It is a feature of getting older that your memory of cultural events is much more precise in youth than in middle age or maybe you just pay less attention? It’s not that one doesn’t try, there is always new music on my media devices, but am I able to place the works of modern artists in their place and time as precisely and easily as I can the music of the seventies?
I can easily tell the year for say a Pink Floyd LP or for Echo & the Bunnymen and even for bands I’m less attached to I know my 1974 from 1978 but it’s not so easy for Sonic Youth and certainly for Plaid, Mogwai and The Unthanks. Glam rock was an early teen experience and as a genre probably only flowered for less than a couple of years. At the time of this release, 1975, Glam was on the way out as the decade reached it exhausted mid-point.
|Jim, Noddy, Don and Dave|
|Stoker and Paul debate the addition of more "balls" to How Does it Feel|
|The lads and the most excellent Sara Clee|
|Remember places like this?|
The result may have confused audiences and critics at the time (Barry Norman apart – he loved it) but now is amongst the best-regarded of its genre: the "Citizen Kane of rock musicals" as Mark Kermode calls it. As if The Monkees had been from Wolverhampton and decided to film Head not just in Sheffield but also using Alan Lake as technical advisor and not Jack Nicholson…
|Alan Lake not holding back...|
The story takes place in a netherworld of the North being filmed in Sheffield, Nottingham as well as London and Brighton.
|One of Sheffield's seven hills|
Alan Lake is superb throughout with a manic energy tempered by genuine acting skill, here in this opening scrap he doesn’t look out of place at all as you’d expect from a man who’d just finished a prison sentence for GBH.
|Johnny Shannon and Alan Lake: they knew y'know...|
The band is “managed” by local bingo-magnet Ron Harding (Johnny Shannon, a man with genuine “connections” who had played the hard man music agent before in Performance) who isn’t that convinced by Daniels’ band but has him on a lock-tight 10% all the same.
|The Undertakers get ready to rock|
|Sara Clee and Dave HIll|
|The lads enjoy a night in the cells...|
|Tom Conti and Kenneth Colley|
|On their way to meet Tommy Vance!|
Ricky Storm (Tommy Vance) before gunfire is heard and the station is attacked by unknown assailants… Apparently this had happened during the pirate wars but, on this occasion at least, it looks like cynical PR from Robert.
|Real radio from TV|
|Harold and Charlie down by the cut|
Another guest at the party gets taken a little more seriously, it’s Ron here to claim his winning ticket by informing Robert that he’s still the group’s agent. The two agree to meet to discuss the way forward… Then Robert meets Jack who is still in search of his opportunity… calculating the odds very quickly Robert works out how he and Jack can quickly help each other…
|Flame on stage|
|Tempers frayed back stage|
|Stocker and Paul exchange vews|
|Nina Thomas plays Paul's wife|