Top 5: Blur Moments
This article is from 2008.
With Alex James coming to chat about his past life as a Britpop superstar, we reflect on the bits of Blur that we remember
‘There’s No Other Way’
As much of a Madchester rip-off as it was (those guitar lines ride in the slipstream of The Stone Roses’ John Squire), Blur’s first 1991 hit was a sublime pop song. Also, more practically, it marked their first collaboration with indispensable producer Stephen Street.
Rediscovering olde England
After Leisure, it looked very much like Blur’s destiny was the one-hit wonder bin. Until, that is, the ‘Pop Scene’ single and Modern Life is Rubbish album had Damon Albarn rekindling his muse by commenting on a semi-mythical view of England, past and present.
The Battle of Britpop
An awful, rubbish thing in hindsight, the media furore which accompanied Blur releasing ‘Country House’ and Oasis bringing out ‘Roll With It’ in the same week in August 1995 felt kind of important at the time. Blur won but were so chastened by the experience they went off to listen to Pavement and record Blur, their creative zenith.
Graham Coxon leaving/ Gorillaz
Graham Coxon, a perennial Camden socialite in the 90s, started making engagingly lo-fi solo material, before eventually leaving acrimoniously in 2002. Bridges were recently mended, but Albarn has made a mint from cartoon bands and world music in the interim. Surely any reunion would be for nostalgic purposes only.
Dave Rowntree got his pilot’s licence and Alex James moved to the Cotswolds to become a farmer and cheese aficionado. As a semi-retirement vocation, the latter is virtually the most rock’n’roll thing imaginable.
Alex James, 9 Aug, 1.30pm, £9 (£7).