Customer Reviews


 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't buy another book this year, buy this!
I've just finished reading it and while I couldn't put it down at the same time I was desperate not to reach the end. I was a student during the final years of Britpop and "The Last Party" is a fascinating insight into the music, people and politics of the era. Even just reading about the backgrounds and music of Blur, Oasis, Elastica and Suede was enough to evoke the...
Published on 21 May 2003

versus
28 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Memorable moments but fundamentally flawed
A well written romp through the Britpop years, this is a great nostalgic read for those of us who turned 30 around the same time as Noel and Damon in the mid 90s.
But Hammer of the Gods it ain't. ...
Harris's elegant rehash of received critical wisdom from the pages of Q and NME (in particular David Cavanagh and Stuart Maconies' writings on Creation and Blur)...
Published on 5 Aug. 2004 by niazalam


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't buy another book this year, buy this!, 21 May 2003
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've just finished reading it and while I couldn't put it down at the same time I was desperate not to reach the end. I was a student during the final years of Britpop and "The Last Party" is a fascinating insight into the music, people and politics of the era. Even just reading about the backgrounds and music of Blur, Oasis, Elastica and Suede was enough to evoke the memories of the day Labour got into power - the only day that the university caretaker was pleasant to the students! If you don't buy another book this year, then buy this - it's more than worth it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography of the Britpop years, 18 Jun. 2003
This excellent book about the Britpop and the "Cool Britannia" years in the mid 1990's. The book has an extremely broad appeal. It can be read as a cultural/sociological piece or just as a music biography in it's own right. The writing is perfect for both schools - it's always readable, informative and descriptive but never sensationalist or patronising. You get a lot of detailed information about Blur, Oasis, Pulp and the other Britpop bands. The information on Blur alone is as thorough as 3862 days - their official biography - but also comes from a neutral standpoint. Blur's Country House and Oasis's Roll With It were both rather poor singles and some of the bandwagon-jumping Britpop bands were simply plain awful. Harris is not afraid to say so in no uncertain terms. Oasis in particular are often painted as stupid and graceless yobs throughout, particularly towards the end of the book as they take too much Cocaine and release the disappointing album Be Here Now.
Harris tells the story of the 1990's chronologically starting by setting the context with the Smiths, Happy Mondays and 1980's Acid House. Then the rise of Grunge & Suede and the start of the Britpop years are explored. The music and culture of 1994 - 1997 are poured over. Everything from the emergence of Loaded Magazine to Jarvis Cocker's stage invasion at the Brit Awards is analysed and excellently researched.
Harris bases his story on the relationships within the story. The romantic links, the fighting and animosities between Albarn/Frishman/Anderson/Blair/Gallagher are all examined in great detail. This gives the book a very strong structure and focus and is surprisingly coherent as a whole.
This book is also well worth reading for the music fan because so many details and facts are revealed for the first time. Even as a long-term avid reader of the music press I had no idea as to the true horrific depths of Elastica's drug habits, or to the extent of the violent drunken behaviour of Blur's Graham Coxon during 1995. Brett Anderson and Justine Frishman go from being a perfect couple in 1991 to painfully separate & bitter drug addicts in 1997. These things all help to contribute to the rapid decline and embarrassment of Britpop in hindsight.
The end of the scene is covered in nauseating detail as the tabloid overexposure of the tedious Cocaine-addled Gallagher brothers and the disgraceful behaviour of Chris Evans and his "New Lad" following help the whole thing turn sour. The ending is particularly bleak as Harris suggests that rather as a reaction to US grunge following Kurt Cobain's death (as it was intended) Britpop actually helped encourage American Rock in the long term. Seven years later and American Nu Metal, US Skate Punk and American inspired Emo bands rule the pages of (what is left of) the music press. At the end London is just another grey city and Tony Blair is just another politician who has let down his voters. Most of the bands have long since split up and none of the survivors enjoy anywhere near the same levels of success and prestige as they once had. Britpop is long dead and is now remembered as a slightly embarrassing moment of madness. How could it have ended any other way?
One minor critism of the book is that it tends to enjoy focusing on the negative aspects of the scene more than the positives. The book does highlight that a lot of the characters in the Britpop scene were not very intelligent or progressive. The whole scene was extremely masculine and unglamourous, with only Pulp (or occasionally a few members of Blur) showing much wit, class or sophistication. If Oasis are your favourite band you'll probably be offended by this book. You have to remember that although Britpop was fun and colourful at times it was also a time where everyone looked to the past for inspiration. It had little chance for the future and it would be naive to expect otherwise. I can remember feeling relieved when Britpop finally finished.
To sum up: this is a very detailed and informative book about the Britpop years in the mid 1990's. I would highly recommend to any music fan or anyone interested in 1990's popular culture.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first book on a lost music scene., 3 July 2003
At last a book about the 90s music scene known as 'Britpop'. Harris cleaverly intertwines the music scene and the rise of New Labour. The book begins with Suede (the band who arguably started the britpop ball rolling) and takes all the way through Elastica, Blur, Pulp, Oasis and wannabes such as the ill fated Menswear. As the book continues we see how british fashion, art and culutre in general had changed and was marketed to be 'cool' and it was no suprise then that Alistar Campbell helped market the term 'cool Britannia' and link it to New Labour. An interesting read which Im sure will be the first of many on this particular subject, but what I enjoyed the most was being reminded of some great albums that were released between 1994-1997. It really was a great few years to be a music fan. So if you have an interest in Britpop and rock music in general I reccomend this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable., 10 Aug. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock (Paperback)
John Harris on the subject of Britpop is a dream combination. While effortlessly contextualising the phenomenon of Britpop, getting great material out of the major players, evoking the memory of those halycon years with perfectly placed details of what we were wearing, drinking, thinking, listening to, he is also a natural story-teller. The love story (Brett/Justine/Damon), the arrival of the boys from Burnage, the shift from hope and self-belief to drug-induced paranoia and disappointment is realised with the brilliance of a great novelist. And with Blair's steady rise to power playing out in parallel to the the rock-soap-opera, the book becomes the essential document of a decade that began with hope and ended in cocaine-addled cynicism. Top stuff.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Account of Britpop Years, 17 Jun. 2003
By 
R. Janis "spiritofeden" (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book was something else. At last, a truly objective look at the key figures of mid '90s dominant groups. Sure, with time and distance, it's easy to criticize the once mighty Gallagher Bros., but it's hugely astonishing how the Oasis machine bullied and intimidated everyone around them and had the media in their collective pocket (how else to explain the sub-standard "Be Here Now" receiving nearly unanimous praise upon its release?). Add to that the Gallaghers' (Liam in particular) appalling behavior in numerous recollections and you've got a great read on your hands! It doesn't matter if you love the bands (Oasis from '94-'96, Pulp)or hate them (never liked Blur), this book is essential. Don't pass it by.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it!, 12 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock (Paperback)
So engrossing. Harris captures the the turbulence of the epoch, British artist's opposition to the Americanisation of the UK music scene, the surreal highs and lows of the Britpop years and the politicians who exploited a cultural phenomena.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock, 28 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock (Paperback)
Bought from a wish list of a relative who was really pleased with The Last Party, good read and would recommend.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Copy, 30 Dec. 2010
This review is from: The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock (Paperback)
Amazon recomment "Britpop-Cool Britiania" as a purchase with this but don't be fooled it is the same book just a revised publisher. It caused me to sent what is a duplicate book to the same person as a Christmas gift.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The defining book of an era, 3 July 2007
By 
D. Evans "dantheman95" (Southport) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock (Paperback)
The early 1990s was something of a low period for rock and indie music in the UK. The so called Madchester era had come and gone and the music scene was dominated by the American grunge bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam. The British indie scene meanwhile was represented by acts now largely forgotten, such as Carter USM, The Wonderstuff and The Levellers. Clearly change was needed and in 1994 the emergence of bands such as Blur, Suede, Oasis and Pulp, signalled that change and the arrival of what would become known as Britpop. Whereas in the past indie bands operated to the left of the mainstream, now they were taking certain stage. During this period Oasis held the largest ever concert in mainland Britain and their rivalry with Blur even made the news. Something unthinkable just a few years previously. John Harris's excellent book covers the golden years of this period 1994/1995 and its sudden decline in 1997 when numerous second rate bands emerged under the Britpop banner. He also considers the key albums released during the period, the bands and singers of the past which influenced the scene and the impact that the Labour party's return to power after 18 years of Conservative rule, had on the bands of the era. This book will suely go down as the defining book of an era.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Memorable moments but fundamentally flawed, 5 Aug. 2004
This review is from: The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock (Paperback)
A well written romp through the Britpop years, this is a great nostalgic read for those of us who turned 30 around the same time as Noel and Damon in the mid 90s.
But Hammer of the Gods it ain't. ...
Harris's elegant rehash of received critical wisdom from the pages of Q and NME (in particular David Cavanagh and Stuart Maconies' writings on Creation and Blur) may make for an entertaining read, but ultimately is fundamentally flawed.
Although well researched (I had heard years ago from a North London flatmate about Brett Anderson living with the Mennonites but until I saw this in print, never quite believed him,) Harris lacks genuine perspective and originality.
His narrow obsession with the blur/elastica/suede triangle trips him up more than once into a pedantic "being harder on Oasis than Blur" bias. Given that Noel Gallagher is eloquent enough to defend himself even within this author's cuttings, this won't necessarily spoil anyone's enjoyment.
Ultimately however, the book's biggest weakness is failing to do what it says on the cover - whilst acknowledging the early 90s Madchester phenomenon, the lack of any further historical context on record and export sales figures for British Bands means that it fails to fully chart the 'demise of English rock.'
Likewise, the focus on the guitar milieu means that the book also fails to fully convey the sheer 'anti-Tory vibe' of 90s popular culture. Random cursory mentions aside, there is precious little acknowledgment of how deeply the (justified) political scepticism of programmes like the Day Today and Drop the Dead Donkey and HIGNFY embedded itself in the national consciousness. The parallel successes of rave culture in forging a more diverse inclusive vibe and its interaction with Britpop via festivals and the likes of Massive Attack and Talvin Singh, are also wholly ignored.
Without this context, Harris's eye for detail is insufficient to fully convey the spirit of the period about which he writes. He is also weak on racial politics - the partly British Asian heritage of Cornershop and Echobelly would have seemed like a dream to anyone growing up in the 1980s and yet, amidst his clichéd reminiscence of student union politics, (Mandela bars and the like,) Harris fails to acknowledge this type of progress - which was just as visible amongst northern/working class band members as among southern artschool types.
It is typical of the book that whilst referring to it in passing, Harris fails to appreciate the political significance of the War Child album released in mid-1995 - featuring the likes of Pavarotti, U2, Weller and McCartney as well as various Britpop collectives, not to mention dragging the Stone Roses away from their 4 year 'second album' break - to raise money for victims of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.
The album, coming so shortly after the Srebrenica massacre and a groundswell of global anger at the one-sided UN arms embargo enforced by the likes of Douglas Hurd, to the detriment of the multi-faith Bosnian government in Sarajevo, was almost as much a political statement as the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971. Given Blair's penchant for armed intervention ever since, even when not so universally popular, one wonders about the album's longer term political influence?
Significantly for readers of this book, despite enthusing about Warchild's importance in raising awareness amongst "the indie kids of England", Brett Anderson's choice of track for the album - Shipbuilding - Costello's brilliant anti-Falklands war hymn - was in a way a handy metaphor for his career.
By choosing a pacifist piece about a maritime war for citizens of a landlocked country desperate to defend itself against ethnic cleansers, Suede magnificently missed the point.
But then as a wise man once said, "Please don't put your life in the hands of a rock and roll band, they'll only throw it away." And of course, the same goes for politicians.
Niaz Alam August 2004
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock
The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock by John Harris (Paperback - 26 Feb. 2010)
£14.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews