The slickness of the music industry nowadays makes this film all the more fascinating, revealing as it does that Britain's most successful instrumental single (the Telstar of the title), one of the first British number one records in America, was recorded in a seedy little flat above a leather goods shop by the somewhat unbalanced Joe Meek.
Meek was a pioneer, a maverick and clearly rather unhinged. Con O'Neal's superb performance with its quirky Gloucester accent provokes fear and pity in equal amounts, but you can't help admiring Meek's energy and ideas. It all ends rather horribly but I won't reveal too much if you don't know the story.
It is the little details that fascinate. Without Meek, we wouldn't have heard Johnny Remember Me, Have I the Right?, Just Like Eddie or that Screaming Lord Sutch shocker Jack the Ripper (Sutch's life, like Meek's, ended tragically). However, this didn't stop him turning down The Beatles and Tom Jones! While his lover Heinz crashed and burned, many of his session musicians went on to greater things. Clem Cattini (played here by the ever-amusing James Corden) went on to drum on countless chart-toppers, Ritchie Blackmore went on to form Deep Purple and, perhaps most endearingly, Chas Hodges, portrayed by Ralf Little, is seen complaining about having to do 'novelty records' which is so much funnier when you realise that he went on to be half of Chas 'n' Dave!
An excellent recreation of a bygone time and bygone tunes. All this and Kevin Spacey too!