Saturday, 25 May 2013

Never Too Young To Rock

How can one describe ‘Never Too Young To Rock’ without using the term ‘rubbish’? Actually, let’s just get it out of the way: it’s rubbish. That said, it’s not offensive, just shoddy and cheap and scruffy and worn out, the perfect snapshot of Britain in 1975, in fact.

For all that, the story is set in the near future, and provides a dystopian vision of a world that looks and feels and smells exactly the same apart from the fact that pop music is now banned. One man (Peter Denyer: thick gypsy Dennis out of ‘Please Sir!’; nerdish Ralph from ‘Dear John’) wants to challenge this, and so sets out in a ‘group detector van’ to locate bands for a concert that will prove to the powers that be that they are wrong and that pop is mindless fun. Yes, you’re right, it’s ‘It’s Trad, Dad!’ with moonboots on.

Interestingly, the detector van is driven by Freddie Jones - yep, our Freddie Jones. I honestly don’t know what his character represents, but he has a fair amount of fun with the role and it’s nice to see him enjoying himself under what must have been difficult circumstances for him. 

As you might have already guessed, the film exists purely as a way to present lots of performances from the country’s most popular groups (or at least the most popular groups who would agree to appear in something like this) so we get Mud, The Rubettes, The Glitter Band and Bob Kerr’s Whoopee Band (no, me neither, but they're in 'Side By Side' as well). With the exception of the up and coming Midge Ure fronted Slik (who immediately came and went), these are old lag’s bands, made up of men who had been knocking about the music scene since the sixties and finally found success in a period where standards weren’t quite so high. Mud are an undemanding but likeable enough group, for instance, but three of them look like a plasterers on their way to a Bill Haley concert (the fourth, Rob Davis, takes gender bending to a level Bowie could only dream of); The Glitter Band, no doubt traumatised by what they have seen while on the road with The Leader, just look indescribably weary, and all the Bacofoil and mascara in the world can’t disguise their exhaustion and disgust as they unconvincingly pump their fists to one of their repetitive and clumsy hits. These are the damned.  

The finale, in which all the groups unite after a triumphant concert to sing a simplistic ditty (about never being too young to rock) is just awful in its arms around shoulders, leg kicking bonhomie, and, much like the end of ‘Side By Side’ shows just how old fashioned these glittery hipsters are. Tatty, tacky, and best tolerated in the company of friends and a crate, no, two crates, of Bass.  

If you wish to do that now, by the way, you can watch the whole thing on You Tube here. Good luck, especially as the person who put it there seems to be the world's biggest Gary Glitter fan.


  1. I'll confess to a huge soft spot for this one; despite every single word of your post ringing true. There's something endearing about the failed attempt to convey a shiny world of musical laser beams, beautiful male pop stars, and space age metallic clothing. I say failed; because everything looks grimy, freezing cold, damp and sleazy. I'm sure if you were a young lady and lucky enough to get close to Mud, they would all smell of HP Sauce.

    As you rightly say, it's worth it alone for Freddie Jones.

  2. Unsurprisingly, the link to the film, on youtube, is now gone.