March 16, 2010
Blur / Oasis on the cover of Melody Maker, 9th December 1995. Photo by Tom Sheehan.
So last night I saw the Blur doc, No Distance Left To Run which left me feeling a little disjointed. It’s hard to put my finger on why. I suppose, as the cliché goes, I’ve grown up with Blur. But it’s more than simple nostalgia. They’ve somehow bisected with my life in a way that no other band has and while I watched Blur’s youthful exuberance become slowly grubbied by alcohol, cynicism and (whisper it) heroin, I was repeatedly reminded of my various triumphs and failures. Mostly failures. Fuck it, it is just nostalgia isn’t it?
I was at art college in London in 1990, not Goldsmiths, but one very close by. One group of friends had come from Colchester art college and were good friends with Damon’s sister. One even ended up marrying her. It all came back last night and more.
I remember how I heard Leisure at a BBQ weeks before it was released. I remember Damon running off to get the tube after coming to our graduation show; and how shortly afterwards, Modern Life is Rubbish, ended up sound tracking my hateful commuter walk during the misery of my first full time job. I remember the lonely walks from Hackney to The Barbican on Sunday afternoons. I remember the Subterranea and how you could often find Damon puking his guts up in the toilets. I remember Britpop, the Loaded parties and the hangover that kicked in around 98 when we all suddenly realised we weren’t young anymore and had stopped talking to each other. I remember the scurrilous rumours, the friends boyfriend who’d shagged Justine and how I’ve had to leave that life behind me. I remember thinking how much they’d done and how little I’d done. I guess I felt sorry for myself.
But most of all…most of all, I remember thinking…make another fucking record.
Here’s a great recording of the pre-Blur Seymour, clips of which were shown in the doc.
Steve Sutherland interviews Damon Albarn, 16th September 1995. Photos by Kevin Cummins.
Seeing as I have the N.M.E. pile out and we’re all still flushed from seeing Blur on stage again at Glastonbury 2009 I thought I’d post this, the counterpart to this cover, which has proved extremely popular. Gasp again to the cut and thrust of Blur vs. Oasis; thrill to the shenanigans of Cuntry House and The Great Escape; or just simply drool over the lovely Cummins picture of the young Albarn.
The years are starting to show though aren’t they? Quite understandable for Albarn to change the lyrics in End of a Century from “the mind gets dirty, as you get closer to thirty” to fifty, given the circumstances. It doesn’t scan as well but I’ll forgive him.
So I dunno if I was naive, but I wasn’t expecting quite such a retreat to the ‘Britpop’ Blur – perhaps Damon & Co. needed to be reminded of what great work they’ve produced over the years to feel re-invigorated for the future? It has, lest we forget, been a long slog for them over the last 20 years. Something I was reminded of again today thanks to the serendipitous joys of Twitter when I read Rhodri Marsden’s first hand recollection of meeting Blur in their orignal Seymour form and then subsequently touring with them. Well worth reading and there’s this photo that shows why Dave gave up drinking.
It just so happens that I’ve managed to scan in a review from one of these early Blur performances where The Keatons supported. If you missed it the first time it’s here.
And let’s not forgot all of Blur’s festival unfriendly tunes. Here’s a Spotify playlist showcasing the gloomy side of Blur through the years.
Maker News Special: The Battle of the Brits, 2nd March 1996.
I’ve stared too long at Gallagher’s ugly Arthur Daley meets the missing link visage tonight to have anything much to say about this but I did laugh my head off at the irony of Jonathan King’s opinion being sought about Jackson’s notorious paedo-friendly Earth Song performance though. And there’s still time to get those Knighthood forms filled in.
Hi to all those visiting for the first time from the B3ta boards. The honour is all mine. Cheers!
Is this the way they say nostalgia’s meant to feel, or just 30,000 people standing in a field?
After me being so sniffy about the new look Maker, there’s this anomaly where Reynolds very intelligently explores the “post-rave diaspora” of styles and sub-cultures born out of the original rave scene and tries to snatch some sort of meaning from it. An amusing, must read, last paragraph reports, “There’s a sense of aftermath. You know you’ve been through something; you just don’t know yet what it was. But it doesn’t mean nothing.”
Interesting to note that this double page feature isn’t mentioned at all on the cover.
Note to Russian viewers: There have been a lot of comments in Russian in the last week or two. I’m only going to publish comments to AMP in English. It doesn’t have to be perfect, ‘correct’ English, it just needs to be understandable enough for me (and everyone else) to know you’re not spamming the site.