Stewart Lee on a new labour of love, a documentary on legendary indie rocker Robert Lloyd of The Nightingales
Dear idlers: On Saturday 6 February at 9pm on free-to-air Sky Arts, Freeview channel 11, you can see King Rocker, a documentary Michael Cumming (director Brass Eye, Toast Of London) and I made about future icon of idlers, Robert Lloyd. Lloyd has been a punk pioneer, a baker’s apprentice, a street sleeper, a pop Svengali, a food critic, a postman and a semi-professional gambler, and is now a legend and national treasure in waiting. This is his story, and the story of a massive statue of King Kong that briefly dominated the brutalist boulevards of mid-Seventies Birmingham, Lloyd’s spirit animal.
Michael and I crowd-funded it, and pooled money from special screenings and stand-up shows to pay for clearance of archive footage and a few days of extra camera crew, but the film was made on good will and love, and finished just before Covid landed. We planned to tour it round cinemas but the virus killed that so it makes an unexpected debut on Sky Arts, where its footage of packed pubs, sweaty gigs and snowy mountain stone circles feels like postcards from a distant and better world. There’s a trailer here.
If it helps, here’s a bostin’ Spotify ™ ® playlist I did for Giglist, which serves as a primer for the film, but if you like any of the music please buy a hard copy so the bands see some £s.