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Air Guitar Nation

Air Guitar Nation

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

EVERYONE can probably lay claim to having ‘strummed’ a little air guitar from within the confines of a bedroom or living room – but few would probably even consider ‘performing’ in front of a crowd!

Yet that’s what the crazy subjects of Alexandra Lipsitz’s Spinal Tap-style documentary Air Guitar Nation do on a regular basis, even travelling to Finland for the annual World Air Guitar Championships.

Filmed in 2003, when America first entered the competition, Lipsitz’s camera spends most of its time in the company of two rivals – David “C-Diddy” Jung and Dan “Bjorn Turoque” Crane – as they emerge from various American heats to do battle against the cream of the world’s performance artists.

Of the two, “C-Diddy” is the more talented and views the tournaments as an opportunity to have some fun, cavorting on stage in a red gown and wearing a Hello Kitty breastplate. But Bjorn Turoque takes things more seriously even though he continually struggles to make the grade and is eventually forced to pay his own way to Finland by raising the funds through an Internet sponsorship campaign.

Both prove to be charismatic showmen, however, and their numerous interviews and performances keep us entertained throughout the film’s running time.

But while there’s plenty of amusement to be found from watching the documentary unfold, and a great soundtrack to drive things along (featuring the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins and The Who), there’s also a few too many questions left unanswered – such as why the phenomenon has spread so widely and, most crucially, why its participants don’t ever feel tempted to pick up a real guitar instead.

The result, while consistently entertaining, is really only an acquired taste.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 84mins
UK DVD Release: March 3, 2008