This week we look back at the unimaginable days of economic growth, low inflation and a surge in popularity for the government. It all sounds like the stuff of myth and legend now, but less than 20 years ago the success of New Labour’s election campaign saw them - and their charismatic leader, Tony Blair - sweep to power and mark a time when, for a few years at least, we became ‘Cool Britannia.’
Here’s contributor Jasvir remembering how Blair and co. seemed to make Westminster (maybe for the first time ever in British history) slightly hip.
Contributor Jasvir tells The People's Songs how he felt when New Labour rose to power.
Of course, The People’s Songs aims to create a living record of those times not through mere politics. Culturally the UK suddenly seemed to again be centre of the cultural universe. Not only did we have ‘Britpop’ (in retrospect: a useful label to pigeonhole a slew of excellent but very different bands together) but in the visual arts the YBAs, including Hirst, Lucas and Emin, were shaking up the establishment. It was almost like the sixties has returned, such was the optimism.
Here’s contributor Mark talking about the music of the time.
Contributor Mark Greenfield remembers how UK bands made us 'Cool Britannia'
Most of us have distinct memories of the time, whether it be Liam and Patsy on the cover of Vanity Fair, sharks in formaldehyde or even this week’s key song (played by the band with a future TV physicist on keyboards) blaring (sorry) over the new Labour election victory celebrations. And luckily for us, you’ve shared these memories to make this series so successful.
Not only that, you’ve shared some wonderful pictures as well. As a result, the website now has a rather fine gallery of pictures of many of our contributors. And some have even sent us pictures relevant to the times discussed on the show; from fanatical Amy Winehouse fans all the way back to where we started, in World War Two.
Personal favourites in the gallery are a picture of an original 2i’s coffee bar membership card (the place where Tommy Steele and Cliff and the Shadows got their first big break) and some gorgeous old snaps from contributor Angie Jackson of her parents back in the ‘50s, newly arrived in Britain.
Every week we’ll be adding to the gallery, and if you have pictures that relate to any of the shows, please get in touch via email or even Twitter. You’ll be helping us make history…