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The Passing Show Premieres at SXSW

The Passing Show -- The Life and Music of Ronnie Lane, is a documentary film about the late Ronnie Lane, founder of two of England's all time great bands, the Small Faces in the '60s and the Faces (with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood replacing Steve Marriott) in the early '70s. The film has its world premiere at SXSW on Thursday, March 16, at 1:30pm at the Austin Convention Center.

The Passing Show was meant to take music back to the people, and out of the hands of the music business. They had a caravan of decrepit old vehicles, former circus tents and fronts, clowns, jugglers, and just rode up and down the back country of England, setting up wherever they stopped and playing, often in front of as few as a dozen people.

It was, of course, a form of inspired lunacy, and wound up costing Lane most of the fortune he'd earned in the Faces. But not before hugely influencing his two closest mates, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend, and a host of British bands to come, among them Paul Weller, Oasis, Blur, and The Pogues.

Ronnie Lane was an innocent who saw through status, pretension and hype. He turned his back on his massive material success, and all the commercialism of the music business, and went chasing ideals. He had more than his fair share of disasters, but until his final illness, he shook them off and started again.

Even when he was a superstar, Ronnie had the nerve to recruit musicians around the pubs, choosing them because he liked their attitude -- not because of their reputations or even their skill. With this approach he brought all sorts of diverse influences together, and is recognized as a powerful creative force. His music spanned Pop, Soul, Rock, Country and Folk.

Ronnie always played for the sheer joy of entertaining people, whether he had an audience of 12 or 12,000, but he also wrote some of the most heartfelt and haunting songs of his time.

Nowadays more than ever we need reminding of how to throw off the shackles of cynicism and materialism. We need Ronnie's example of living life as if it was a Passing Show -- valuing people we meet for who they are not what we can get from them, enjoying giving more than receiving, and not taking ourselves too seriously.

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