ears and eyes were extensively zoomed. This have helped the audience to see and know intensity Bill’s nostalgic feeling. The sense of realism was also enhanced when audience are made to follow Bill and the unending road by a jerky hand held camera that draws the viewer into the screen.

Though a feeling of regret seems to overwhelm the documentary, the film can be said to be a protest and stand up against corporate greedy and capitalism that has brought and erected benchmarks in the music industry. Bill’s desire to record and delete contradicts the commercial aspects of the modern day music industry. He states that recording has made it harder to sing because the industry has become so structural and profit motivated. This has been as a result of the unabated role of corporate recording companies that determine what is good music and good voice.


Tigere Muringa is a young film writer and a political activist at UKZN. He graduated at the University of KwaZulu Natal with a Cum Laude degree in Media and Cultural Studies and is currently doing his Honours in Media and Cultural Studies at the same institution.


The 36th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (a special project of the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Humanities, Cheryl Potgieter) with support from the National Film and Video Foundation, , KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, City of Durban, German Embassy, Goethe Institut, Industrial Development Corporation, Gauteng Film Commission, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture and a range of other valued partners.


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