In the US there was a term used in the 80s/90s called the “culture wars” about dumbing down and high culture v lowbrow trash (an argument raging since Richard Hoggart’s Uses of Literacy in 1958.)
Odd to think that Blur and Oasis were seen as interchangeable at the height of the Britpop skirmish and that both were slagged off as culturally retrograde and whiter than white. I think events of today demonstrate that Blur’s personnel are branching out all over the shop from their original remit as derivative pop performers. Earlier this evening a grizzly-bear looking bearded Damon Albarn popped up on Channel 4 News to plug the opera he’s written on 16th century polymath Dr Dee due to premiere at this year’s Manchester International Festival following his earlier Chinese opera, Mali world music project and spin-off bands the hip hop cartoon funsters Gorillaz and supergroup Good, the Bad and the Queen.
Meanwhile earlier on former drummer David (nee Dave) Rowntree born-again aspiring Labour MP and trainee lawyer was given a platform on BBC 2’s Daily Politics to tear apart housing government policy and tear into the Tory on the sofa to the consternation of presenter Anita Anand.
I know Liam has also had his extra curricular expolits (clothing label Pretty Green) after a 1980 Jam track, but to my ears neither his current band Beady Eye and his side-project single “Carnation” (cover of a 1981 Jam track) represent a huge musical step forward. What next? Guigsy authoring a Fabian pamphlet on the future of the Euro after the Greek sovereign debt crisis? I can’t imagine it somehow (although Blur bassist Alex James does pen regular columns for the Sun among others).
To conclude then it does seem to be the case that ultiamtely there was no contest: in the Britpop-culture-wars Blur won.