Monday, July 29, 2002

'95, I don't recall a time I felt this alive

I arrived in London at exactly the right time. The right time for me - I had just come home to start afresh at the age of thirty, and I had just ended a relationship that had been limping along since the late eighties.

In the twist of separation, I excelled at being free

And boy! Did I ever! I did all the things I should have done ten years earlier, but was too scared, too sensible, to do. I discovered ecstasy, I went to all-night clubs, travelled around Europe, explored my sexuality, came out of my shell and actually spoke to strangers.

Yes, I did feel better, I felt alright

It was the right time for the city, too. Just around the corner was the impending New Labour victory with its promise of Cool Britannia and Swinging London. And do you remember the summer of 1995? The weather was incredible - three solid months of sunshine. And the radio played upbeat, tuneful, intelligent English pop made by pretty white boys with floppy hair and Arts degrees. Music I could relate to. Britpop.

We were young, we ran green, kept our teeth nice and clean

Everything sounded fresh, exciting, young! Teenage Fanclub, Oasis, Supergrass, Blur, Elastica, McAlmont and Butler, Menswe@r, Dubstar, plus this strange new dance music: the Chemical Brothers, Leftfield, Tricky, Portishead, Massive Attack.

Then came the inevitable backlash. The scene collapsed under the hype of the well-documented, high-profile Blur vs Oasis chart battle. After that, 'Britpop' was a dirty word, and bands rushed to claim that they were never part of the scene. New Labour turned out to be more like New Tory, and New David realised he was just like Old David, only older.

This old town's changed so much, don't feel like I belong

Could it be time to reclaim Britpop? Today, in a corner shop at lunch, I heard the much-lauded-then-much-derided Wake Up Boo!, and - on this glorious summer afternoon - it sounded so good, so right. And I felt so good, so right, so young.

For what could be the very last time

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