With solo artists formerly members of bands or groups, especially those that had left their cultural footprint on a generation, the issue of living up to the experience of past works will always linger. Paul Weller had it and came into his own. Roger Daltry experienced it time and time again. Jarvis Cocker is still chasing that high, so much so that he retreated back to group work with the seemingly ego-fuelled project Jarv Is. His name under one group, or roof, as House Music All Night Long would clamour for. Despite that, Cocker’s debut attempt at music with the simply titled The Jarvis Cocker Record shows off his indie range without dabbling in the culture wars, the drink and drugs of a past period or anything out of the ordinary.
Ethan Hawke opens with some insipid, uninspired notes of narration. “I am not going to tell the story the way it happened,” his soulless ideas spring from the screen as a camera pans around a boy in a shallow sea. Where Great Expectations and Alfonso Cuarón fail is in the modernisation of the Charles Dickens classic. But modernity is not something to cower away from. Where Great Expectations offers a new era and generation of interest for the text, it fails to capture what few notes made it settle so well. It is nowhere close to the David Lean feature before it, and Cuarón must, surely, know that.
Arabicus Pulp was born in a Sheffield school. They ditched the Arabicus bit, pooled their influence from this Michael Caine thriller, and simply became Pulp. That is where one would think the influence ends, but there is more to Pulp than that. Thick rimmed glasses and over-sexualised lyrics were the forte of Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, but they are values seemingly instilled by this Caine-led piece from director Mike Hodges. Odd-fitting suits and narration that details the many mistakes Caine’s character has made. He opens us into his life abroad, and how the menial work his wife provided at the funeral parlour was not enough to satiate his desire to be creative, even if that creativity was to write salacious novels for a low-brow public.
Loving music that was conceived before I was seems to be this passing hobby of mine. Friends and family will of course be horrified at my love of Britpop, but then I am aghast and fearful of their love for the Gerry Cinnamon’s and Lewis Capaldi’s of this world. One of the key downsides to a love for old music is that, well, the touring has dried up. Most have died or retired, but one or two are hanging on in there, hoping to kindle a nostalgic fanbase who are demanding, crying and shouting out for a reunion tour of some sort. Pup – Reading 2011 is one such response, to the sudden surge of rose-tinted Britpop memories, only a few years after Oasis had been shot down like the lead zeppelin it was and Blur had bounced back with a sudden reunion. It was inevitable that the best of the Britpop four would tour again.
As a wave of red seats washed over England’s political map, the rise of Britpop was mounted and shouldered in by Tony Blair, at the time a youthful face of a reformed Labour Party. Whilst Blur and Oasis waged war with one another in the charts, they found clarity and similarities in their cosy attitude to Blair and his breakthrough.
If the politicisation of music has taught us one thing, it’s that it will make or break a genre. Punk worked primarily as a rage against the machine, a rebellious call to arms that The Sex Pistols, The Clash, and Ramones kindled for much of the genre’s lifespan. The political piggybacking of New Labour and Britpop was a strange by-product that led to this fresh British genre’s demise. How we charged towards this point of no return is as fascinating as the eventual fallout that broke up bands, brothers, and audiences. To understand why Britpop fell apart, we first need to look at why it began.
When I first watched this documentary about four years ago, I can remember loving it in its entirety. The work of documentarian Florian Habicht, in my mind, had brought to life a concert and culture I had no idea I loved, a mesmerising piece of film that kindled a love for all things Pulp. Upon further rewatches and an expanse in musical taste, I’ve found I had more than a few doubts about Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets, a documentary that looks to encapsulate the impact Pulp had on Sheffield and their people, all the while showcasing their farewell concert in their hometown.
It’s been quite the year so far, hasn’t it? Feels a bit weird to be saying that in the middle of March but it has been a bit headstrong so far. A debilitating virus swirling globally, panic on the streets and social media alongside political misgivings, economic decline and climate decimation. We’re the doomed generation, and to compensate for that, here are ten songs that capture this bleak year so far. As expected, there were more than ten songs to hit up for this list, but I’ve made a nifty little list below for those that didn’t make the final cut.