Velvet Goldmine, Todd Haynes’ new film set in the early 1970s’ UK glam-rock scene, seems to have polarised opinion amongst rock and movie hacks like no other film in recent memory. The reviews have either been glowing like the brightest star in the galaxy or reeking of musty old second-hand record shops. Oddly, the most scathing reviews have come from the music press, or are at least – as in the case of one popular film mag’s review – written by part-time music journalists.
Having finally seen the film myself and fallen in love with almost everything about it – the performances, the story, the music, the look – the music press’s failure to get to grips with the movie worries me slightly. Well, it worries me a lot actually – enough for me to have spent the last week seriously mulling over the relationship between fans and press. There’s a delicious irony in the music press slagging off Velvet Goldmine – an irony that I’m sure isn’t lost on Haynes, its author and director. But we’ll come to that a bit later. To begin with, I’d like to tell you why Velvet Goldmine is one of the best rock ‘n’ roll movies I’ve ever seen.