Ok, for the last-but-one time…
Parklife (Blur) beats Sun Is Often Out (Longpigs)
On his short-lived but always enjoyable podcast, Stephen Fry once compared Oscar Wilde to the experience of driving down Fifth Avenue away from the Empire State Building. Just as you realize how much New York’s tallest building towers over the other skyscrapers around it the further away from it you get, so, too, in Fry’s opinion, has time been increasingly kind to Wilde’s reputation. The ‘older’ Wilde gets, the more he towers over his contemporaries; the funnier and wiser he becomes. Well, I don’t know about funnier and wiser, exactly, but much the same can be said about Blur, no? These days, the idea that Oasis ever ‘beat’ them just seems kind of silly. And so what if Alex James now wants to make a living out of selling cheese – to each his own, right? Maybe drummer Rowntree should start making crackers… (Rumor has it his political career has been less than successful.)
Different Class (Pulp) beats Holy Bible (Manic Street Preachers)
Seeing the Manics at Wembley Arena one year, our underground train stopped for what seemed like an age between two stations. Probably I needed a pee, but for some reason my brain never saw fit to store this information. I do remember well, however, the name of the support band we were missing more and more of as the train remained defiantly still. Catatonia. Sometimes, after all, it’s quite alright to be late… As for the main attraction, James Dean Bradfield took to the stage alone at one point to belt out a seasonally-appropriate a cappella version of Wham’s Last Christmas. Incredibly, he pulled it off, demonstrating in the process a pretty formidable set of pipes. For the very simple reason that no one is, mind you, he’s no Jarvis Cocker – a man who was happy to sing of himself recently (last solo album), “I never said I was deep/But I am profoundly shallow.” But never mind my continuing glorification of Cocker, the rest of Pulp aren’t too shabby, either. The lyrics are great, the songs are even better.
Q: Can I stretch this thing out one more day to the other side of the weekend?
A: Yes I can.
Q: Should I?