Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 12:00am

Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop

Starring: Noel and Liam Gallagher, Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker

Director: John Dower

The film: Ask a Briton about the music scene of the 1990s and chances are their eyes will go all dewy. And for good reason. The generation that followed the likes of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones didn't have that much to crow about until - director John Dower would have us believe - The Stone Roses took to the stage at Spike Island in 1990. From then on, everything changed - and the Brit-pop phenomenon was born.

Dower interviews major players from the bands that helped forge the scene, throws in live and studio footage to chart the movement's impact on British society, and adds the views of the likes of artist Damien Hirst and author Jon Savage to add intellectual weight to the argument.

At the heart of it all are interviews with Liam and Noel Gallagher, Damon Albarn and Jarvis Cocker - each giving their own spin on how their bands (Oasis, Blur and Pulp, respectively) came to be, and what they went through on their way to the top of the charts.

You get both barrels from the Gallaghers, whose inflated self-importance provide many of the most amusing, and embarrassing, moments: Noel pontificates on his working-class roots perched on a throne in his mansion, while Liam (above with ex-wife Patsy Kensit) spits mindless venom when questions don't go his way. Albarn appears to genuinely regret most his words and actions of the period. Cocker seems to be the only one capable of laughing at himself and the absurdity of the media circus that accompanied the movement. Smaller parts are played by Massive Attack's Robert '3D' del Naja and Sleeper's Louise Wener.

The crucial albums of the 90s - and the defining film, Trainspotting - serve as milestones on what is a hugely enjoyable journey. Dower clearly in love with his subject and you're almost convinced of the importance of the movement. Almost.

The extras: A series of extended interviews are included, but by then you've probably had enough of the boorish Noel and Liam. There's also some rare footage of Oasis working on their finest song (Wonderwall). Detailed commentary explains the lengths Dower went to in order to get the story across: egos are massaged and whims answered.

The verdict: A DVD that ought to fly off the shelves. Priceless.