Teenage Superstars: DVD Launch screening – review
Teenage Superstars -DVD Launch Screening and Q&A
Glasgow Film Theatre
28th Oct 2018
When it premiered at Edinburgh International Film Festival last summer, director Grant McPhee’s documentary film Teenage Superstars garnered similar acclaim to its well-received antecedent, Big Gold Dream. While Big Gold Dream documented the Scottish post-punk scene, with a particular focus on the Fast Product, Pop Aural and Postcard Records labels, Teenage Superstars tells the story of the ’80s/early ’90s indie scene in Glasgow and Lanarkshire.
McPhee and his co-producers have assembled an impressive array of interviewees, including members of The Pastels, Teenage Fanclub, The Soup Dragons, BMX Bandits, The Vaselines and the Jesus And Mary Chain. With so many intelligent, creative individuals involved in the scene, the film’s producers were rather spoilt for choice, but judicious editing by McPhee’s co-writer, Angela Slaven, creates a compelling narrative. As you might expect, there are key contributions from Stephen McRobbie (The Pastels), Alan McGee (Creation Records), Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee (The Vaselines), Douglas Hart (Jesus and Mary Chain), Duglas T. Stewart (BMX Bandits) and Sean Dickson (The Soup Dragons).
The Belshill/Motherwell scene is particularly well-represented, with contributions from former Soup Dragons Ross Sinclair and Jim McCulloch, ex-Groovy Little Numbers/Superstar singer Joe McAlinden, and of course Norman Blake, Gerry Love, Raymond McGinlay and Francis McDonald of Teenage Fanclub.
Whilst eyebrows may be raised at the non-appearance of Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie, contributions by early Scream band members John ‘Joogs’ Martin and Tom McGurk tell a more interesting story.
It’s a nice touch to have the film narrated by Pixies/Breeders’ guitarist Kim Deal, while former Creation label boss Alan McGhee and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore provide their own perspectives on the wider impact of Scotland’s indie scene during this particularly fertile period. Teenage Superstars is a vital documentary that vividly explores a golden period for Scottish music.
The screening was followed by a Q&A session with McPhee and Frances McKee of The Vaselines.
All words by Gus Ironside. More writing by Gus can be found here.