Confessions of a rock star

TV Review: Rock Family Trees

For some rock musicians, trashing the hotel room is an integral part of the fun. Not Mick Fleetwood though, not these days at least. For him rock 'n' roll means hygiene. "I am happiest checking into a hotel, finding my nice clean bathroom, clean sheets, clean towels, little... like... free toothpaste... and a gig that night." "Hey guys," you imagine him saying as they leave the stage, "let's go back to my room and party - you can wear the complimentary shower cap as long as I can break the "Sanitized For Your Protection" band on the lavatory seat!"

Then again, after watching Rock Family Trees (BBC2, Sat), the programme in which Fleetwood made this deflating confession, you could sympathise with his desire for unrumpled bedlinen and spotless tiles. The series is based on Peter Frame's celebrated rock genealogies - meticulous maps of pop's dynastic history, Balkan in their complexity - and it makes excellent use of their manic informativeness. The graphics are used both as a guide, helping the viewer through the flurry of name-changes and new alliances, and as a backdrop for an evocative spread of bric-a-brac - from the stolid graphics of the contemporary music press to the lump of cheese that one former member noticed in Peter Green's unkempt hair ("When he left five days later it was still there. I realised then that, even for the hippy era, something was amiss.")

Peter Green was just one of those casualties, spinning off into some private twilight after being given acid in Munich. He was the group's lead guitarist at the time, a position that appears to have been particularly hazardous. At least two other guitarists succumbed to the pressure including Jeremy Spencer - the Captain Oates of rock. "I'm just going out to get some groceries," he remarked while on tour in LA; the next time he turned up he was playing happy-clappy with a religious cult. In this respect, the film was a slightly skewed confirmation that Spinal Tap is one of the most accurate portraits we have of the rock life; there it was the drummers who succumbed to mysterious catastrophes - here it was lead guitarists. Other details were exactly right though - from the exploitative genius of their first manager (he surreptitiously formed a clone Fleetwood Mac to tour while they were resting) to the sometimes violent comedy of "personality differences". John McVie recalled intervening in a fistfight between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham: "I said, 'Lindsey, why don't you just leave?' and he did. What I meant was 'Why don't you just leave the room?' " The film ended with a nicely unsettling touch - a living freeze-frame in which the cast of this tragi-comic chronicle, winners and the losers both, stared inscrutably out of the screen while their histories were brought up to date.

The best thing in "Rocket Men" (C4, Sun), Encounters' enjoyable film about the amateur space-race, was Norbert, a German rocket scientist with an Australian accent. Prompted by childhood memories of V2's lifting off "wiz flime on ze tile", Norbert had got himself involved with Australia's backyard missile programme. Ausroc I turned into an elongated barbie on the launch pad, but Ausroc II was a different matter altogether - an efficient looking device which went three miles up. Some way off orbital height, but one giant step for a bunch of hobbyists.

Unless I missed something, Susanna White's film seemed to suggest that the best Britain could offer in competition was two old gentlemen who lofted pop bottles across a municipal park with nothing more volatile than a pint of water and two footpumps. In fact, earlier this year a Manchester lab technician sent a 10ft rocket one-and-a-half miles into the air with a sugar-based fuel and another group of British rocketeers are aiming to put the first amateur rocket into space. Time to start working on stage two, I think.

Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week