Rule Britannia

Because we’re young, because we’re gone / we’ll take the tide’s electric mind, oh yeah…

Well, not anymore sunshine. But watching Suede rollicking through the old favourites like gaunt forty-something waifs from a cul-de-sac the other day has (in the parlance of the American teen-sit-com) “got me to thinking”.

I reckon Therebeforelight could stomach a quick hurrah through Britpop.

I grew up in the town of the Longpigs (not Sheffield, in spite of what Wikipedia says) and now live in the London district of Louise Wener. As I type, I’m eating toast, which Des’ree famously said she’d rather have a piece of than see a ghost. Damn that girl could rhyme.

Marmalade clinging to the corners of my mouth, I have three observations to make about Britpop at 5am this morning, a good decade and a half after it actually happened.

First, it wasn’t as rubbish as everyone thinks it was, but it was still quite rubbish. In the main, the problem was the bands that became successful were mediocre, and the bands that weren’t were the more excitingly rubbish ones. Here’s a handy info graphic, which backs me up to a certain extent, but also proves that my theory doesn’t really hold good in every case. More importantly, please look at that, and can someone tell me who in giddy hell The Shave were? I listened to every Evening Session between 1993 and 1999, and bought every NME, and I have no memory of these people whatsoever. I bet they were amazing. I bet they were the best band anyone’s ever heard. Which brings me to…

Second, the people who deserved to be remembered were forgotten about and Damon Albarn wasn’t. Get ready for three gargantuanally Godawful songs by bands that barely merit a footnote in the weighty History of the Britpop Empire. All of them are so much better than Country House that they could trample Godzilla-style through its family of art-school gnomes in berets, fishing in the polo-shirt pond of Beatnik Koi carp.

(I couldn’t find the S*M*A*S*H song I wanted, so this one’s even worse than what I had in mind, but does have quite a good chorus, and the lyric, “I got a job through nepotism, and got two years in Pentonville prison” — so suck on that, Des’ree).

Anyway, before that, here’s These Animal Men:

So, you’ve been warned, this one’s really harrowing 90’s punk hell, with safety-pins, goblins, zip-pocket tartan trousers, and yellow mohawks.

Don’t panic, the next one’s a touch more tuneful.

Lastly, I’ve still got a Menswear T-shirt. I don’t remember ever even liking Menswear, but I’ve still got a T-shirt. I probably didn’t hate them, which, in retrospect, you’re supposed to. But there it is, occasionally popping up in the drawer when I’m searching for my 60 Foot Dolls socks, or my Northern Uproar boxer shorts.

Is all.

~ by David Thorley on December 10, 2010.

4 Responses to “Rule Britannia”

  1. Judging by the fact that this very blog entry is already the 5th highest Google hit for ‘”the shave” britpop band’, they must have been pretty bloody minor. They’re the only one I’ve never heard of too, though my memories of Thurman are very very vague.

  2. Hello David,

    I stumbled across your blog from another site.

    I have to thank you for reminding me how rubbish britpop was. No rose tints in my glasses. At the time you were into this I was into some seriously heave metal… some of which hasn’t aged well, but some spawned whole musical genres. Now I could post up some examples but I’ll spare your poor ears!

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