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An ode to Britpop

April 6, 2014

So it’s the 20th anniversary of Britpop, because 1994 was the year that parklifeBlur’s Parklife was released which has been declared by some music journalist or other to be the birth of Britpop. Well, I myself would say it was more Suede’s eponymous album is 1993 that started the whole thing, though Suede were never really fully onboard with the whole Addidas trainers and lager thing and all that. Anyway, 1994, fair enough, let’s say it all started then. I was too young for grunge, which would probably have suited by angsty teenager persona much better, but I was exactly the right age when Britpop happened.

gazellsI had a pair of pink Gazelle trainers and I had the audacity to buy ‘Country House’ (on cassette) from Our Price in Picadilly, Manchester – I hated Oasis, though when I think of the word ‘Britpop’ the first thing that comes into my head is Liam Gallagher bawling ‘I’m feeling supersonic, give me gin and tonic‘. Gin and Tonic? That sounds quite classy now, when we have even twerps like Mily Cyrus extolling the benefits of ecstasy.

Pulp-Different-Class-choose cover-2I thought Damon Albarn was cute, Alex James better and Brett Anderson totally gorgeous and couldn’t understand why Justine from Elastica had dumped him for Damon. I loved my Different Class CD with the covers you could change and would ensure that the album displayed a different one each month. What sad times we live in now when everything is invisible and electronic and you don’t get album covers with silver embossed writing and interchangble covers. But then you don’t really get songs like ‘Common People’ or ‘Sorted for Es and Whiz’ now either do you? That album still sounds fucking great, twenty years on and there is no better song for being hungover and miserable than ‘Bar Italia’, the last song on the record.

And then there was Louise from Sleeper with the cool hair, and Menswear, Echobelly, Lush and all those other bands who never made it out of Britpop  alive.

I wished so badly that I could go to art school in London, travel around the city in taxis and hang out at the Good Mixer pub in Camden which was the centre of the universe. I work in Camden now and often walk past the Good Mixer and find myself wondering who the hell would go there now.

Britpop was Pop Art to grunge’s messy Abstract Expressionism: it was, on the whole, jaunty, having it large, colourful, commercial. Everyone selling out and being cool with it. Everything that Kurt Cobain railed against. But what a time, eh? This weekend I intend to have a very-90s larger and lime and give Parklife it’s first spin in at least ten years.

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