Some day, someone will make a great documentary about Britpop and Cool Britannia. This isn't it. The film suffers from what Jon Savage (in one of the extra feature interviews) calls a "False Reading of History". In this case, the false reading is the filmmakers' decision to frame the Blur-Oasis war as the crucial story of the movement, neglecting other more interesting stories and artists. Pulp in particular get a short shrift. Different Class encapsulated all of the best things about Britpop and fittingly Jarvis Cocker proves himself to be the most insightful and interesting interview subject. Apparently the filmmakers didn't agree and felt that the film would be better served by more interviews with an Oasis tribute band.
With this slant towards the more "mad fer it" side of Britpop it's no surprise there's a reluctance to address the movement's darker side (apart from the drugs). In an interview left on the cutting room floor (but on the extra feature DVD) Jon Savage discusses how the new multicultural face of Britain was shoved aside in Britpop in favour of the Paul Weller-Dadrock conservatism. Too bad the filmmakers were too chicken to include that argument in the main documentary.
The film is also unsatisfying because it doesn't push the artists for answers as to how they feel about the entire process nearly a decade down the line. How do they feel about never being able to match that success again? Perhaps there's still not enough distance for a proper (or honest) answer from them yet. I also would've liked to see the documentary investigate the role of the music press, particularly the NME, in building up the phony "Blur-Oasis" war and other silly press stunts.
But most disturbingly for me is that no one ever discusses whether the songs were any good!
Other random thoughts: Noel Gallagher is destined to become the new Malcolm McLaren, pontificating about his massive influence in future documentaries. It's amusing how he's still suffering from a tremendous inferiority complex, particularly in relation to Damon Albarn. It apparently never occurs to him that maybe he shouldn’t be extolling the virtues of a working class background while he sits in a huge throne-like chair surrounded by posh portraits. Meanwhile, Damon's interview takes place in the pub.
Liam clearly decided to make life as difficult as possible for the interviewer. There's a positively Begbie-like moment where he bristles at being called "androgynous". "You're sayin' I look like a bird?" he menaces, leaving the interviewer squirming. It's amusing, especially since he knows full well what it means and instead just wants to play the old "ooh, me, I'm so hard" routine.
Also, memo to Jarvis: I know I've said some unflattering things about you in the past few years but if you cut your hair and put the contacts back in all will be forgiven. Luv, K.