Hot Press - - Critical Mass -

Di­rected by Niall McCann. Fea­tur­ing Ste­wart Hen­der­son, Paul Sav­age,

Emma Pol­lock, Alex Kapra­nos, Stu­art Braith­waite, Ai­dan Mof­fat. 96 mins. In cine­mas March 3

3.5/5 MU­SIC DOC EX­PLORES IM­PACT OF INDIE LA­BEL ON ’90S GLAS­GOW Old pho­to­graphs, grainy concert footage, VHS tapes and some heard-earned wis­dom come to­gether to cre­ate a strong sense of nos­tal­gia and so­cial com­men­tary in Niall McCann’s

Lost In France. The doc­u­men­tary ex­plores how Glaswe­gian indie record la­bel Chemikal Un­der­ground ig­nited a re­nais­sance of mu­sic, art and vi­tal­ity within a city that was suf­fer­ing greatly af­ter its in­dus­trial hub col­lapsed in the late 1980s. Formed by pop­u­lar indie band The Del­ga­dos, the suc­cess and pas­sion of Chemikal Un­der­ground at­tracted other mu­si­cians, and in 1997 Mog­wai, Arab Strap, Bis, a pre-Franz Fer­di­nand Alex Kapra­nos and them went on a road trip to play a fes­ti­val in the small French town of Mau­ron.

McCann’s film not only fol­lows the mu­si­cians as they re­unite to play, but al­lows them to ru­mi­nate both on their past and the fu­ture of mu­sic. Un­sur­pris­ingly for a group of

Scots, the anec­dotes are filled with hi­lar­i­ous sto­ries of drunken bus trips, boat rides and mis­ad­ven­tures. But there’s also a melan­choly and a fear at play here, as the Chemikal

Record crew la­ment the in­creas­ingly elit­ist and ex­pen­sive mu­sic in­dus­try in which un­known bands can eas­ily be lost to the ether. Kapronos re­mem­bers how the dole was a nec­es­sary com­po­nent of mu­si­cians’ lives, al­low­ing them to sur­vive while pur­su­ing their pas­sion, whereas now it’s stig­ma­tised as be­ing for lazy, un­pro­duc­tive peo­ple.

The power of this mu­sic is ev­i­dent on both a cul­tural and per­sonal level. Old con­flicts still bring a strain to the mu­si­cians’ faces, but there’s a deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion too. RM Hub­bert speaks on­stage about how mu­sic helped him ex­press him­self through his de­pres­sion, a state­ment as true for Glas­gow as it is for him.

Gal­lic ob­jects: Lost in France

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