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Saturday, July 9, 2011

292. Upside Down: The Creation Records Story



    In the late 80s and early 90s Mrs W and I were busy getting married and having kids.
    With that, my passion for music which had burned so brightly during 2Tone and new wave in Coventry and in my days at Wolves Poly, was temporarily extinguished.
    Mrs W was never a big fans of bands and small children tend to like Fireman Sam and Postman Pat more than the latest Indie tracks.
    So, the moment that I poked my head back above the parapet was when Oasis released What's The Story Morning Glory.
    One of my daughter's first memories is me and her singing "So Sally Can Wait'' as we drove along in the car.
    As it transpired, Morning Glory marked the beginning of the end of Creation Records. The label founded by Alan McGee and Dick Green had become too big.
    Director Danny O'Connor's film, therefore, starts with a few quotes from Noel Gallagher and comes back to the boys from Britpop at the end, but concentrates much more on the early days of the label, its chaotic existence in north London and the graduation into the acid house scene in Manchester.
    It also charts both McGee's incredible ability to sign boundary-pushing bands but also his descent into drug addiction.
    In fact, there is a very mixed message throughout about drugs. Mainly, they are being hailed as the prompt for great creativity - on the other, they nearly cost McGee his life.
    Upside Down also goes back to McGee's mid-teen friendship with Bobby Gillespie, the future drummer of Jesus Mary Chain and, later, Primal Scream frontman.
    McGee signed Jesus Mary Chain after he had moved to London and their first hit provided the plank for Creation Records' future success.
    O'Connor tackles the label's story chronologically and, at whirlwind speed, there are contributions from members of bands picked up by McGee.
    All of the key players at the label also contribute, telling the story in a far more measured way than the puffed-up, drug-fuelled arrogance they had in TV interviews at the time.
    Of course, there are reminders of some great tracks too and the impact they had on the label.
    Primal Scream's Loaded and the Boo Radley's Wake Up Boo were examples of songs which provided turning points.
    These were the last wild days of independent music and to be involved sounds like an epic journey.
    It is a story which O'Connor tries manfully to cover in less than two hours. He packs in an incredible amount of interviews and footage but the breakneck speed does, on occasion, cause his film to be a bit disjointed.
    That is a minor criticism, however, because, overall, Upside Down does what it says on the tin very effectively.
    It tells the story of Creation Records and it is a wild tale, indeed.
    Rating? 7.5/10
    PS I nearly forgot to say, I missed the movie when it hit cinemas three months ago so watched it today through Lovefilm.

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292. Upside Down: The Creation Records Story


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