Doug and the Slugs and Me
Doug is Doug Bennett, of course, singer-songwriter and leader of the Slugs, local legends of the early 80s synth pop scene, famous for catchy, reggae-infused hits like Too Bad and Real Enough… And “Me”? That would be filmmaker Teresa Alfeld (The Rankin Files), who just happened to be best friends with her next door neighbour, Doug’s daughter Shea, when they were growing up in East Van in the 90s. Not that Teresa really knew anything about the Slugs back then…
More than just another rock doc, though it effectively tracks all the requisite beats, this film is as much a bittersweet commentary on the elusive nature of success in the music industry, that energizing, enervating altar for ambition and despair. The Slugs clearly owed a debt to British ska bands like Madness (and even aped their jokey DIY style videos), but the movie makes a convincing case for Bennett’s musical sophistication, as well as his showmanship.
Doug passed away much too young in 2004, but he left behind volumes of diaries (entries are read by such luminaries as Bob Geldof, Bif Naked, and Ed the Sock), while remembrances from the Slugs themselves are strikingly honest about the bonds and fissures which emerge when you dream, play and fail together for so long. It becomes a very touching reverie about friendship, its limitations and considerable consolations – as well as a fun time portal to the Vancouver of the late 70s and 80s.
Sept 9 only: the screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Teresa Alfeld and producer John Bolton. The guest moderator will be Milena Salazar.
Simon Kendall, John Burton, Wally Watson, Richard Baker, Teresa Alfeld, Sir Bob Geldof, Bif Naked, Steven Page, Ron Sexsmith, Ed the Sock
John Bolton, Teresa Alfeld
Doug and the Slugs