Saturday, 3 May 2014

Live Forever (2003)




If you haven't been living under a rock this last month you'll doubtless be aware that it is now 20 years since Britpop. I'm acutely aware of this fact and, when coupled with the realisation that you've now spent more time out of school than you have in it, it doesn't half make you feel old I can tell you. 

When Britpop hit the scene in 1994 its fair to say that as a 14/15 year old it struck a chord with me. I'd previously devoured my parents vinyl collection for Beatles records and rode the criticism from my peers for being into 'old fogies' music. Then came Oasis and suddenly the world turned on its head. Six months down the line I well remember the alleged cool kids at school saying 'well if you like Oasis you really wanna check out The Beatles, because they're much better' Hmm, not exactly what you were saying a year ago eh guys? Being at school, GCSE's on the horizon, standing on the precipice of the big wide world it felt revitalising to believe something was genuinely in the air, that the country was on the up, just as much as it felt odd that music, mere music, could give us that sense of optimism.

Of course we quickly discovered that the up meant Blair and a massive big fart in our collectively hopeful faces. 

Live Forever a 2003 music documentary film directed by John Dower covers all of this, walking the line between the music, the politics and the cultural compass of the UK at the time. There's a great feeling for all of this and the period as a whole right across the board as befits the team that brought us the equally conscientious and well edited/compiled One Day In September, as well as some wonderfully candid talking heads; Jarvis Cocker is always good value, Damon Albarn once again shows how savvy he is and how unfairly maligned he was during his heyday whilst Sleeper's Louise Wener proves to be the most intelligent and aware of her alumni. Then there's the brothers - Liam and Noel. The former is his usually funny and infuriating self with one scene regarding his alleged androgynous appeal proving a particularly hilarious highlight, whilst the latter proves to be just as intelligent and articulate as the others but still clearly somewhat bewitched and misguided about that now infamous Number 10 meet and greet. Face it Noel, you were bought.

For the 20th anniversary this film, made just in time for the 10th anniversary, is still a fitting watch but I would argue a few more talking heads would have made it something truly special; Elastica, Garbage, The Manics, Suede, Menswear, Supergrass, Echobelly, Catatonia...surely some of those were available?

Incidentally, the eternal question 'Blur or Oasis?' continues to reverberate to this day - I've seen Damon Albarn asked about the rivalry twice just yesterday on two separate TV shows - for what it's worth whenever I was asked it in the playground I always answered the same; 'Pulp'.

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