I’m not sure why I have not seen this film before today. Well, actually I do. I thought it might press too many buttons, be triggering, remind me of a me I don’t want to remember. You see, when I was at school and we had careers class, most boys chose Builder, Teacher. Soldier, you know the traditional boy things that a boy school would produce. I wanted to be a writer. I remember the teacher’s face, “Well, you need to pick a second choice in case that does not work”. He never told the Builder to choose again, the guy who wanted to be a Baker was cheered, no second choice. We’re pre-Internet here, so there are no blogs or self publishing. No home computers in fact. Thank god I had my family who believed in me.
My mother always listened to me reviewing every new record I bought, and I bought a lot. Then my dad would take me to all the shops to buy the obscure 7″s or white labels. Like today, my tastes were strange, a little metal here, some Menswe@r there, tough to find Apex Twin there. My family supported me through it all. My sister would read my reviews of things and found her own way through the musical universe, but always supported me when I wanted to rant a thousand words about Joy Division, she loved Electronic, nicking my CD and thinking I did not know, I knew.
Journalist icons of younger Kendall? Simon Price, Taylor Parkes and Caitlin Moran. All perfect describers of the magic I was feeling. Here we are in 2020 and Moran has her own movie. Which is totally exciting. It is the story of a girl from a tiny place going to London to rule the scene. Journalistically I mean, perhaps you lived through that period and missed her works completely. I dunno, maybe you only just know her now for her newspaper columns and articles. But she is the same brilliant writer. Herself, totally herself.
“Hey, talk about the movie!” – Well, that is the thing, it is the youth of a young journal Dolly Wilde and the ups and downs of the business. Beanie Feldstein is absolutely incredible in the lead role. She’s every girl I fell for during the Britpop revolution, the fact that she goes to see Manic Street Preachers at the start of her career is essentially the screen looking back at me going “alright?”. Her buzz keeps the film flowing as she turns from geeky girl to glam writer, but still unsure of herself and being unheralded by her terrible coworkers. As she becomes less herself, it is the classic moral story, but as a young town boy, I understand the beautiful pull of London and I’m jealous of her crowdsurfing moments and backstage passes, even though I myself had passes to Blow Up, Frog, Astoria, you know, the places.
How To Build A Girl is a great great journey through the emotion of a writer, which despite what I often get told, is not an easy career to choose. But here we are, I regret nothing.