In 2014, John Maher, director of the documentary, All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic, arranged to shoot an interview with Jeffrey Meikle, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Jeffrey is the author of “American Plastic: A Cultural History”. The interview was scheduled for the morning; and to fill the remainder of the day, John contacted Austin’s iconic comedy troupe, Esther’s Follies.
He proposed a collaboration to write three original songs related to Bakelite and plastics. Plastic Dream, Drastic Plastic and Future Strange were written by Follies member, Shaun Branigan, John Maher and the film’s composer, Martin J. Fegy. The songs were prerecorded by David Murray at David Murray Music Studios and instrumentals were added later by Billy Holloman. The songs were filmed on the Esther’s Follies stage.
For the interview and songs, we hired Greg Kubik of Texas Crew for camera and Robert Porter, an old friend of John’s for sound. Performers from Esther’s Follies are Shannon Sedwick, Ellana Kelter, Nathalie Holmes and Shaun Branigan. At the end of the shoot day, John and Hugh attended a Follies performance. In June 2019, Hugh and Jeffrey Meikle reunited during a plastics conservation conference in Lisbon, Portugal.
Plastic Dream Promo
Plastic Dream from the documentary, All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic is kicked off by the line… “(Bakelite inventor) Leo Baekeland leaned against a doorway to a wide-open world…”. The song expresses the exuberant beauty and intrinsic value of plastic.
Drastic Plastic in the documentary, All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic expresses the negative aspects of plastic. The song follows the shot of a flaming plastic garment bag dripping molten plastic.