Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop is not a comprehensive study of ’90s British pop music or the culture and politics surrounding it. I mean, it discusses Suede for all of thirty seconds. But it is highly entertaining. The interviews, featuring the Gallagher brothers, Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn, and some other people (including members of an Oasis tribute band where the bass player looks NOTHING like Guigsy, ummm–OUTRAGE!!), are witty and insightful. It’s worth a watch, if only for the 21 following quotes…my favorite things about this little documentary.
1. Liam Gallagher’s heroes
Did you have heroes growing up?
Incredible Hulk was probably one of ’em. Evil Knievil. That’s about it.
What was it you liked about the Incredible Hulk?
2. Damon Albarn on media images of Blur and Oasis
Blur were suddenly the inauthentic middle-class pop band and Oasis were the real, gritty, working class heroes. How did you feel about all that?
That was a very intelligent observation by whoever made that, wasn’t it?
3. Jarvis Cocker on mariginalized turds: “You were kind of used to being this marginal piece of turd and then, suddenly, the piece of turd was moved into center stage. That felt exciting.”
4. Noel Gallagher on Definitely Maybe versus (What’s the Story) Morning Glory: “I personally think Definitely Maybe is a far better album. And it’s for the life of me that I can’t understand why in this country in particular when people were going to buy Morning Glory they didn’t buy Definitely Maybe, and I’d just like to say: Where do you get off on that? When you go into HMV to buy a copy of Morning Glory, you don’t buy Definitely Maybe. What’s that all about? Just do it to piss me off? I could sit and think about that for hours. [To interviewer] Have you got Definitely Maybe? And Morning Glory? See, I can understand that. People are weird.”
5. Liam on why he wouldn’t want to interview John Lennon: “Because you ask him one question and it just go into anything…and before you know it, I’d end up licking his face. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?”
6. Noel on Liam believing he is John Lennon reincarnated: “Liam started believing everything that was written in the NME about him. It was a good couple of weeks that he was talking in a Scouse accent. Now I’m all for madness in rock music, and I’m all for surrealism, but he was trying to convince me that I should call him John.”
7. Damon playing his ukulele instead of answering questions.
8. Liam on his hobbies and interests growing up
Didn’t like music then. Just played football and come in late for me tea and knocked on people’s doors and run off. Run through people’s back gardens and pinch things.
What sort of things would you pinch?
Clothes off the washing line if I thought they looked pretty cool, I thought, ‘I’ll have that.’ Mountain bikes. Anything. Lawn mowers.
You used to pick lawn mowers?
Mmm. And sell ’em. For weed.
9. Jarvis on “Common People”
That song you did, “Common People,” I heard it described as the perfect encapsulation of the Britpop aesthetic.
Oh dear. Right.
(Just as a side note: still trying to wrap my head around the interview locations. Noel looks like he’s in a spare room of Buckingham Palace, and then we see Jarvis in squalor. Okay.)
10. Noel on Knebworth
Were you aware at the time that you were making history?
If we would have sat down and calculated that we were going to make history…I certainly would have worn a better outfit, let’s put it that way.
11. Liam on Knebworth
Biggest freestanding gig in history.
Very proud of that.
What do you remember of that?
Nothing. Not a lot, really. I remember forgetting…I thought we were only doing one night and then we done the second, so I got really drunk after the first night and can’t remember anything else.
12. Jarvis on drugs
I was just a mess.
Well, taking drugs doesn’t help. That never helps in a situation. You don’t often hear people saying, ‘Oooh, since he’s been taking them drugs he’s such a nice person. He’s really come out of his shell, he’s really nice. He’s blossomed.’
13. Liam attempts to understand the word “androgyny”
What does that mean?
You have a feminine quality about you as well.
I have a what?
A feminine quality about you.
What does that mean?
Well, you’re not just some…
I’m a bird?
No, I’m not saying you’re a bird, but…
What does that mean?
Well, you’re not some fifteen stone hog, you have that kind of–a bit of femininity in your masculinity.
Have I? Explain.
I suppose just in your looks.
I’m a pretty boy, yeah. Yeah, I’m pretty good-looking. I take care of me hair. Bit obsessed with me hair. You gotta have a decent haircut if you’re a frontman.
14. Noel on Liam’s Vanity Fair cover: “I thought he looked like an absolute idiot. ‘Cos they wanted me and Liam to do it, and I remember taking the phone call and somebody saying, ‘Well, if you don’t do it, Blur will do it.’ To which I laughed and handed the phone to Liam. I was like, ‘Oh, well, I better do it, then.’ Y’know what I mean? And Liam ends up on the cover with a nipple on his head looking like a baby’s bottle with his missus. In a Union Jack bed, that’s the one. Topless—oooh! Rubbish.”
(Just trying to imagine the Noel/Liam version of this…)
15. Jarvis on the side effects of cocaine: “Well, all around that time was people taking loads of coke…It’s a very self-congratulatory kind of drug, you know. ‘Yes, we’re inventing the future!'”
16. Damon’s demonic glow when questioned whether “Beetlebum” is about heroin: “Does it matter? I mean, obviously, Head and Shoulders, whoever used it on their advert, didn’t think so.”
17. Noel on Be Here Now: “It’s the sound of a bunch of guys on coke in the studio not giving a f***. There’s no bass to it at all. I don’t know what happened to that. And all the songs are really long. And all the lyrics are s***. And for every millisecond Liam is not saying a word, there’s a guitar riff in there in a Wayne’s World styley. Air guitar gone mental. But Liam thinks it f***ing rocks.”
18. Noel on the value of Be Here Now (and how to increase it): “People can b**** about it the rest of their lives, but y’know, sell it. Get four or five quid, I would imagine. Come ’round my house and I’ll sign it for you. Probably get a tenner then.”
19. Noel on visitors to the studio while mixing “The Hindu Times”: “Actually, we were mixing ‘The Hindu Times’ in Olympic Studios in London and where the room is where we’re doing this mixing is like a conservatory type thing and there was all these kids doing their dancing thing. And Liam and Andy Bell walked in. And I went, ‘See all them kids out there?’ And they went, ‘Oh, you mean Junior S Club 7?’ And it took me twenty minutes to realize, ‘How the f*** do you know what they’re called? I thought they were just some kids from a special needs school who were hanging out in the studio for a day ‘cos it was free food or something.’ And they knew their names.”
20. Liam on Junior S Club 7: “I don’t mind S Club Juniors…Good little kids, man.”
(Just imagining him listening to this does my head in. I don’t know. Perfect human being.)
21. Noel on choreographers: “And where did all this come from? What does this mean? I don’t get that at all. The choreographers are taking over the world, man. Everything’s choreographed now, isn’t it? It’s rubbish.”
…And that’s excluding Noel’s impersonation of Damon Albarn (which is a bit dated, seeing as they’ve reconciled), talk of Afghan clowns, and Liam Gallagher being Liam Gallagher. Oh, Britpop. You’re too much fun.