You can't turn on the TV or the Radio at the moment without being reminded that it's been 20 years since Britpop. My Facebook timeline is clogged full of people who have taken the "How well do you remember Britpop?" quiz ( I got a disappointing 8 on 10). I figured, given Britpop has been such an influence on my life, that I should wade in with my own experiences of it.
I was probably late to the party but it all started for me when I heard my elder sister's copy of Parklife at some point during 1994. She had it on casette and would play it every morning while she was getting ready for school. I'm pretty sure she would listen to the first three tracks of side 1 and then flip the tape over and find This is a Low on the other side. I imagine the 14 year old me was annoyed at being woken up at first but after a few listens across the landing I was completely hooked. I stole the casette and it's not stretching the point to say my life changed forever.
Before this epiphany, like most teenagers I was just trying to fit in. I was almost certainly wearing crap sportswear. The right pair of trainers was key. I never had them Mum. Music wise I was listening to whatever was in the charts. I definitely had Now 26 which I've just googled and to be fair has an amazing tracklist. (Mr Vain, Boom shake the room, Distant Sun by Crowded house, Maximum Overdrive by 2 unlimited).
Parklife changed everything. My aim in life now was to look like Graham Coxon, which meant wearing thick rimmed prescription spectacles that I didn't need and stealing my Dad's crap v neck jumpers. The idea was to look like a bit of an outsider and getting the piss ripped out of you by "townies" (I think that's what chavs were called in the 90's) was a rite of passage. I started reading the music press and getting into loads of other bands, some of which I still listen to (Radiohead, Suede, Massive Attack) Some of which probably don't hold up so well ( Echobelly, Ash, Marion). In 1994 my evenings were spent alone in my bedroom doing one of two things. Listening to the Evening session on Radio 1 was one of them. I'll let you guess what the other one was but bear in mind I was 14 and had just worked out that I liked girls.
The point is that what probably seemed like a phase to my parents at the time has turned out to have shaped my rest of my life in many ways. I went on to join a massively unfashionable Britpop inspired band at university which is where I met Steve who it turns out had been having practically the exact same teenage experience in a different part of the country. Steve was going for more of a Liam Gallagher vibe clothes wise and it's worth remembering that he swapped his copy of Parklife for East 17's Steam album (Cheap shot) but from what I understand we were essentially living the same life. He's just arrived. Lets ask him.
Steve: " I was listening to Nirvana, The red hot Chilli peppers and Metallica but the only thing that was connecting was the swear words. Rock and Roll Star by Oasis changed everything. Gotta go now." (Steve exits stage right to go to the launderette)
Now 20 years later I'm writing this from the headquarters of a business named after a Britpop song in the town where my favourite Britpop band came from and I'm listening to Gene. I still wear thick rimmed spectacles, crap v necks of my own and on the odd occasion that someone says I look like "that guy from blur" I beam with pride for he is still my hero. It goes to show that a great chorus in the right hands can change lives.
Here's some of my personal Britpop highlights:
While I have you here I'd just like to say thank you to the members of Octopus and Oh Daisy for playing our first in store gig last Friday. You were fabulous darlings. Thank you to everyone who came to watch/listen as well. Well done on the minimal drink spillage. We will probably do this again at some point so keep your ears to the ground. You know I love you. I always will. Jez x