Yesterday I fell down one of those wonderful Internet rabbit holes that ends up eating your entire day, and now I'd like to share the


Why Not Spend Three Hours of Your Day Watching Documentaries About Brit Pop and Pulp's Class-Anxiety Anthem "Common People"?

Yesterday I fell down one of those wonderful Internet rabbit holes that ends up eating your entire day, and now I'd like to share the time-suck with the fine readers of Reverb. It started, as these things do, with a blog post, this keen lyrical analysis of Pulp's "Common People" by The Guardian UK's Dorian Lynskey (occasioned by the news of Pulp's reunion for some summer festivals this year, though none thus far in the States). From there, it was on to this hour-long BBC documentary about the making of "Common People" (because I guess in Cool Britannia, the BBC gets to make hour-long documentaries about individual songs--and not even #1s!):

It's on YouTube in its entirety in six parts, and it is, as I believe the Brits say, ACE. And you've got to love the tabloid-style voice-overs: "Discover what the band REALLY thought about Jarvis' keyboard playing!" "Will the identity of the Greek girl ever be known?!" And Cocker and the rest of Pulp are droll and charming throughout--I like the bit where they're touring the old studio and Cocker finds the VERY BAG OF SUGAR THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN USED FOR TEA WHILST RECORDING "COMMON PEOPLE." Breathtaking.

Which of course led me back to another old favorite documentary on the Brit Pop theme, Live Forever, in which Pulp and Cocker's self-effacing cool are all but entirely overshadowed by the spectacle of Blur versus Oasis:

The documentary examines the rise of Brit Pop as part of an overall generational/national shift occurring in Britain in the '90s, an exuberant change of mood that encompassed everything from politics (grim Thatcherism giving way to Tony Blair's relatively youthful and optimistic "New Labour") to art (Damien Hirst's shark tanks) to film (Danny Boyle's stylish take on Trainspotting) to fashion and of course music. It's an admirably wide view for a 90-minute music doc, but it's no match for the sheer gleeful ridiculousness of the film's interviews.

All the interview segments are neatly framed (Hirst on his furry Union Jack bedspread, for instance), but none more so than Noel Gallagher, who spouts off boasts about Oasis' working-class credentials while perched atop a literal fucking throne in what is presumably his fancy mansion. Noel is great and far more self-aware than one might have given him credit for at the height of Brit Pop, but Liam is on another level, and entirely unself-aware--his reaction when the interviewer asks him if he has a certain androgynous quality is priceless. Equal to all that is Blur frontman Damon Albarn's sheer put-upon boredom at having to rehash all this tiresome stuff once again; sat in a pub, he sighs, pouts, stalls, and finally takes to strumming the ukulele that he's brought along to the filming. Brilliant.

The day ended with me re-upping the old Trainspotting soundtrack to my iPod and finally leaving the house. It was a day well spent.

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