The next Steven Spielberg film to hit cinema screens will be the Tom Hanks-starring Cold War spy thriller Bridge Of Spies, according to reports. Due for release in October, the film marks the fourth collaboration between the two Hollywood titans, but more importantly it's also the fifth and final film to be inspired by the discography of '80s power balladeers T'Pau, who famously had that song that time.
The movies' obsession with Flame-Haired Carol Decker and her band of generic bemulleted nobodies has been a defining feature of 21st century cinema, so in the absence of anyone else wasting their time writing about it, I decided to put my - heh - heart and soul into investigating further.
Bridge Of Spies
T'Pau's first and best album (i.e. it's the only one anyone remembers) is, ironically, the last to give its title to a movie. Released in 1987 and immediately launching Flame-Haired Carol Decker into everyone's faces, it contained such era-defining classic tracks as Heart And Soul and China In Your Hand. "I am walking / over the bridge of spies today / freedom is only one more step away / you only have to hold me," warbled Decker on the title track: words which composer John Williams looks forward to setting against his lush strings as Tom Hanks clambers over the bodies of deceased secret agents in order to cross a river while clutching a teacup. Made of china. In his hand.
Released just a year after Bridge Of Spies, T'Pau's second album Rage somehow reached number four in the UK album charts despite nobody actually buying it. The LP is now the scourge of charity shops everywhere, which, with a pleasing symmetry, is almost certainly the destiny of the movie adaptation starring Nicolas Cage. Cage plays a furious Flame-Haired Carol Decker, whose anger at being beaten by Shakin' Stevens (Channing Tatum) in the final of ITV's pop dinosaur party Hit Me Baby One More Time results in the live, on-air disembowelling of host Vernon Kay (Eric Roberts).
Following a three-year silence which nobody noticed, T'Pau stormed back in 1991 with their third album, The Promise. The record's performance ensured that Decker and her pals would go their separate ways once it dropped out of the Top 40's arse, and the tragedy of the band's situation was so moving that respected Chinese director Chen Kaige took it upon himself to tell their story in a 2005 film. Cecilia Chung plays Qingcheng (Chinese for "Flame-Haired Carol Decker") and Jang Dong-gun essays the role of rhythm guitarist Ronnie Rogers, with whom Decker enjoyed an alarmingly hirsute relationship.Red
Seven years passed before, contrary to popular demand, Flame-Haired Carol Decker reformed T'Pau and released Red, the cover of which featured Decker pointing at her vagina and looking unimpressed. When it came time for the movie version, the obvious choice to play Decker was Bruce Willis, who reformed his own band of past-it has-beens in order to take on an apparently corrupt US administration (a thinly-veiled metaphor for the British music industry). Nobody expected that either the album or the film would get a follow-up, but fate had other plans.
Pleasure And/Or Pain
In a futile attempt to drag this feature out beyond its blatantly limited capacity, T'Pau re-returned early this year with their eagerly unawaited comeback album Pleasure & Pain, which is so brilliant it doesn't even have its own Wikipedia page. The cunning twist in the tale is that the album is a musical version of erotica-peddling director Zalman King's 2013 smutsplosion Pleasure Or Pain, in which - according to IMDb - a young woman (portrayed in song by Flame-Haired Carol Decker) is shown "a world of decadence and debauchery that pushes her sexual limits to the brink". As literally no human ears have heard the album, its faithfulness to the film cannot be verified. When asked about the discrepancy between the two titles, which somewhat defeats the object of this feature, the author feigned a heart attack before running away cackling like a loon.