September 26, 2020

1997-02-17 – The Guardian

1997 02 17 The_Guardian_Mon__Feb_17__1997_ 2

The am Monday February 171997




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open to change as now mm-vments
come along. Re-released. Quadrophe-
nia gains another twist: with its star
Phil Daniels resurrected a couple of
years ago as Blur‘s mascot. seventies
neo-mod becomes proto-Britpop. the
dark life before Park Life.

This tangled perspective ("a Xerox
of a Xerox of a Xerox“. as Jon Savage
calls it) is widespread in pop films.
Producers were once happy to invest
in films that exploited the moment.
whether that moment meant Elvis.
flower power or Travolta flares. But
as pop-media consumption speeded
up immeasurably, it looked reckless
to make films that would be obsolete
as soon as they were shot. Far wiser
to make ones that were already out of
date. and call them nostalgic. Hence
the time-capsule factor that Ameri-
can Graffiti introduced so success-
fully, and hence the importance. even
in those few pop films that still
address the now. of signalling the
transience of pop moments.

The 1995 British surf film Blue
Juice. for example. touched on rave
culture but tried to safeguard its own
longevity by marking it as a passing
fad. The film ended with its DJ char-
acter nenouncing the pleasures of
techno for the "timelessness" of six-
ties soul.

It's as if adolescent energy aIWays
had tojustify itself by yielding a life
lesson. Pop passions are presented
with a sort of parental indulgence ,
"It's a phase they all go through.“
'Ibm Hanks‘s That Thing You Do.
with its theme-mall image of a pastel-
and-gingham America. celebrates
the energy and alleged innocence of
early-sixties pop. albeit at its most
ersatz (young white Americans imi-
tating the Beatles‘ imitation of black
R&B). But we know the drummer
hero will return to the solid viJ'tues
of jazz. just as Quadrophenia's
J immy jettisons his dream scooter.

Allison Anders's Grace Of My
Heart. out this week. is a thinly
veiled fantasy biopic of singer-song~
writer Carole King. from the sixties
hit factory of New York‘s Brill Build-
ing to early-seventies Me Generation
mellowness. It begins as a gleefully
artificial celebration of the way great
pop treads a fine line between sincer-
ity and industrial npportunism. But
it has to end in the getting of wisdom:
the heroine's authentic personal
statement is an LP of confessional
ballads modelled on King‘s hippie-
schmaltz bestseller Tapestry

Such. alas. is the way pop movies
(and movements) go , less likely to
burn out than to fade away. fizzle out
in "adult" self awareness. They're
invariably like the best pop albums.
more memorable if you skip the final
track. 0!: to put it in sound commer-
cial terms. why not throw away that
evocatively scratched 45 of My Genv
eration'.’ You can get it digitally
remastered on the soundtrack CD.