Modern Life Is Rubbish is probably the album that most shaped me as a person.
There are some things about the Britpop era that makes it fascinating thinking about now, today. There was no Internet Culture. It would be 4 years until I had a blog and then a livejournal. I didn't even have an e-mail account! This means I have no lj entries to remind me of what it was like back then, and of all the great bands I saw, all I have are some vague personal memories in my head.
I do remember it being 1997 and being in a one-bedroom flat in London - my very first! - that I shared with these girls who are still my closest friends today (How? How did we not end up killing each other in that tiny flat?). And I remember being very insecure about myself (I was 20 and had my first inkling of the deep depression I would later struggle with) and feeling more lost than I think I ever have since and being very skinny and freezing a lot in that flat and sometimes wearing gloves to bed and listening to a lot of Chris Evans on Virgin Radio and one day hearing about some film project Ewan Mcgregor was doing with Christian Bale called Velvet Goldmine and thinking "Oooh, can't wait to see that!"
I remember already back then being bored out of my mind with the whole "new lad" part of the culture of Britpop, even then it just didn't appeal to me (of course, that didn't seem very important compared to that feeling when listening to Oasis's "The Masterplan", so). And I remember we smoked a lot of silk cuts and for some reason we drank a lot of Snakebites, perhaps it was the colour, and were alittle bit in love with the keyboardist from Suede. We were such anglophiles and it was a thrill just to see camden market and we were all really into The Young Ones and we had no idea Blur were then moving on to American bands and I remember falling asleep to the violins in Bittersweet Symphony a lot and LondonLondonLondon.
At 20, Blur was very much My Band. I loved Oasis and Suede was who I aspired to be and Pulp was like those alternative guys in school that I never dared to talk to, but Blur. Blur made me the person I am today.
Over a decade later and watching No Distance Left To Run, it hits me how little I actually know the members of the band. Back then there was no youtube and our London flat didn't have a VCR and very crappy television reception and apart from going to live shows I really didn't see much of them outside pictures in magazines. So when watching No Distance I was actually a little taken aback by the way they talk. I'm not sure I ever heard Alex James speak before. Damon didn't surprise me. He sounds exactly like he does on the albums.
Other things I noticed while watching No Distance Left To Run:
- Graham's dislike of fame and the fans is painful to listen to and must have been even more painful to feel. No wonder he drank.
- In hindsight, the epic Oasis/Blur fight seem more like a silly pub-brawl between two men who were really full of themselves and had nothing better to do, than what it did back then. No wonder Graham drank.
- The question about who moved the single's release date so that Blur and Oasis ended up in competition for the no 1 spot, well, it's not really a question anymore, is it? It's pretty obvious that idea was hatched in Damon's brain and nowhere else.
- I've always been sort of hesitant about Alex but I do think he has a way with words and his comment about how Blur's demos sounded too much like drama school when it should sound like art school is just made of all kinds of awesome!
- All four of them at one point sporting black eyes. From each other.
- The comment that they wished they'd spent a little more time on the record contract they signed back then - because it's the contract they're still under. Well. Yeah.
- Dave's astute observation about how they all had sisters and no brothers and sort of became each others surrogate brothers. No wonder they split up and didn't talk for seven years.