RADIO / An accident that waited to happen: Nick Curtis welcomes the late arrival of Michael Wall's Headcrash, after three years in limbo, and says Happy Birthday to Mick Jagger

'I'M GONNA shoot roller-skaters, you coming?' must be one of the best offhand lines of dialogue ever. It encapsulates the grimly humorous, nihilistic ambience of Michael Wall's futuristic Headcrash (Saturday, Radio 3), a weird piece that's languished in the archives since 1986, finally finding a sympathetic slot in the 'experimental' Studio 3 season two years after its author's death.

Strong on mood and stingy with specifics, Wall's post-apocalyptic wasteland is peopled by a mixed bag of creeps, crazies, hitters and bozos. Our 'hitters' are Boy and Yuka, tooled-up and revved-up as they cruise the freeways, blowing away fellow travellers to gain advancement in a bizarre officially sanctioned game.

Yuka (Toyah Willcox) is smothered in bandages because her skin is disintegrating. Boy (Jeremy Flynn) was born in a highway pile-up, could drive before he could walk, and tries to keep a mental record of their life with the archaic words ('mother', 'crime') that pop into his head. Some time later we learn that they're related. But that's about all we learn.

Where and why this wasteland exists, who's in charge and how the game works never become clear. Hints at contemporary relevance and a vague suggestion it's all happening in Boy's head are dangled. But Headcrash decelerates to an almost apologetic halt with Boy becoming 'a real bastard', freed of encumbrances and able to kill with his eyes alone.

Even so, this was gripping stuff thanks to its evocation of the sensations, if not the sense, of a demented future world. Mia Soteriou and David Chilton provided a revolutionary soundtrack, the dialogue constantly underlaid by a driving electro-hum, its rhythm reminiscent of telegraph poles ticking past at speed. The effects - explosions, rat attacks, the scream of rending steel - were laced in to make a superb totality of sound.

Flynn was a little stilted as the confused Boy struggling to impose meaning on confusion. But Willcox was excellent in what was her radio debut, freaking out at the rodents, gleefully dismembering a posse of ambushing crazies, or eviscerating one of the 'Creeps' who enforce the game (an act in direct contravention of the rules, I might add). Of course, the theme of Headcrash is not remotely experimental. From Schwarzenegger to Sam Shepard, the idea has had more mileage than Boy could ever hope to travel. It is Wall's refusal to use the scenario as an obvious metaphor, and the technical excellence of Jeremy Mortimer's production that distinguish it. It's probably what kept it off the air for so long, too.

For the past week, it has been impossible to keep Mick Jagger off the radio. For those who've been living under a stone, that's because it was the Midnight Rambler's 50th birthday yesterday. Gazumping celebrations by two days, Nicky Campbell presented Mick Jagger: 50, Not Out (Saturday, Radio 1), a rockumentary so uncritical and uncomplicated it'll never get repeated in Studio 3.

Factually informative and entertaining, this was unfortunately steeped in the kind of rock lore that's difficult to take seriously in these post-Spinal Tap days. Campbell began by asking if it was time Jagger hung up his mojo, but slid gradually into hagiography as he ticked off all the usual bumps hit by the Rolling Stones. There was the repackaging of the band as satanic southern opposites to the cutesy, Liverpudlian Beatles; the drugs bust and William Rees-Mogg's subsequent Times editorial 'Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?'; the revelations that Mick was actually quite a nice boy. Satisfaction? Not much.

Listening to this you'd be forgiven for thinking the Rolling Stones were a duo, a sort of Peters and Lee called Mick 'n' Keef. Campbell and producer Kevin Hewlett ignored the other musicians and most of Jagger's private life (except to note that he doesn't like talking about it). Despite the contributions of eminent rockologists it was the comedian and actor John Sessions, of all people, who had the most insight.

Sessions' pinched Scottish drawl analysed Jagger's ambiguous sexual appeal: at the Hyde Park concert, the 'Little Red Rooster' had 'skin like chicken meat', and 'looked like he wanted to be laid by the garrison of a town'. But it was Sessions' mimickry that beautifully deconstructed Jagger's voice into its constituent parts: Cheyne Walk snob, American-inflected bluesman and incoherent cockney lout.

As Sessions said, no one challenges this absurd concoction because he's Mick Jagger. He's a man who made ugliness sexy; a middle-aged hipster in a medium he described at 30 as 'adolescent'; a man equally at home with Princess Margaret as Muddy Waters; half of the best living songwriting partnership and a fifth of the best rock band in the world. In short, he's a star, and as long as he's a star he can keep putting Campbell and the rest of us on.

Arts and Entertainment
The Rolling Stones at the Roundhouse in London in 1971: from the left, Keys, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor and Mick Jagger

Music ...featuring Eric Clapton no less
Arts and Entertainment
In the dock: Dot Branning (June Brown); Union boss claims EastEnders writers are paid less than minimum wage

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Roger Christian wrote and directed the 1980 Black Angel original, which was lost until 2011

film
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Green (Hand out press photograph provided by Camilla Gould)

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones reviewWarning: Spoilers aplenty
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
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.

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back