Friday, September 07, 2018

Slight return

Like a turd that just won't flush, Britpop is back. The critical consensus might now be that it was, in Michael Hann's words, "a cultural abomination", but, as his intrepid Guardian colleague Alexis Petridis reports, no one seems to have told the punters who flock to festivals like Cool Britannia and Shiiine On in search of "honest guitar music" from such stellar outfits as Space, Toploader and Shed Seven and the opportunity to witness a "Britpop jukebox musical" or Phil Daniels doing 'Parklife' with an orchestra.

The fact that these events are thriving while ATP weekenders are no more is phenomenally depressing. It goes to show, though, that the ATP organisers were genuine music fans with zero business sense, whereas the pair behind Cool Britannia, David Heartfield and Jack Gray, come across as people with no passion whatsoever for music but a keen nose for cash, having ditched their 80s festival Rewind for £30 million when they decided the market was saturated.

Gray is quoted as saying "I'd love to see a Welsh version of this festival with iconic bands like Catatonia". Please, no. That said, I think they'd struggle: Stereophonics would sign up in a flash, but two people using the name Cool Britannia trying to get the likes of the Manics, Super Furry Animals and Gorky's on board? I very much doubt it.

The principal reason for the Britpop revival, of course, is nostalgia. Petridis never once mentions Brexit, but the fact is that the parallels are there: Brits looking back with rose-tinted glasses to a time when Britannia ruled the waves (or at least the charts), eulogising conservative values in the face of a modern world they can't (or refuse to) comprehend.

I prescribe the new Gazelle Twin LP.

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