I know there’s a contentious issue around that so far I’ve remained silent on, and I think it’s time I finally moved from my perch sitting on the fence and definitively stated once and for all my position. I know proponents of each side claim the other side is ignorant plebs who ignore reality and I also know there’s a lot of people who will insist that both sides are as bad as each other. Yet, as a nation and a world, a choice must be made. An important choice, perhaps the most important.
Oasis or Blur?
The whole Britpop phenomenon is basically the first cultural memory I have. It’s not the first memory of the wider world I have: I can clearly remember Moira Stewart announcing the beginning of the first Gulf War on the BBC news, mostly because I remember it really upsetting Mum and not quite understanding why.
But as for awareness of contemporary culture, Britpop was it. Oh, before that I was aware of pop acts like Hanson and the Spice Girls, but at home all that anyone listened to was classic rock so that’s all I cared about. A pretentious opinion for a young kid but at least an objectively correct one! But then I got a little bit older and we reached the mid-90s and both the news and people at school were talking about the “big Britpop feud”
And so even young me, a 10 year old whose favourite band was The Alan Parsons Project, got a bit caught up in it. Would I side with the Hard Rockers who liked Oasis, the Thinking Man’s Pop-Rock of Blur or maybe even the third-party option of the Art Student’s Chronicler, Pulp?
Back then I favoured Oasis as they were rockier, plus I really liked my teacher that year and he was an Oasis guy. As a sidenote, he’s also the person who got me into the Civ series of games: he had Civ II on the classroom computer and would let me play it occasionally if I was finished with all my work. Oasis may be nothing but rock anthems, but a good rock anthem is a uniting piece of music and very memorable to boot.
As I’ve grown up though, I’ve come to appreciate Blur more. Oasis have some great tracks such as Wonderwall, especially in the context of late night drunken singing but you really can’t deny they had their formula and stuck to it. Blur were more experimental and cerebral and while that may be less good for inebriated karaoke, they have some killer mood pieces like Coffee and TV that I can really understand the emotions of now. But on the third hand, while Pulp may be unquestionably pretentious you can’t ignore they had some stunningly catchy hits, like Common People.
So, which side am I on now?
All of them. Yeah, yeah, I know. But it’s not 1995 any more and my playground cred isn’t at stake, so I can listen to all three- and I’m going to.