In the modern world, celebrity culture has saturated almost every single aspect of our lives. It comes in the forms of the desperation for fame to be found on reality television, glossy gossip magazines and bookstores with entire sections devoted to celebrity hardbacks. In the modern era, a young footballer in his early twenties will already have produced at least one ghost-written autobiography. Z-list actors and one-hit pop stars are more than happy to debase themselves by eating cockroaches in the jungle. Fame has almost overtaken the resulting fortune as the coveted unit of currency and people of all shapes and sizes expressly long for it – or at least their allotted five minutes in the limelight.
In the world of music there are, naturally, alternatives to the pre-fabricated or talent show pop acts that spring up on a regular basis. The world still has many a band who get where they are through long years of graft. But given that current culture is permeated to the highest degree with a desire for fame, the story presented in Malik Bendjelloul’s riveting music documentary, Searching For Sugar Man, is even harder to believe.