Must-see documentary puts Britpop in wider context
Asked what makes a good band great, Liam Gallagher characteristically cuts through the crap in one of his regrettably scarce contributions to this record of Britpop in the ’90s?”Just ‘avin’ it,” he grins. Liam’s pithy views on politics, his brother’s visit to Downing St, Oasis’ albums and his alleged androgyny come as highlights in this, one of the essential documentaries of recent years, which charts the rise of young, homegrown music against a background of political dissatisfaction and deep-hewn social division.
With clips and interviews from many of the major players, Live Forever also puts Britpop into a wider cultural context which includes supermodels, Loaded, cocaine, Trainspotting, Damien Hirst’s art and the Diana phenomenon. Jarvis Cocker looks back with mixed feelings, while Noel Gallagher is more hilariously forthright than ever as he discusses one of Britpop’s key moments?the 1995 Oasis/Blur chart (and class) battle?and wins this latest round hands down, since Damon Albarn refuses to discuss it.
Damon, however, comes into his own, backed by Jarvis and Louise Wener, when he lifts the lid on Cool Britannia, Blair’s electoral triumph and the New Labour “con” which found the Party anxious to manipulate the musicians who’d helped it to power. Extraordinarily, the film wanders beyond its territory to an unconvincing conclusion, linking the death of Britpop to the surge of pre-pubescent hero-worship and playing out to the unlikely strains of S Club 7.