Tuna Pasta and Bargain Lager
From the video to “Don’t Look Back in Anger” by Oasis, Creation, 1995
From The New Statesman:
Oasis went from fourth on the bill at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow to playing to a quarter of a million people at Knebworth in a little over three years. And, inevitably, as the decade unfolds, the pages become increasingly awash with that perennial handmaiden of success – cocaine.
The story of any era is one of innocence into experience, of moving from your twenties into your thirties. Of young, aspirant creative people succumbing to all the vices those before them succumbed to. It goes from “Were you still up for Portillo?” to the invasion of Iraq. From Emin saying she won’t sell her work to Charles Saatchi because he “did that campaign that put Thatcher into power” to Emin thinking “I’m not going to change anything by being broke” and, well, selling her work to Charles Saatchi. From David Baddiel making a case for claiming “a version of Englishness that was inclusive and hopeful” to appearing with a scantily clad model on the cover of Loaded.
But there is always that fleeting moment just before the apex and the slide down. Noel Gallagher catches it well when he says, “There was a magical six months when we were the biggest band in the world but we hadn’t been properly paid, so we were still dressing like football hooligans. Then the money came in…” And, with the money, everything changes. “I couldn’t write for the man in the street because I wasn’t the man in the street. We had everything. Anything we wanted, we got.” Enter Oasis’s third album, Be Here Now. Curtain falls.
When looking back over an era, you come to the question of what images will define it. What will be on the cover of the Trivial Pursuit edition, or that birthday card with the decade of your birth on it? The Sixties get boiled down to the Beatles, JFK, Marilyn Monroe and Christine Keeler. The Eighties might be Thatcher, Wham!, Live Aid and Madonna. So what of the Nineties holds over today? My son (aged 23, born in 1996) and his friends still listen to a lot of Blur and Oasis. My daughter (11, born in 2008) and her friends are all obsessed with Friends, leading one to think that if you were to chisel a Mount Rushmore of 1990s Britain you’d have the Gallagher brothers, Geri Halliwell in the Union Jack minidress, and Ross and Rachel. Maybe Chris Evans.