GLORY DAZE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MICHAEL ALIG

PrintE-mail Written by James Evans

Hey you! Are you a boring person?  Do you generally know boring people? Is that all getting a little too boring for you and you’re thinking maybe it’s time for a little drama in your life? Is it time to make some new friends, and go around meeting some not-so-boring people?  Well, here’s a cautionary tale that might put you off and remind you that ‘exciting’ people are best avoided.  Glory Daze tells the story of Michael Alig, the leader of the ‘club kids’ of the late 80s and 90s New York nightclub scene.  Back in the mid-80s Andy Warhol was still the king of New York nightlife and the one others tried to emulate and follow.  When he died from complications during minor surgery, a personality vacuum was created and it was one Alig would go on to fill.  Escaping from his stifling hometown, Alig came to New York looking for people like him, for excitement and for the chance to be someone.  He did this by creating his own movement with him (as one interviewee describes him) as the pied piper at the head of a band of misfits.

Glory Daze brings together many of the survivors of that movement, including Alig himself, to candidly describe how a group of outcast youngsters took over New York for a few years and what brought it to an end.  This is arguably the start of modern celebrity culture, people with no particular skill becoming famous, first locally and then nationally and even internationally, for nothing.  Just for going out, putting on some clashing ‘outfits’, and having their photograph taken and articles written about them.  As with many of these kinds of stories, the good times give way to the bad and as drugs and addiction fill the scene and the authorities decide it’s time New York cleans up its act, it all goes wrong.  In this case badly, murderously wrong.

It’s fascinating stuff and a reminder that not even that long ago, New York was not the homogenised place it is today.  The contributions are from seemingly everyone there at the time as the truth came out and although it all turned so sour it’s clearly a New York they miss.  Still, it’s the sort of story you could show people as an advert for why you should Just Say No to drugs, even though, as in Alig’s sad story, things are rarely as simple as they first seem.  As interesting as it all undeniably is, Glory Daze is a long haul at well over two hours that seeks to cover every aspect of events and occasionally you wish, like Tim Bisley, that they would skip to the end.  But overall it keeps your attention and is certainly worth your time.

GLORY DAZE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MICHAEL ALIG / DIRECTOR AND SCREENPLAY: RAMON FERNANDEZ / STARRING: MICHAEL ALIG / NOEL ASHMAN / FENTON BAILEY / VICTOR CORONA / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
 


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