Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Breaking Glass (1980)

Released in 1980 but written and made in 1978, Breaking Glass is a not-major but under-rated and now almost completely forgotten youthsploitation movie. Like Rude Boy (similarly under-rated and much more interesting to watch than many better put-together, "fully realised" films) it captures--just through involving cameras and locations--the crapness of late 70s U.K.

Breaking Glass, it's always seemed to me, is obviously based on the Poly Styrene story (songs about anticonsumerism and anti-youthsploitation, turn their singer into popstar product, who then has a crack-up on account of the contradictions). (The honking New Wave sax is the give-away, there weren't that many bands who had that specific sound and instrumental line-up). (And 1978, when the film was written, was the year of Germfree Adolescents). By the end of the movie, though, the band's sound is edging towards Tubeway Army and Hazel O'Connor does also have a whiff of Toyah about her.

Always wondered who the reclusive prog-rock star producer is meant to be (Peter Gabriel? Roger Waters?). C.f. The Wall/"Welcome to the Machine"/"Have A Cigar", and in different way "Hotel California", why is that the rock market is so powerfully attracted to musical/filmic representations of the inevitable recuperation of rock's rebellion? How does the triumph of the spectacle/alienation become entertainment?

further comment from the 70s blog:

but what i wonder is why audiences find it entertaining to listen to this stuff?

i suppose the other obvious parallel is the Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle... i recall really enjoying the idea of it (punk) all being a con... there was something liberatingly naughty about the "cash from chaos" idea... which Virgin after dislodging McLaren then wrung out with spin-off rip-off releases like Some Product, Flogging A Dead Horse, the Sid Lives posthumous LP...

like, for me and my brothers, the Great Rock'n'Swindle LP was just as important/thrilling/endlessly listened to as Bollocks was, and we were 14 to 16, too young to be genuinely cynical

and then, at the same time as all this, with the Old Wave you have Animals and The Wall... with Pink Floyd, what's interesting (here i'm cribbing a line from Ian MacDonald) is how relentlessly bleak the worldview is, from "Echoes" off Meddle onwards... and yet it is consumed by millions and millions of fans

is there a kind of pleasure and relief in fatalism/disillusionment?

comfortably numb indeed - cosy music/lyrics of resignation and withdrawal

i suppose also in this vague area you have The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again", Don Henley "Boys of Summer" ("i saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac... never look back etc"

actually that is Henley's whole shtick/career-ticket from "Hotel California" through The End of the Innocence

Steely Dan in here too maybe

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