Originally aired on UK TV’s Sky Arts Channel on the 5th of September 2015: About The Young Idea is the story of The Jam. It charts their career from formation in the early seventies, through the heady days of chart success and on to their break up in 1982. The programme features extensive, brand new interviews with Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler alongside archive performance footage and new contributions from fans, journalists and many involved in the band s career.
“I had a vision from God that said ‘you will be a mod from this day on’. That was fucking it for me mate.” – Paul Weller
“Is this the boy want to be or the boy you want to have?” ponders Steve Brookes sitting on a minimalist sofa with Paul Weller on his right. Hearing this for the first time, Weller double takes, looking a little stunned. For us, it’s the perfect introduction to About the Young Idea: The Jam, a new documentary celebrating the coming of age story of a group of teenagers from Woking that became legends.
“We disparaged everything that was current”, explains Brookes, harking back to the band’s 60s influences and unashamedly sharp sense of style. The Who’s My Generation and The Clash set the course for The Jam’s focus, “it’s not that we thought we should be a punk band”, Weller casually remarks, “but it was a great scene”.
Celebrated director Bob Smeaton brings together alternating interviews with the band and famed fans, integrated with live footage of the band in their heyday and snippets from the monumental music videos. The film takes inspiration from and shares its title with the exhibition at Somerset House five years in the making. Long over due but well worth the wait, the film concisely capsules the history of a pivotal band and surrounding circumstances. Needless to say, the soundtrack is original and unparalleled.
From classics such as ‘In the City’, ‘Going Underground’, to ‘Town Called Malice’ marking their discontentment with Thatcherism, there is no musical corner stone unturned. Though writing didn’t always come easily; “I had to get my head out of my girlfriend’s blouse and get back to work”, a smirking Weller says. With a character such as him, it’s no surprise that the film is packed with attitude and undeniable hilarity.
So, the film and exhibition have reinvigorated our thirst for The Jam. But will this be satisfied with a nostalgic reunion, just once? “Absolutely, categorically, fucking no…That’s the place to leave it”. Weller has spoken.