Faster Than A Cannonball: 1995 and All That

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Faster Than A Cannonball: 1995 and All That

Faster Than A Cannonball: 1995 and All That

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Additionally I don't think the overall view of the book was balanced, it is heavily focused around the interviews from the main cultural players of the 1990's and as a result it is a biased overview, the book would have benefited from some interviews with those who were not so successful. There was an attempt at a critical evaluation towards the end of the book but it was a case of too little, too late in what was otherwise a one sided view. I’m glad he had a wonderful time, but even as someone who was twenty-one then (and whose retrospective essay about 1995 is quoted in the foreword), I grew weary of being told what bliss it was in that dawn to be alive. by Black Grape, Exit Planet Dust by the Chemical Brothers, I Should Coco by Supergrass, Elastica by Elastica, Pure Phase by Spiritualized, … I Care Because You Do by Aphex Twin and of course (What’s the Story) Morning Glory by Oasis, the most iconic album of the decade.

In the 1980s, he was one of the first editors of i-D, before becoming a Contributing Editor of The Face and Editor of Arena. Jones ostensibly focuses on 1995 – each month is given its own chapter, and a different theme is examined in each of these – but a full third of the book covers the periods either side of that annus mirabilis and a great deal of backstory is crammed into the book too. And that also doesn't go into how aggressively everyone is wanking off about how amazing they all were, including the author! I turned 11 in 1995, so it's safe to say this book filled in the cultural context to the things I started devouring around this time. Faster Than a Cannonball lacks the polyphonic vitality of the best oral histories, leaning too hard on long quotes from big names, including Noel Gallagher, Damien Hirst and Tony Blair.The books featured on this site are aimed primarily at readers aged 13 or above and therefore you must be 13 years or over to sign up to our newsletter. In a book that was partially centred around the Britpop cultural movement there was a very heavy bias towards Oasis with comparatively little mention of Blur, most likely this was due to Alan McGee and Noel Gallagher being two of the main interviewees featuring in the book. As it was focusing on multiple areas of British 1990's culture I would have liked it to have included a section on the 1990's UK comedy scene as I think that was an important part of culture in the UK at that time and it had hit it's peak in 1995 as a result of experiencing an overhaul in the late 80's and early 90's with the rise of the alternative comedy scene. However, it becomes boring and repetitive real quick and everyone is like chatting about how the 90s was wonderful and constant comparison to the 60s. You will read more here about David Bailey and Michael Caine than Goldie and Tricky; the Beatles loom larger than club culture.

Decades tend to crest halfway through, and 1995 was the year of the peak Britpop (Oasis v Blur), peak YBA (Tracey Emin's tent), peak New Lad (when Nick Hornby published High Fidelity, when James Brown's Loaded detonated the publishing industry, and when pubs were finally allowed to stay open on a Sunday). It was the year of The Bends, the year Danny Boyle started filming Trainspotting, the year Richey Edwards went missing, the year Alex Garland wrote The Beach, the year Blair changed Clause IV after a controversial vote at the Labour Conference. Whole chapters are devoted to such you-had-to-be-there ephemera as men’s magazines and the easy-listening revival, and no fewer than four to facets of Britpop. There's before and after and the 12 months of 1995 encapsulated through different areas and trends of the year that came to define the decade.The pre-internet Sodom and Gomorrah in which the tabloids began to understand the power of celebrity news before turning it into a culture. As Jarvis Cocker sings in ‘Sorted for E’s and Wizz’, Pulp’s anthem for disillusioned hedonists, ‘Makes you wonder what it meant.

No retrospective critique of boosterism is more revealing than this 1997 prediction in Wired magazine: ‘We’re facing twenty-five years of prosperity, freedom, and a better environment for the whole world. Each chapter starts with a few bullet points about what happened in that month, but then you get like an interview style breakdown focusing solely on one thing.New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author Dylan Jones has written or edited over twenty books. It wasn't for me but that's not to say it won't be enjoyed by others, give it a go if you enjoy this kind of book and have an interest in 1990's culture. As Brooke-Smith observes, it was the ‘mini epoch’ before the mid-1990s economic boom that gave us rave, grunge, Britpop, the YBAs, the supermodels and the indie cinema revolution. It's enthralling but sometimes repetitive and I felt very much lost in the easy listening chapter as it meant next to nothing to me in a book that is altogether London centric. In former GQ editor Dylan Jones’s oral history Faster Than a Cannonball, Nick Hornby describes the Nineties as ‘the last time the [UK] was happy’, while Noel Gallagher mourns it as ‘the last great decade where we were free, because the internet had not enslaved us all’.

Cinema inspires the book’s most delightfully surprising connections, with Brooke-Smith finding links between globalisation and Wong Kar-wai, between Francis Fukuyama and Point Break. Faster Than a Cannonball is a cultural swipe of the decade from loungecore to the rise of New Labour, teasing all the relevant artistic strands through interviews with all the major protagonists and exhaustive re-evaluations of the important records of the year - The Bends by Radiohead, Grand Prix by Teenage Fanclub, Maxinquaye by Tricky, Different Class by Pulp, The Great Escape by Blur, It's Great When You're Straight. The collapse of the Berlin Wall and the attacks on the World Trade Center, the two events that bookend the 1990s, give an illusion of coherence to a chaotic and paradoxical decade.For anyone interested in what the Nineties signified beyond the M25, Brooke-Smith’s attempt to sum up the ‘pre-post-everything decade’ is refreshingly ambitious. He spent the next decade working in newspapers - principally the Observer and the Sunday Times - before embarking on a multi-award-winning tenure at GQ. It was certainly a time of peace and prosperity, and fun, when lunches lasted for days and Britain, particularly London, led the world.



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