Between The Wars – St Etienne presents ‘How We Used To Live’

A lovely review of the Sheffield Doc Fest screening of How We Used to Live and the Q&A


How We Used To Live (Credit - Heavenly Films) How We Used To Live (Photo credit: Heavenly Films)

By Neil Mudd

Sheffield Doc/Fest, Sheffield Crucible; and on tour at selected venues.

It may come as a surprise to learn that none of the members of Saint Etienne – that quintessentially ‘London’ of London bands – was born in the capital. If ever a band was defined by a city, it is St Etienne. It has exerted a profound influence, colouring much of the band’s creativity. The clues were there, in the Billy Liar quoting sophomore effort, So Tough: ‘a man can lose himself in London.’

 There is another nod towards Billy Liar in the band’s filmic love-letter to London, How We Used To Live: montage shots of post-war housing – high-rise flats, leafy suburban vistas, culled from hundreds of hours of documentary footage – are underscored with archive sound-bites from Housewives’ Choice. The tone is set…

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