‘It was bang on the zeitgeist…‘
I don’t think I’ve ever listened to Radio X or its predecessor XFM in my entire life. I very rarely listen to radio at all, and if I do, it is invariably BBC 6 Music (because I’m an old, old man). So, why then, would I devote 90 minutes of my life to a documentary about a radio station that I have never listened to? Well, it came to prominence in the ’90s. And I will literally watch any old shit from that decade…
XFM started off as a plucky independent London radio station in the ’90s before being acquired by Capitol. It’s a charming enough rags to riches story, but it’s something we’ve seen many times before in the music documentary genre. What adds a slight element of intrigue here is some of the people involved. Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Alan McGee are always compelling speakers, and it is their contributions that provide the best moments in Ray Burdis’ and Ian Jeffries film.
For anyone who listened to XFM in the ’90s, I’m sure this lovingly crafted documentary will serve as a fascinating time capsule of what was an incredible era for independent music. For everyone else, this story is too slight to really justify a feature film. It does have a banging soundtrack though.