Welcome to the first part of an ambitious/hubristic six part blog. Yes, that’s right, six – my incremental replacement of a social life with excessive blogging clearly now reaching critical mass (as further evidenced by the fact I’m not writing this on a train, as was once upon a time the plan, but at home).
Enough preamble, let’s get to the meat. Here’s what I’ll be doing this week (aside from, you know, work and what-not): I’ll take 32 of the best late-90s British indie albums and, in classic knock-out cup form, pair them all off against each other, round by round, until there’s only one left, the ‘winner.’
It will be thoroughly and completely pointless. But I sure hope you join me…
No, I really do. I realize there will be a fair few of you reading this now pretty much thinking about what else you could be doing instead. Can’t say I blame you, this is on the niche side of things, I readily admit… Yet, hopefully, even if you can’t feel about your person the warm glow of recognition, with these particular albums, you can at least think back to a time – like I will be – when buying a new album was a very pressing bit of business. When listening to it for the first time and reading the liner notes was always and reliably the same giddy joy.
Like you, no doubt, I never stopped buying music, or stopped wanting to. It’s just that it was the most fun in the late 90s when I was about 15, 16, 17… trooping into Croydon most Saturdays with Richard Ward, Mike Scott and Matt Sharps trying desperately to stretch a small amount of means into as many new CDs as possible. An enterprise, according to my rough calculations, about 600% more enjoyable than ‘visiting’ the i-Tunes store… Hunching over row after row after row of jewel cases, rising up to chat every now and then, and always more-or-less certain that a new life-changing record is just around the corner. One of the ones below, maybe.
Anyhow, let’s go! Don’t worry if you don’t know a Brett Anderson fringe from a Gaz Coombes sideburn, it’s all guitars and harmonies, cigarettes and sex, baselines and hooks, right? The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Best bands get two albums each, and, for those of you keeping count, there’s no Gene, Menswear, or Shed Seven. What can I say? You can’t buy everything – and especially not when your only source of income is a paper-round and parents.
…And the winners are? Tomorrow, my friends, tomorrow. Have a lovely evening.