I stumbled by accident upon BBC4’s Creation Night on Friday and have now watched most of the substantive programmes, well the Creation doc and BBC performances along with the Rough Trade film.
The evening served as a reminder of lots of music, some of it great, some of it not so great (and Oasis). Both documentaries were interesting looks at the respective labels, although I’m not quite sure why the Rough Trade film was in here.
It’s ironic that, although similarly made, it was the Rough Trade film which was the more interesting. Upside Down provided very much a focus on Alan McGee and drugs with the bands filling out the story as it rolled along. The sting in the tale though was interesting – few had anything bad to say about the man until Bobby Gillespie popped up at the end with an outburst about how XTRMNTR was badly served by the label being wound up just after the record had been released.
Do It Yourself meanwhile managed to reflect the turbulent history of Rough Trade really well. The idealistic early days and the profound influence of the shop, label and distribution network were well documented with Geoff Travis eloquent when talking about these days. There was a dramatic shift though when Travis was asked about the problems which were to bring the label crashing down. Here he looked slightly bewildered and evasive and his manner was in sharp contrast to the grudges clearly still being nursed by Richard Scott.
Looking back, in many ways this seems like a golden age for alternative music – when the industry had less control and mavericks like McGee and Travis could infiltrate the mainstream with unlikely acts of genuine quality. These days are long gone, it seems.
From the last album on Creation:
And from Rough Trade