Hazel O’Connor’s Kate, a feisty, 25 year-old ambitious siren who tries to keep it real by attempting to eschew the greedy record industry’s contracts. The film’s story strangely reflects O’Connors own real-life struggles with underhand elements of the industry. Kate just wants some decent gigs that don’t involve dank cellars and flying shards but to do this she needs a touch of legitimisation. The Jumping Bean Bag (a 1976 Play for Today starring David Dixon in a camp, glam-rock band) costumes set the precedence for lots of whirlwind and flash in the silver foil department and the climactic Eighth Day set continues in this mould for the new wave.
Her manager, wide boy with a good heart Phil Daniels, pushes her to the top but when they get there everyone’s fortunes unravel and he’s pushed aside by bigger, greedier major label types. Their budding romance suffers and there’s an incident under West London’s favourite flyover, the Westway, which sums up the dark ages of what would otherwise be a romantically portrayed era piece. There’s plenty of violence, smack, National Front ninnies, nasty punks, strike action, powercuts and grey, London backstreets setting in stone this film as one of its time.
Musically, O’Connor’s most impressively melancholy track Will You? provides the thread, but much as in Rock Follies, there are snippets of forgettable throw-away b-list tracks too. Jonathan Pryce doesn’t have many lines considering he’s an ac-tor and keep an eye out for other faces, Rock Follies of ’77 and Casualty‘s Derek Thompson and that quiet bloke from The Bill (yeah, a ne’er changing Mark Wingett).