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The Hand of History

Stuart Bailie | 18:51 UK time, Friday, 22 May 2009

Yesterday I spent a few happy hours at the British Music Experience. It's installed at the O2 in London and it effectively corrals a load of music memorabilia from over 50 years of musical verve. There was Cliff and Joe Brown, Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber from way back. There were Beatles artefacts and some vintage clobber from Keef and Mick. I enjoyed the punk exhibits but the real thrill was standing in front of old Bowie costumes, from the eras of Ziggy, Scarey Monsters, and the signature blue suit from the cover of 'Dave Live'. I swooned.

britpop.jpgThen there was the Britpop cabinet, showing pieces from Suede and Elastica and naturally, Blur and Oasis. And right in the middle was an NME cover from August 1995, signalling the start of the Britpop war. I remember that moment so well, as the editorial team had gathered around the screen in the art room, mocking up an old boxing poster. It was a team effort and we ran with the energy of it all for at lest a year. The idea has partly been mine, as I had spent a train ride to Wolverhampton a few weeks earlier, en route to a Heavy Stero gig. A mob from Creation Records was there, and they spent the whole journey talking up the battle between 'Roll With It' and 'Country House'. It was a huge deal to them all, and the journalistic radar was twitching like mad.

Noel Gallagher has never forgotten that moment, and he still harbours a grudge. Secretly though, he must realise that it turned a decent little group into a national talking point,.


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