The ultimate fantasy of many an exotic minded landscaped owner would be a time machine. I often look into my minds eye and shift forwards to imagine time to come or flick back through the pages to points where amazing things happened and left an imprint on society. One of these events I’ve popped back to is the Brit Pop, Cool Britannia period of the 90s where Britain was back on the map and giving it the large.
Having grown up in the UK in the 80s and 90s we had witnessed a turbo charged change in attitudes and thinking, far from the grey old broken Britain of the 70s and early 80’s. Looking back on that time was like watching a bit of old footage from a long distant past where buses and cars looked like they had been mass produced for cave men and women from a Jurassic period.
The only thing we had in Britain through those dismal times of high unemployment and winters of discontent was music, art, fashion and an attitude, that if you wanted to get heard you had to shout to the top.
Acid house led us into the 90s and euphoria was everywhere fuelled mainly from the fact most young people where banging huge amounts of MDMA, it made people happy for a bit till Wednesday when most people started to come down from the previous weekend and were planning the next one.
It would have been a Thursday night while getting ready to go out , when a I heard certain band come on a popular chart show program at the time. The track was called ‘Shaker Maker’ which had a modern retro sound, but was being sung by a singer that had so much charisma you knew instantly they where going to be huge.
That band was Oasis and for me they set up the whole Brit Pop revolution, which had its rise and fall with that moment and Knebworth, signalling its basic end. Just like Woodstock being the shooting star moment, which said ‘sorry everyone the 1960’s are over’, only to be followed by the bloated, violent 1970’s of unrest, though mixed with some amazing music it has to be said.
So did Brit Pop die at Knebworth and stagger on without the fanfare that the media had given it when The Gallagher’s offered out Blur at the Brits, well lets just say that I think it never really went away.
In all honesty I think there were better bands than Oasis anyway, highlighted by the irony of a band like Kula Shaker. They made one of the best album’s ‘K’ and single ‘Hey Dude’ of that decade and could out play Oasis any night of the week.
As we entered the 21st century the word Brit Pop was something bands wanted nothing to do with, it was now tainted with the likes of all the lame stream stuff that was palmed off as music made by credible artists.
Worse still the usual suspects of 90s Brit Pop had made the damming mistake an artist could possibly make and got into bed with a politician. Those incriminating photos smiling and drinking bottles of Moet at 10 Downing Street with Tony Blair signalled a final death nail in the 90’s Brit Pop coffin.
British Music however was still being knocked out far away from the Brit Pop badge of dishonour, finding it was being cherished by the religious ceremonies to which the British Music festival had become.
One of these bands that again are criminally under rated in my book are the Fratellis from Bonnie Scotland, who had the anthem of the naughties ‘Chelsea Dagger’. If you have only heard that track and not dug into the cracking albums and singles they have put out over the past 15 odd years your missing out big time.
The album of 2021 for me is their ‘Half Drunk Under A Full’ Moon, which shows me that British Rock music is still alive. Wolf Alice is another band that are pushing the boundaries as our many other names in the game.
I’ve been making records through that whole period of time for better or worse, having hits and defining my sound. I was asked a couple of years back to write some songs for a film about The Pearly Kings of Kings Cross in London. The first track I wrote was the theme called ‘Londinium’, which followed a family’s history through the ages and how they had made it through good times and bad in the one of the greatest cities on the planet.
The story picks up on the main characters Great Great Grandfather, who had served in the Boar War and lost a leg but got a medal:
‘They promised him a house when he got home but all he got was this old town’ It sums up that ordinary people have been used through history to serve the powers that be.
The Kings n Serfs EP has a Brit Rock sound probably because I’ve delved into my Small Faces ‘Lazy Sunday Afternoon’ vibe. You can hear that on ‘Sweet As’ and ‘Fake It Till You Make It’ which to me, sums up the working class dilemma.
It’s all about a little bit of luck in the end if you make it out to tell the tale or not.
So is Brit Pop still alive;
Well as Johnny Lyden said at Brixton Academy once apon a time ‘They’ll Always Be An England’
While that’s the case I guess Brit Pop will always be around.
Is a Music Producer, Author and MD of Kusha Deep Music