Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Britpop: The Phoney War

We know that the first Blur-Oasis chart battle was at least 75% marketing scheme, but at least there were actual hostilities to build the coverage around. More surprising was Jon Wilde's Comment Is Free piece yesterday which predicted a new battle, providing, presumably, a Dunkirk to the Roll With It/Country House Paschendale:

[I]t's a reasonable guess that spring 2008 will bring the welcome return of Blur and Oasis once again slugging it out in the charts - and no doubt slagging each other off to the flaming hilt.

And what is this guess based on?

Partly, Noel Gallagher's comments back in January that Oasis were planning a "massive album" and that he was "counting down the minutes" to the release - although what with it already being May now, he must have been counting down like those irritants on coach trips who think its witty to start "there were fifty thousand green bottles, sitting on the wall..."

And, partly, a chat with Alex James:
Alex James revealed to me last week that a Blur reunion, long considered a laughably far-fetched possibility, is now very much on the cards. According to James, the original Blur line-up, guitarist Graham Coxon included, will convene in a studio sometime in October to begin work on a new album, the band's first since 2003's Think Tank.

So, that's a mad promise from a famous idiot that he's about to create a massive work of art (Wilde, surely, knows that the first stage in the genesis of any Oasis album is for Noel to over-claim for it) and a vague possibility that Graham Coxon might give up his hard-won peace to return to the belly of the beast.

Jon isn't, by the way, warning of the threat: when it comes to Britpop wars, he's in the camp of "a good battle will clear the air and sort things out":
On the other hand, the Blur/Oasis rivalry might fondly evoke a time when we all cared so passionately about music that we were forced to pick sides. Generally speaking, the 90s were exemplified by Clinton and Blair's notion of triangulation; we were all obliged to find some wet middle ground on which to meet. For all its spite and silliness, the Blur/Oasis conflict as least gave us all something to argue the toss about.

Yes. On the other hand, it might leave the UK music industry looking faintly ridiculous, as men old enough to know better fight over a prize that has long since lost its sparkle - with chart glory the Deirdre to Noel's Ken Barlow and Damon's Mike Baldwin.

It seems, though, that Alex James still broods:
Alex James prefers to look at this way: "Blur won the battle, Oasis won the war, then Blur went on to win the whole campaign."

Which would make sense, were it not for James' poor grasp of military strategy - a campaign is a part of a larger war, not the other way round. But still worrying about the spat twelve years on, Alex? The sparks of interest are going out, all over Europe.


6 comments:

WE ARE said...

But where is the Oasis monkey?..........

Ben.H said...

At least Generation X has found a perennial delusion of their own, to match their parents' "David Bowie's new album is good - no, really."

James said...

I feel like writing one of those irritatingly whimsical quips for the Telegraph to put at the end of the Letters page.

"Dear Sir, It looks as though Spring is finally upon us; This morning, I heard the first Noel Gallagher quote saying 'The last album wasn't very good but the next one will be fantastic' of the year. Yours, Mike Giggler"

CarsmileSteve said...

surely we all preferred pulp to both blur and wasis though?

simon h b said...

I was once nearly thrown out of a pub for insisting too firmly that Suede were the instigators of Britpop rather than the Oasis

Chris Brown said...

So essentially, the big battle is that they might possibly release records in the same year? Like they did in 1997. And 2000. And what about 2005, when Gorillaz and Oasis topped the singles chart in successive weeks?

By the way, lemurs are prosimians, not monkeys. Don't they teach etc...

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