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Where are we humans going? A film poem inspired by the Peruvian poet César Vallejo. We meet people in the city. People trying to communicate, searching compassion and get the connection of small and large things.
Bengt C.W. Carlsson
Entertaining look at the influential wave of Scottish indie guitar acts that emerged from Glasgow in the late 80's
In recent years, we have had a couple of documentaries that have focused on areas of the Scottish indie music scene. Big Gold Dream (2015) looked at bands from the early 80's independent labels Fast Product and Postcard Records, while Lost in France (2016) cast its eye over the Chemikal Underground label and its 90's scene. Teenage Superstars is the missing link between these two films, as it looks at the alternative Scottish music scene in Glasgow from the mid 80's through to the early 90's. In a lot of ways this period was the most fertile in a worldwide sense for indie pop, a time when it was flowering and moving into all kinds of new musical directions just prior to alternative music becoming massive and ultimately more commercialised and watered down. Unlike those previous two documentaries, this one doesn't focus on a particular record label but more looks at bands from a general geographic location who shared a raw guitar sound to their music, which was definitely going against the grain of what was happening in the mainstream in the 80's but which would soon become much more popularised in the 90's.
The bands featured include noise-pop legends The Jesus and Mary Chain, the early progenitors The Pastels, future superstars Primal Scream, eccentric oddballs the BMX Bandits, indie-dance icons The Soup Dragons, perennial guitar favourites Teenage Fanclub and cult lo-fi legends The Vaselines. It is a pretty interesting selection of bands to be fair, with most being acts which have garnered little in the way of documentary attention over the years, so it does make for fun and informative viewing for sure. The approach to the material is a little scattershot in some ways in that it isn't totally chronological, nor is it organised especially any other way; while it was unfortunate that some of the main players such as the Reid brothers or Bobbie Gillespie did not contribute interviews, nor was there featured music from the likes of Primal Scream for budgetary reasons. These factors are slight negatives but they are definitely not deal breakers here either, as there are plenty of other lively contributions by many other of the, often unsung heroes, of the scene as well as comments from influential folks such as Creation boss Alan McGee and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore plus a voice over from Pixies legend Kim Deal. The music that is included is often pleasingly naive, shambolic and DIY, carrying the punk spirit into the late 80's and it does truly indicate that there really was influential music coming out of Glasgow at that time, after all the biggest alternative icon ever, Kurt Cobain, wanted to be in the BMX Bandits, covered several Vaselines songs and idolised Eugene Kelly. It's a film which should definitely appeal to fans of alternative rock from the earlier days and, as all good music docs do, it will provide a few bits of new music for you to go back and check out.
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