Decent doc on Netflix: "Upside Down: The Creation Records Story" tells the strategically scuffed tale of the UK pop label and its impressive influence from the mid-’80s to the mid-’90s.
I say decent only because it’s overburdened by the usual tales of drug-fueled office parties and Alan McGee’s lame “wildness.” There are some tasty musical moments, though — like the Jesus & Mary Chain guys listening to the Shangri-Las and comparing their own first single to “Be My Baby,” followed later by Swervedriver making similar claims about their own potent mixture of pop and noise — and a few holy-crap-I-forgot-about-thems (the Loft! House of Love! TV Personalities!). It all devolves, of course, into the ’90s acid-house b.s., and the narrative here follows the delivery of dance music right into the heart of pop. Primal Scream’s “Loaded” and the subsequent album was interesting, sure, but as the fun drains out of the film, it also drains out of the music. The leather jackets with love beads, the bongos on “Top of the Pops” — oy, thank God the label also had Teenage Fanclub.
Post script: “Upside Down” includes a few interview clips from none other than Pat Fish from the Jazz Butcher! But, alas, no Lawrence from Felt — though imagine my surprise to look him up and find that not only is he still alive, still recording (brand new Go Kart Mozart album out a year ago! dig this fine track) and, yegods, still performing, but someone finally made a documentary about him, "Lawrence of Belgravia," now languishing on the film-fest B-circuit.
I'm THOMAS CONNER, Ph.D. in Communication (Science Studies) and culture journalist.