Wednesday, May 10, 2017


It was hearing this on the radio today that gave me the prompt, on a request show fronted by, of all people, Kim Wilde, adding to the 80s exotica of it all. I should add that I hadn't sought to seek this radio station, it was being played in the cab I was traveling in, as most of the other selections were shite. In respect of the station concerned, I won't mention its name, other than to say it was neither Liver FM nor Lungs FM, but in that general territory. I don't even know whether the song(s), the parent film, or the actress/singer, Hazel O'Connor, is known outside of the UK. I suspect not, somehow, give or take the parts of europe she has variously lived in. And even then, again outside this film, her appeal has been somewhat limited. A bit like a substitute Toyah Wilcox, whom she interestingly beat to get the part in the film. (Toyah Willcox? That's a whole other post, preferably by someone who can stand her.)

So, like the majority of films about musicians, it is a fame to fortune fairy tale, this time with sufficient Brothers Grimm downside to add some grit, as her subsequent fall from fame is graphically displayed as well. Scarcely original, but entertaining. "Breaking Glass" it is called, nothing to do with Nick Lowe, and contains enough of the stereotypes to allow those who lived through the music scene of the late 70s to feel comfortably at home. Austerity had real balls in those days, so this is the world of power cuts and strikes, of anti-establishment benefit gigs being big business, of the emergence of a neo-nazism, blunt and crude enough as to make the current versions seem pussies, if no more or less dangerous. There are drugs, drink, violence, mental breakdown, crooked promoters, crooked managers and a shedload of cameos from musos and thesps a little ahead of their current ubiquity. Likewise some behind. So, as well as O'Connor, there is Phil Daniels, of Quadrophrenia and Park Life fame, erstwhile Roxy and Adam Ant bassist Gary Tibbs and, most notably, Jonathan Pryce, the Jonathan Pryce, in an extraordinary exposition of the bleeding heart cliche of damaged goods musicianship. Also, blink and you miss them, 60s legend, George "Zoot" Money, and the late "Rock and Roll Kids'" Gary Holton. No further spoilers as I actually commend the film as being worth a watch, almost as documentary.

Although there is quite a lot of music in the film, not a lot cuts the mustard, somewhat bombastic 80s, just, glam-punk. But the song I feature is quite different, a delightful ballad, notwithstanding the mawkish lyric, with one of the saxophone riffs of the day, the other being on "Baker Street". Played by the magnificently named Wesley Magoogan, scroll down, it lifts the song and makes it immediately memorable. For this one song alone I forgive all the excesses poured forth elsewhere. And it is still the highlight of her set.

Get the film or get the song, but you will have to get the whole album.

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