The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'live forever'
Tonight, some 10 years after the Blur vs. Oasis battle, BBC Four held a Britpop night, running several programmes on the whole thing.
First up was a half-hour documentary by John Harris about the history of the phenomenon. It reprised much of the territory in his excellent book The Last Party, only squeezed into half an hour and with fragments of music and video, and interviews with various people from the time reminiscing over what it was like. It started with the wilderness of Nirvana and shoegazer (which Harris described as being similar to grunge), and ended with the comment that Britpop was responsible for ushering in the age of bland balladeers like Coldplay, Keane and Snow Patrol, and of course those quintessential rockist classicists, Oasis.
This was followed by a programme with Damon Albarn presenting a selection of live videos; it's reassuring that he has ditched the mockney accent and look-at-me-I'm-working-class affectation, though perhaps a tad disappointing that the title designers did the lazy thing and equated britpop with Mod. Then they played Live Forever, the Britpop doco from some years back, and then a 1995 BBC fly-on-the-wall piece with Pulp, which was rather interesting. It involved backstage footage from a gig in Sheffield, Jarvis talking about appreciating kitsch knowingly yet unironically, and some footage of Pulp's support band, an outfit named Minty who seemed to have been England's answer to Machine Gun Fellatio or something.
I saw Live Forever this afternoon. This is a recent documentary from the BBC about the rise and fall of the Britpop scene in the 1990s; it starts off with the bleak, homogenised days of Thatcherism, and the non-starter that was the Stone Roses' Spike Island gig, goes on to cover contributions from Blur, Oasis and Pulp, Tony Blair's attempt to appropriate Britpop (with some success; and no little irony, given that Britpop arose partly as a reaction to American cultural supremacy in McWorld), and dates Britpop's death at about the time Diana died, ushering everybody into the saccharine embrace of Robbie Williams and S Club 7. (And so, the cycle repeats itself.)
Live Forever features footage of gigs, fragments of music videos (some of which were quite clever), and a lot of interview footage. Damon Albarn (dressed in workman's overalls in a grungy pub) comes across as protesting a bit too much, Liam Gallagher comes across as an idiot, Noel Gallagher's somewhat more savvy though a bit egotistical, and Jarvis Cocker (in his glasses and velvet suit) seems like quite a clever guy. Then there's Louise Wener from Sleeper (who comes across as quite intelligent), Robert "3D" Del Naja of Massive Attack (interviewed at the beginning, middle and end of the movement of which they weren't a part, with their music dubbed over footage of driving at night), James Brown (of lad mag Loaded), Damien Hirst (filmed reclining on a Union Jack bedspread!), John Savage, and Wonderwall, the Oasis cover band, seen overdoing the laddism with pints and fags all round.
If you missed this documentary, it's playing again (I think it's next weekend). I strongly recommend seeing it.