BBC To Shock Everyone By Celebrating Yet More Music Played By White People: The Britpop Years
THE BBC have been doing a lot of reminiscing of late. They set up BBC Four and filled it with old episodes of Top of the Pops and documentaries about the kind of music 40 year old middle class white men like.
It’s been blues this, Beatles that; classic soul this, Danny Baker talking about his record collection that. It is all perfectly lovely and often worth celebrating.
However, get the feeling there’s a whitewash going on?
The BBC give blanket coverage of Glastonbury and white rock music throughout the year. When it comes to black music, they apply the classic rule of ‘Black music is only credible if it is 20 years old, or more.’
With that, the only black music you’ll get on the BBC is stuff about disco, rhythm & blues, 60s soul music, jazz and at a push, maybe a fleeting nod to some of the hip hop released in the late 80s. Again, this is not some shrieking liberal complaint, but it certainly feels like the BBC are more likely to do a show about The Mighty Wah rather than The Wu Tang Clan. And while it is fine to like and celebrate both, you have to concede that the boys from Staten Island are infinitely more influential than Pete Wylie & Co.
However, the BBC is moving away from the 70s and 80s and looking at the 90s! Surely, the birth and globalisation of hip hop is going to get a look in! How could any discerning record nut ignore the impact of Public Enemy, NWA, Wu, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Biggie Smalls, De La Soul and so much more?! The bands that sat alongside acid house! The bands that influenced baggy! The acts that paved the way for the Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, Daft Punk and more?! The acts that helped to tread a path which so many would follow, turning hip hop into the biggest, most successful genre of music on the planet! The birth of a musical revolution!
What’s that? The BBC are going to do something on Britpop?
That’s right. Auntie Beeb is getting Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley back together to revive The Evening Session. The new programme will air nightly on Radio 2 for one week ( from April 6 to 11) and will feature music of the time, new bands covering Britpop songs and people like Gaz Coombes of Supergrass and Louise Wener of Sleeper remembering the good old days.
About the reunion, Jo Whiley said: “I will always jump at the chance to work with Steve. He is my radio ‘other half’ and we did fight the Britpop wars together after all. It was a great time to be a DJ on UK radio but, as ever, when you’re in the eye of the storm, you are blissfully unaware. It’s only in hindsight that you appreciate what a privilege it was to live and work through such an exciting time for British music.”
Lamacq added: For me, this is the week 20 years ago that the musical tectonic plates shifted. On the Tuesday, Oasis played live on Radio 1 for the first time and on the Friday morning we heard the news of Kurt Cobain’s death. It was as if one scene had announced it had arrived, as another began to lose its way.”
There will also be programmes on Radio 2, 6Music and BBC Four.
Of course, if you were there, Britpop was great fun. However, this will remind everyone that Echobelly weren’t very good and that Menswear were in fact, much worse than you remember.
While it is nice to celebrate Britpop and allow thirtysomethings to roll back the years when they had dreadful flared corduroy trousers and Damon Albarn beads, maybe it is time the BBC started looking at the rest of the spectrum? The 90s weren’t just about white boys and girls and their guitars.