Opinion Blog: Is Britpop finally officially over?

by Sam Skilton
Damon Albarn, Noel Gallagher and Graham Coxon pose together ahead of Saturday's Teenage Cancer Trust collaboration at the Royal Albert Hall, but does this mean that Britpop is finally over?

Damon Albarn, Noel Gallagher and Graham Coxon pose together ahead of Saturday’s Teenage Cancer Trust collaboration at the Royal Albert Hall, but does this mean that Britpop is finally over?

This weekend Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn buried their hatchet to end the feud which broke out between Oasis and Blur during the height of Britpop in the mid-90s – although it appears that Liam isn’t too amused!
Noel, the older Gallagher brother, was standing in as curator for this year’s Teenage Cancer Trust concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in the absence of regular supervisor Roger Daltrey, who is currently touring with The Who.
The line-up featured the likes of Ryan Adams, Kasabian, Primal Scream, and Paul Weller, but the night which raised the most eyebrows was Saturday (23rd March). Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds were set to headline, with support from the Blur pairing of Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon.
Gallagher and Albarn initially kissed and made up after 2012’s Brit Awards, and they were spotted together again at this year’s bash. The former Oasis mastermind had by then already announced that the Blur duo would be playing the Teenage Cancer Trust gig though, and that he would most likely be joining them onstage.
Back during the peak of the Britpop era, the Blur vs. Oasis battle had been intense and at times rather feisty. In 1994 the two bands appeared together on American radio show San Francisco, Live 105, although at this point the rivalry was yet to truly take off.
It was the famous 1995 chart showdown which really sparked the hostility between the two. Blur’s single ‘Country House’ was moved by the band’s record label to coincide with the release of ‘Roll with It’ by Oasis, and as a result, spurred on by the media, the two were divided. NME devoted the cover of its magazine to the battle, branding it the “British Heavyweight Championship”.
At the time Blur were supposedly representative of the South, while Oasis were the symbol of the North. Despite their huge future success, the Manchester band were beaten to number one, and Blur had already taken all of the major honours at the year’s Brit Awards, including Best British Group, Single, Video and Album for ‘Parklife’.
A year later times had changed, and it was Oasis who took the 1996 Brits by storm, winning Best British Group, Video and Album for ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory’ which triumphed over Blur’s ‘The Great Escape’. The Northerners then taunted their rivals by putting on a mock Southern accent and singing ‘Parklife’ during their acceptance speech, with Liam Gallagher converting the words to ‘shite-life’.
During the 1990s Noel also famously said about Damon Albarn: “I wish he would get AIDs and die,” and even as recently as 2007 the Blur frontman claimed: “I can’t make it up with Noel. Britpop would be over and heaven forbid that we’d ever admit we’d all grown up!”
But, after all of their past histrionics, Gallagher united with Albarn and Coxon on Saturday to perform a rendition of ‘Tender’ at the Royal Albert Hall. An incredible super-group featured four of Britain’s greatest guitarists on stage together, and clearly Paul Weller had drawn the short straw as he was the man on drums.
The evening only seemed to intensify the dispute between the quarrelling Gallagher brothers though, with Liam taking to Twitter to comment: “Don’t know what’s worse RKID sipping champagne with a war criminal or them backing vocals you’ve just done for BLUE ! LG x (sic)”.
Presumably “sipping champagne with a war criminal” is a reference to when Noel went to meet Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street, while “BLUE” is most probably an amusing typo of what was meant to be ‘Blur’ (note that the letter ‘E’ is next to ‘R’ on a keyboard). It appears that another ‘Blurasis’ collaboration is closer than any speculated 2015 Oasis reunion.
Video: Noel Gallagher, Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon and Paul Weller (drums) perform together at the Royal Albert Hall
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