I was born into the 90’s and therefore I am forever in love
with the music of my era while at the same time despising most of those that
came before or after. Glam Rock came at a time when platform shoes and glitter
make-up were not only restricted to women, but were actually a part of the
status quo. When I think about it, the music could actually be secondary to the
image as I find myself liking the song, then immediately disliking it upon
discovering it was performed by cross-dressing queers.
A lot of the culture bothered me. It seems to me that everybody makes a point to be as
outstanding as possible in order to be accepted but wouldn’t this be
counter-productive seeing as how everybody is doing it. In their effort to
become an individual, they are actually joining the majority and conforming to
their new standards.
I felt sympathy towards Brian Slade. In his mind he wanted to change the world and
turn it into his own ideal paradise. However, it was clear that it was always
about generating income for his label. They influence him to wear certain outfits,
act in certain ways, and say certain lines that make him more marketable to the
general population. Worst of all, he is apparently oblivious to all of this. He
believes that what he has accomplished was actually due to his own ability when
in fact he merely copied it from Jack Fairy (a metaphor for this would be the enchanted
emerald that he stole from him). It’s the typical life of a superstar, when you’re
at the top, there’s no where to go but down.
It also felt disturbing to me because of all the homosexual loving. Not because of the
whole idea of homosexuality but because they treated it as some sort of fad or
trend that will allow them to be a part of the “in crowd”. The image was so
popular back then that people were willing to change their sexual preference
just for that. The site of Arthur Stuart jacking off to Slade’s image was so
pathetic even for a fanboy it sort of reminds me of the modern Justin Bieber
fans of today.
The music played an important role in the film not only to invoke certain emotions,
but also as a portrayal of the songs of that particular time period. I had yet
to be born during the pinnacle of glam rock and so i could experience none of
its allure and mystique that is until watching Velvet Goldmine.
I really like the Citizen Kane-like storytelling, as it adds to the overall mystery
surrounding Brian Slade. I’m only disappointed when sometimes I find it
difficult to chronologically arrange all of the scenes due to the constant
shifting between past and present day.
I would have to say that the strongest part of the movie would probably be the
development of the characters. Apart from Jack Fairy, each character was given
a fair amount of back-story which would explain their unique personalities. Arthur
Stuart is arguably the most fascinating character due to his complex set of
beliefs and values. Also, the amount of change he has gone through was quite
note-worthy as well, from an overdressed fop evolving into a serious-looking
reporter. If this was a self-induced change or if this was brought about by
societal restrictions we will never know though I would place my bets on the
latter as society seems to have a very strong influence on its denizens.
Overall I found it to be a very entertaining film that anybody should watch especially
if you are fond of music, fashion, and cultural identity crises.