One of the periods of musical history for which I have the greatest interest and passion is the Britpop era, when the marriage of British music and politics resulted in the brief age of ‘Cool Britannia’. What began as the ultimate counter-cultural statement ultimately ended in drug-fuelled excess and bitterness, but, while it lasted, Britpop begat some of the most socially relevant and original music to have graced the country, producing several defining albums that continue to find new listeners. In its aftermath, Blur forged a newly informed career in artistically-challenging alternative rock (to be found in 1997’s eponymous Blur and 1999’s 13), while Oasis continued to fall into the same illusion again and again, producing the same album ad infinitum.
Nevertheless, my knowledge of the era could do with some reinforcement, so I’ve embarked on a voyage of reading, by picking up John Harris‘s acclaimed book, The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the demise of English Rock, which was described by Q Magazine as “A fine, bittersweet read.” Harris is a music journalist for whom I have great respect: his articles in The Guardian continue to educate and provoke discussion; his appearances on Newsnight Review are always memorable. I’m hoping that his book will effect similar enthusiasm in me.
I’ll be sure to let you know when I’ve finished reading it, after which I’ll try and get a review of it up on the blog.