‘Spillyear 1997

1997: a British electoral triumph

So, last week was fun. Here’s a recap of the very simple instructions:

Pick 3 songs from the year in question. Add them as YouTube links to the collaborative playlist if you can – it’s very easy. Say stuff in the comments.

As there’s apparently some sort of election on this week, we’re going back to the last time a Tory government got a good kicking: 1997.

So how did you feel when Tony Blair got elected? Where were you when Diana died? Did you imagine, in the euphoria of Katrina and the Waves’ victory, that the UK would never win Eurovision again? And, mostly importantly, what were you listening to?

Listen to the playlist here:


And add your own songs to it here:


83 thoughts on “‘Spillyear 1997

  1. My top 3:

    Belle & Sebastian – Lazy Line Painter Jane
    Nick Cave – Into My Arms
    Spiritualized – Think I’m In Love

    To answer my own questions:
    – I spent the first half of the year in Australia, so voted in my first general election by proxy, but remember being quite excited about it.
    – I found out about the death of Diana via the information screens at Salisbury train station, on my way to London to watch Waiting for Godot.
    – Actually, I don’t really give a crap about Eurovision.

    This was also the year I started uni. I remember thinking hard about the first record I’d play in my room, as this seemed very important, but can’t remember for sure what it was. Possibly Tindersticks’ Curtains, which was released that year.

    • dond for Spiritualized. (and i was looking at the Sticks.)

      I’m off to work so only had a quick scan of the albums so far. There are some that are going to be snapped up by others – which is all good, as there are plenty i’m sure will be leftovers for me. (Oasis is another U2 for me – would be surprised if i’m not the only one who considers them contenders).

      Very tail end of the grungers, LA punks, and old school hip hoppers, so still a bit of an off year for me.

    • I remember the Tindersticks album being very important that year to me too. Will go and ponder πŸ™‚

  2. Oh good, we ARE going to be random!

    Back later – I’m the musicians’ taxi again – but one immediate thought:

    Shane? Shall we do an extra Top 3 picks each, just from THAT Vox cover mount CD?

      • Mmnpff! It’ll have to wait though. Got back from dropping Jess at [brass] band practice, Julie was dealing with Darce, so I sat down in the lounge and thought:
        “I wonder if the football’s …zzzzzzzzz”
        The next thing I know I’m getting kicked to wake up and go pick up Jess again.
        As I’ve got three shifts to work in the next two days, I think I’m off to bed as soon as we get in!
        G’night all.

  3. On Sunday August 31st 1997, I woke up at 4 am with the radio on low. The world Service informed me that Dodi had been killed but that Diana was not seriously injured and had walked to the ambulance. “Oh dear” I thought and went back to sleep.
    I woke up again at 5 am and the news bulletin informed me that they both been killed outright. “That can’t be right” I thought and went back to sleep again.
    I never worked out what that first bulletin was all about but it makes yer think dunnit?

  4. 1997, OK.

    Looking through my CD spreadsheet, I find that I own quite a few really good 1997 albums, but I know that there are some great ones that I wasn’t actually listening to back then, such as Mogwai’s Young Team, Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Fβ™― Aβ™― ∞ and Coma Divine by Porcupine Tree. There is also Dylan’s Time Out of Mind which I got for Christmas, so I can’t claim that one either.

    So, what was I enjoying in 1997?

    Firstly, a lot of bluesy guitar music, as represented by Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s Trouble Is …. and Jonny Lang’s Lie To Me, then a bit of hardcore from Henry Rollin’s on the Come In And Burn album, stadium rock with Aerosmith’s Nine Lives and whacked-out stuff like Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space and some big beat from The Chemical Brothers’ Dig Your Own Hole.

    So what to choose? I think it will be;

    The Chemical Brothers – “Setting Sun”
    Spiritualized – “Come Together”
    Kenny Wayne Shepherd – “Slow Ride”

    As for the events of the year, I was amazed and overjoyed that we finally had a Labour government, shame how Blair turned out once he’d teamed up with Bush Jr, though.

    The Diana thing never really affected me, sad for her and her sons, but I’m not interested in the royals because I am a republican. I hated the whole public mourning thing, though because it was so bizarre. How can you get that wound up over someone you never knew?

    Eurovision – no thanks.

    • I saw Dylan live for the first time in autumn ’97, in the BIC in Bournemouth, a venue with all the atmosphere of Pluto. He was OK. Time Out Of Mind is a great album though.

      (By the way, nobody has to pretend to be interested in Eurovision – that was really just a joke. It was a slow news year.)

      • I saw Dylan around that time too, at what is now called the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. I was pretty good, but not great.

        I was also listening to OK, Computer in 1997 but I thought that I’d leave Radiohead out this week.

    • WOW! I’ve just discovered my copy of Aerosmith’s Nine Lives CD is still sealed in its cellophane wrapper!!

  5. This is impossible, so I will go with first 3 tracks that spring to mind.
    ‘Your Woman’ won me a lot of money, I made two bets that it would go in straight at number one, long before it’s release – it did. (one of only two ‘real’ bets I’ve ever made in my life, Esha Ness winning the Grand National in ’93 being the other).

    Your Woman White Town
    Come Out 2Nite Kenickie
    Sweeping The Nation Spearmint

    I was listening to dance pop big beat mostly – Dig your own hole, Daft Punk, Black Grape, Fatboy Slim and anything on Skint, GusGus ‘Polydistortion’ was the first 4AD album in an age that I loved introducing vocals by Emiliana Torrini to me – Spiritualizedd, American Analog Set and Over The Rhine’s Besides were the introverted listening space.
    Best of all was Kylie’s Impossible Princess accidentally killing a royal with her change of direction – I loved it.

    • To answer your questions:
      – I dragged people out to vote in 97 – the idea of the Tory’s continuing to abuse people made my blood boil – the fact that Blair destroyed the concept of; a vague idea; a hope – of honesty in political parties that (leant to the left) and created the idea that it was just ‘winning’ that mattered NOT socialist principles – or any principles… still grates to this day. Champagne socialists couldn’t have been better worded. Vote SANE, it’s the only answer.
      – I found out about the death of Diana via the informal medium of pub jokes (“last thing on the limo radio….” “Died In A Nasty Accident” “dead as a Dodi” etc etc
      I detest the fact that the ruling classes still lord it over the rest of humanity (from ancient illegal land grabs and vicious bullying) so the top of that muck pile is Royalty and their clique – but any untimely death is a horrible experience for the family, so I don’t celebrate that, the public mourning was a weird TV show; I didn’t actually know anyone that gave a shit one way or another.
      – Eurovision… when are Belle and Sebastian on?

      • I lived next door to a 2nd record shop at the time – CDs were regularly cashed in (for beer money) by skint students, so I got the Rough Trade compilations at mates rates by the owner – i.e. he knew no one else was going to buy them so I got them cheap. A 1997 one had Sweeping the Nation on it , so I searched out the single; then some albums etc etc etc

    • Hang on! Wasn’t Esha Ness the first past the post in the abandoned National? Did you get a payout on that?

      • yes – NO!
        That finished my horse racing betting career…. my granddad used to sit me infant of World of Sport on a Saturday, give me a handful of Β£1 of bronze coins and gradually bankrupt me by the time final results came on. It was a good lesson.

  6. I remember my husband going off to work after Diana died only to find it shut because we were all supposed to be in mourning. We were – and still are – mystified by the public reaction.
    So leaving aside Tindersticks, the significant songs to me were
    Strangelove’s Freak, Breathe by TheProdigy and I can’t decide on another one, will be back.

  7. This is far more difficult than you’d expect.

    After a little research I was listening to:

    Foo Fighters – Monkey Wrench
    Savage Garden – Truly, Madly, Deeply
    Shania Twain – You’re Still The One

    I do however remember where I was when I heard about Diana’s death, we were on a family camping holiday in the South of France and the campsite put a handwritten note on an easel to inform everyone. Still recall the shock but fortunately missed the great public outpouring of grief, very strange how much it affected people.

    Remember Katrina and the Waves but thought that’ll be the end of any commercial success they’ll have.

  8. In 1997 I was trying to move from Bristol to Yorkshire with my then boyfriend. My house was for sale and we spent every weekend house-hunting 200 miles up country, it was very tiring as we were both working full time and doing a degree. We visited the house I now own; the vendors’ dog ran in to the front room with a mouse and Mrs Vendor leapt onto a chair screaming. I caught the mouse in a wellington boot and that was when I decided that this was “the” house! We went to the pub at the end of the road to talk about it and it was all subdued lighting and depressing pan pipes playing “Candle in the Wind” – we thought someone had died – well, they had, but we’d been away and not seen the news or heard about Diana. (It’s still a terrible pub which is unfortunate, as it’s the nearest one). I got a job in Leeds in November but didn’t sell my house till February 1998, so I was staying with in-laws during the week and going back to Bristol at weekends, my ex was working in Bristol but then got a job in Liverpool … nightmare.

    I heard about John Major’s defeat while sitting outside a quayside pub in Bristol, with my friend Marion. Someone from Radio Bristol told us about it and asked us what we thought – we both cheered, so somewhere in the radio archives is a tape of me and Marion cheering the Tories’ defeat.

    Can’t believe how long ago it was. Since then I’ve graduated, been married and divorced, had three pregnancies and one child, become a step-grandmother and taken early retirement.

    Eurovision – nah.

    Right, music:

    Bands I thought of were Massive Attack, Hootie and the Blowfish and Beck, but they didn’t release anything in 1997. My ex liked Metallica, QOTSA and Mahler.

    Radiohead “OK Computer” was my favourite album, probably still is. I could whistle it note for note in the bath, at one point.

    Portishead “Portishead” was one my brother bought me, because of the Bristol connection, but I liked it in spite of that.

    And Eliza Carthy – “EC and the Kings of Calicutt” – haunting track “Fisher Boy”.

  9. I’m still trying to work out what was released in 2000.

    The election – I got a bit caught up in the moment, and was quite excited even though I already distrusted Blair. I’d actually voted Lib Dem on the basis that I agreed with a lot of their policies, whereas Blair and co didn’t actually seem to have divulged a single policy. It was nice to see the Tories out of office for the first time in my adult life.

    Diana – I woke up on the Sunday hungover and in a bad mood because I hadn’t pulled again. My housemate came in and said “Have you heard the news” which for someone like me who is constantly anxious about the end of life as we know it is always a worrying start to a conversation. He told me Diana had died. It took me a few seconds to register who he meant, and then I said “We won’t hear about anything else for the rest of the week…” and went to bed. And I was right.
    I listened to a radio phone in that evening. One angry woman put he blame squarely on Prince Charles shoulders as he had been unfaithful, and otherwise she wouldn’t have been in the car. One brave caller suggested that maybe there were other things going on in the world that were important. The host wouldn’t allow that and told her that it was “the news story of the century”.

    Eurovision – can’t remember anything about that sorry.

    I’ll get back to you with a top 3, compromised by that fact that several of my favourites from that year aren’t on youtube.

  10. This was a year of anticipation and preoccupation with my 1st son born in the July, but there was more here for me than 2000 :

    Modus Operandi – Photek
    Hi Potent – Roni Size & Reprezent
    You Can Do It Baby – Nuyorican Soul w/George Benson

  11. “Feelings, nothing more than feelings …”

    Blair elected – jubiliant and can remember the Friday being the sunniest day … who’d have thought then that he would become Dubya’s god-bothering poodle.
    Diana death – waking up with my month old son and putting on the telly at 6 in the morning to see Peter Sissons in black tie and not having a scooby what was occurring.

  12. Some good uns for albums that year going by the lists. OK Computer, Brighten the Corners, Urban Hymns, Songs from Northern Britain. Don’t think i remember knowing any of those at the time though, i had moved back to NYC from California and had left physics and picked up photography, so probably what i was doing was living and breathing photography as i tried to learn it.

    Spoiled rotten for tunes though from those albums and others, dunno what to pick.

    Radiohead – Karma Police
    Pavement – Stereo, Shady Lane, Date With Ikea
    Verve – Lucky Man, Sonnet, Bittersweet Symphony
    Teenage Fanclub – Ain’t That Enough
    NIN – Closer

    two singles – one of which i didn’t know till a few years ago

    Hanson – Mmmbop

    and one which it seemed we couldn’t get away from here.

    Chumbawumba – Tubthumping

    I’ll decide tommorow, i guess.

    • I was thinking about NIN too, I thought Closer was earlier than 97, I remember being deeply excited about The Perfect Drug
      single and hoped it was the new direction, also the video is a lovely gothic confection, Trent looking like Gay Oldman’ Dracula and black veils everywhere. In fact I’m making that my third choice.

    • Tubthumping was played at every student party/club night. So were the The Verve – my house mate played them constantly.

      Mmmbop is a great pop song.

      • Bittersweet Symphony was all over the place here, don’t remember the other two tunes here though, and i probably like them even better. Bittersweet was used for an ubiquitious Nike commercial here, which probably had a lot to do with it. Shame they had to give all of that money back for ripping off the Stones via the London Symphony Orchestra (or something liek that.)

  13. Bumper crop of tunes that year:

    Bunnymen – Nothing Lasts Forever
    Elliott Smith – Between The Bars
    Underworld – Pearl’s Girl

    Picking 30 would have been easy.

  14. 3 from me.

    mansun – wide open space
    placebo – slackerbitch
    the pastels – the viaduct

    if not these then options would be: no surprises, lucky from OK computer
    spiritualized – i think i’m in love (as picked barbryn)
    charlatans – north country boy

  15. Hm, I think I’ll opt for:

    Blur: Song 2
    Bjork: Bachelorette
    Cornershop: Brimful of Asha

    Honourable mentions: The Prodigy’s Breathe and Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn.

  16. Great idea! – Pity I missed the last one.

    Off the top of my head, without thinking too much or looking anything up:

    Spiritualized – All of My Thoughts (from my favourite album of the 90s!!)
    Mogwai – Fear Satan
    Belle and Sebastian – The State I Am In

    • Oh yes, massive donds for The Sundays. And for James – I remember listening to that album while on a 50-hour train trip down the east coast of Australia.

      • Had to kind of post that in a hurry while rushing out the door.

        Always seemed to love bands that sounded like the Smiths more than the Smiths themselves. (No massive Morrissey-sized egos perhaps?) James was one of the finest. Post-grunge rock radio in 1997 seemed to be inching towards nΓΌ metal and identikit bands of angry looking tattooed bald-blokes, but here was something out of left field.

        Harriet Wheeler has one of those magical voices that could read an ISIS press release and make it sound sweet and romantic. A great comeback hit that showed they still had it.

        Collective Soul’s first four CDs are filled with great guitar rock packed with more hooks than a fully stocked tackle box. Despite their obvious glam influences – especially T Rex and Bowie – they’ve never had much success in Blighty.

      • ditto! (hiya SHA). And one for your Song 2 as well, though i don’t really remember Blur being really known here at the time. Even now, the Gorillaz are probably better known.

  17. I don’t usually pass by these parts these days. Lucky I did today since this is a subject with a good few memories.
    1997 was a significant year for me for a couple of reasons but we’ll take the three suggested topics in chronological order.
    First, Tony Blair and the Labour election victory. As with all elections since 1983 (and as I intend to do tomorrow night) I stayed up into the small hours – until dawn actually – watching the results come in. I was still up for Portillo, as the saying goes. I was exultant. Somewhere in his archives, my Dad has a printout of the email I sent him that night rejoicing in the election of Blair, although to my credit I also prophesied correctly that we would be cursing him in a couple of years.
    Many of us were taken in weren’t we? Even in the rock world. As is well known (well by me and Darceysdad anyway)Thunder are a pretty left wing group and on their album ‘The Thrill Of It All’ they recorded:-

    ‘Welcome To The Party’.

    A sample lyric…

    Welcome to the party, there’s a new kid in town
    Looking like a million, gonna bring your burden down
    And he’s talking about love, stamping out hate
    He’s gonna fight for the welfare state
    He’s got a vision of a better day
    Rip up the past and throw it all away

    Oh dear….

    Eurovision was just 2 days later. I’ve always been a bit of a fan and I would usually have watched it but I didn’t that year because I went to a party at a friend’s house in Bury. You may wonder how I could be so sure of such dates. Well, it was at that party on May 3rd that I first met the lady known on these blogs as frauimmel. We clicked immediately and have been an item these last 18 years. A band we went to watch in the early days were:

    The Levellers

    So why not listen again to their 1997 single ‘What A Beautiful Day’

    We awoke on Sunday 1st September thinking about the fact that we were to visit my Mum and Dad that day for them to meet frauimmel for the first time. I switched on the radio and was puzzled as to why it was playing sombre music. I checked the tuning. What had happened to my rock and pop? Then the news came on and I realised we were in for a tough few days. Nonetheless, we went to visit my parents who liked what they saw in frauimmel and still do (well so far as I know – they haven’t indicated otherwise). It had taken me 4 months to take frauimmel the 25 miles to my parents house because at first we were being a bit informal and tentative and then she went off for a month on a pre-planned trip to USA with her sister. It was whilst she was gone that I realised how much I missed her. I remember saying as much to Darceysdad when we were at the V Festival in Temple Newsam Park, Leeds. Playing at the festival and hence reminding me of that time were:


    So let’s have their ‘Who-Lite’ number ‘In A Room’

    Other albums being listened to extensively bei immel at that time (even if not actually relased that year) , and considered for a mention here were:-
    Stereophonics – Word Gets Around
    Portishead – Dummy
    Oasis – (What’s The Story) Morning Glory
    Skunk Anansie – Stoosh
    The Seahorses – Do It Yourself

    • Oh, and The Verve – Urban Hymns, ofcourse. Absolutely loved ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ since the first listen.

      As others have said, its well nigh impossible to narrow it down to a choise of 3, isn’t it.

  18. There’s a popular but lazy narrative that links Blair and Britpop – all “Cool Britannia” and Noel Gallagher partying in Downing Street with Damian Hirst.

    In reality, by 1997, Britpop was past it. Blur had moved on (and Damon Albarn, to his credit, had turned down Blair’s party invitation). The thoroughly miserable Urban Hymns and OK Computer were the big British albums. Though maybe Be Here Now by Oasis – a colossal disappointment, even to fans, full of bombast and posturing with no substance beneath the surface – makes a suitable monument to Blair.

  19. I’ll pick:
    Dry The Rain – The Beta Band
    Kowalski – Primal Scream
    Blue Hawaiian – Pavement

    I was so desperate to see the back of the fucking Tories after almost 20 years that I’d have been happy to see any old twat elected. Which, unfortunately, is what happened. We got a man with a Messiah complex and all the socialist heart of a brick. Maybe this time it will be better? (No, it won’t.)
    I was infinitely more shocked by the reaction to Diana’s death than the event itself. Yes, a tragic accident(-ish), but not that earth-shattering, surely? She wasn’t this person’s princess.
    I have never been able to watch Eurovision.

  20. I too was excited as all hell when Blair got excited. It all felt so positive and exciting – like things really could only get better… So much for that.

    I heard Diana died after a night out at legendary gay nitespot Duckie. I remember getting up on the Sunday morning, hungover, to get a flight to Barcelona where I was holidaying. I turned on the radio, was briefly shocked, and then thought, “Thank God I’m going to be out of the country for the immediate aftermath.” How right I was.

    I can’t remember a great deal about that Eurovision – or even whether I watched it. One blends into another… although I did think last year’s winner Conchita was more than worthy (in all sorts of ways).

  21. I’ll just also mention that 1997 was the first time I was ever on the internet on a 56k dial up connection, which I’d keep all the way up until 2009.
    Back when the Guardian just another London newspaper.

  22. Shane is right, I’m gonna have a blast with this one.

    Donds already for Mogwai, Chemical Brothers, Mansun, Thunder, The Verve, Collective Soul, Cornershop, The Sundays (something from Static & Silence may well be one of my final three choices), Hanson’s Mmmbop, Blur’s Song 2, and even Tubthumping.

    Alabama 3 and Death In Vegas were my two big non-core-taste discoveries of 1997, but I’m going to do a bit more research before I commit to just three tunes.

    I’ve also got plenty to say on the year, Gordon‘s memories, Diana/Dodi and Eurovision, but it’ll have to wait …

    Trainee just about to finish his theory test, then I’m off home. Hope to get to PC later this eve.

  23. btw barbryn, this is a great challenge. I was thinking about a week before you posted the first one that i missed having one, but i couldn’t think of a good idea and wouldn’t have had the time to maintain it anyway. So thanks.

  24. There were a couple of serious contenders with no youtube clip – Bovver 96 – Daily Gossip & Striknien DC either Two Years (Spineless) or Ghettoblaster. But as they aren’t out there here’s a top 3 in order of my perception of their accessability to the general listener!

    Cock Sparrer – Before The Flame Dies

    Oxymoron – You’re A Bore

    The Wernt – Punishment Beating

    I’m sure you all know them!

    • A few observations/memories as I like to waffle

      Cock Sparrer – I’d only been into them about 3 years and gradually realised that I wasn’t alone. Barely even a footnote to those outside the scene, inside the scene they might as well be the Stones or Led Zep such is the pedestal on which they are placed! This was from their “final” album and was not only a great tune but also felt quite poignant – until a couple of years later they decided to carry on.

      Oxymoron – A lot of the punks I met at the time didn’t seem to have a lot of interest in new bands, but this German band was an exception. In 97 they played their first UK gig in a tiny pub in Nottingham. I got there early, it was almost empty and they were soundchecking and looked pissed off. By the time they came on there were what seemed like 100s of punks rammed into the pub, and people standing on radiators and window sills! I’ve never really been to another gig like it.

      The Wernt – A supergroup! Another band that became pretty popular live in a short space of time, partly because of frontman Wakey’s antics, and partly because they were very good.

      Happy days!

  25. I was thinking a bit more about the 1997 election today. I’m not going to get all party political about it, although I could quite easily, but what struck me is that the huge Labour majority then was probably the turning point for UK politics. In the subsequent election, Labour lost a few seats, but the turnout was below 60%, a shockingly low figure for a UK general election. I think it was the start of people’s disaffection with politics. Blair, despite a huge popular mandate and a majority was proving to be a cautious centrist with little appetite for progressive policies and change.

    The turnout was hardly much better in 2005, a couple of percentage points more, but a big swing against Blair, mainly because of the Iraq War. I’ll admit it was the first time I hadn’t voted Labour and it was for that reason. The war was wrong, as subsequent events have demonstrated.

    Anyway, I ramble.

    I don’t think that we are ever likely to see huge majorities like that 179 in 1997 ever again. In fact, I doubt that we are likely to see single party governments again in my lifetime. The electorate is too fragmented and too cynical. Th prevailing view, which I don’t actually share, is that all politicians are corrupt and lazy and all the same. I have seen some evidence that the public has warmed to Ed Miliband but overall it seems that the leaders of the main parties are not seen in a positive light. It is worrying that a gurning, mendacious demagogue like Farage is seen as being somehow honest and decent.

    I think that we are at a crisis point now and the inevitable hung parliament on May 8th will provoke more public outrage, because the voters don’t seem capable of understanding how parliament works, and always has done. As Gus O’Donnell makes perfectly clear, the largest party does not have the automatic right to form a government if it cannot command the support of the Commons overall. Neither does public opinion count. Once the votes are cast, it is up to the parties to strike pacts and alliances and for a grouping to emerge that can form a government. I am also concerned that so many English voters have such animosity towards the Scots and the SNP. They have every right to be represented at Westminster and to have influence in the UK parliament. The Commons is not an English government, it is for the whole nation, and Scotland is still a part of it.

    Anyway, we are heading for interesting times.

    Apologies for going on and on.

    • I quite like Ed, despite his faux ‘hell, yes!’ etc. But it’s such a pity he’s let the right dictate what he says. ‘Controls on immigration’ and ‘no dealing with the SNP’ are both stupid positions that will bite him in the arse if Labour can put a majority together.
      The biggest thing that’s pissed me off is the total absence of words about climate change. Natalie Bennett muttered something but where’s the bold, brave – yet entirely necessary if our kids and grandkids are to survive on Earth – policy to stop burning fossil fuel and invest in clean energy companies?

      • Yes, he’s been forced to pander to bigotry to try and get the voters on his side. His immigration comments are offensive, but I can see why he’s had to do it.

        The SNP thing is problematic. I can understand saying No Coalition, but he should have said I won’t discuss deals until I know the electoral landscape on May 8th.

        Anyway, we will soon know. I just hope he comes out and says that he will definitely vote against a Tory Queen’s Speech under all circumstances. That puts pressure on the SNP to say that they will support him.

    • They have every right to be represented at Westminster and to have influence in the UK parliament. The Commons is not an English government, it is for the whole nation, and Scotland is still a part of it.

      I abhor the Tories, and I quite like the SNP. I also think the way the right-wing press is trying to scare the electorate is despicable.

      However, I do concede that having a minority Labour government relying on the SNP to pass legislation that only affects England (and sometimes Wales) might be a teensy bit undemocratic. Hilarious, but not entirely fair.

      • In the absence of an English parliament for England, that cannot be helped. Personally, this trend towards separate parliaments for everywhere is worrying, because it fragments the UK, and will eventually lead to its break up.

        I am concerned about giving tax powers away, surely the whole country needs the same rules?

        As you can see, I am not a nationalist.

  26. I realise that it sounds like re-writing my own history but I was never happy about the whole New Labour project. I was happy to see the back of Conservative government after 18 years but I hated the whole idea that Labour had to be “made electable” by Blair. I’m sure John Smith would have won had he lived. Not by such a huge landslide I’m sure but he’d have won.

    Any road up, I wasn’t sure whether to include yet another Spiritualised track in our list. Partly because I tend to think of the album as a whole rather than a collection of individual songs. I’ve done it anyway though so, for better or worse, here are the votes of the Morden jury:

    Vampiric – Adrian Borland
    ELO – Scarfo
    Broken Heart – Spiritualised

    • “I realise that it sounds like re-writing my own history but I was never happy about the whole New Labour project.”
      I know I wasn’t and I seem to remember a bit more scepticism at the time. Kinnock had already shifted Labour towards the centre and maybe even beyond it, Blair pushed it even further. The other thing was that he didn’t appear to stand for anything other than a vague sense of optimism. I don’t even think I was surprised by his support for Bush. Labour governments have generally gone along with US foreign policy, so it didn’t surprise me that Blair did so even more enthusiastically, like the careerist lap dog that he seems to be.
      A right-wing inclined mate of mine at the time told me that he thought that once Blair got into power he’d suddenly reveal his true far left colours. I still chuckle about that occasionally.

  27. OK, ‘new’ albums I spent 1997 listening to, in a decent approximation of no. of plays, from the top:
    Steve Earle – El Corazon. For a l-o-n-g time, this was quoted as one of my all-time Top THREE favourite albums. It would probably struggle to make Top Twenty now.
    Phil Campbell – Fresh New Life. Still firmly in that all-time Top Twenty.
    The Sundays – Static And Silence. One of the loveliest guitar-pop albums ever made.
    Fun Lovin’ Criminals – Come Find Yourself Released 1996, but I was a bit slow on the uptake.
    LΔ«ve – Secret Samadhi. Never cool, but I bloomin’ love albums 2-4. After that they got pretentious and overblown.
    Bill Hicks – Arizona Bay. I had some TV performances on video, this CD, bought on release, was my first album. 3 years after his death, but hey!
    Alabama 3 – Exile On Coldharbour Lane. I’ll come to why in a minute.
    Death In Vegas – Dead Elvis. Ditto, but there’s connections to Gordon & Shane here.
    Stereophonics – Word Gets Around. Still love the last two songs on the album, but my passion for the rest has faded badly.
    Reef – Glow. DsD RR asafaerae Consideration just missed out on selection for my final three picks.
    Veruca Salt – Eight Arms To Hold You. Then I abandoned it/them for ages, until RR helped me rediscover them, and buy more of their back catalogue.

    AC/DC were big on my player in 1997, because of the 5-disc boxset retrospective Bonfire. Others worth a mention include Faith No More‘s Album Of The Year, Roachford‘s Feel, Brad‘s Interiors, as well as common factor LPs like OK Computer & Urban Hymns also got a lot of play, but most of those have fallen off badly since.
    I also bought plenty of rubbish in ’97 – Honeycrack, or Finlay Quaye, anyone?

    But my big music discovery in 1997 was music mag covermount freebies. I had a few up to that point (dunno for sure, but certainly under a dozen), but they suddenly seemed to be everywhere that year. Two in particular absolutely blew me away:

    VOX – The Spring Collection ’97 and
    Q Hello! The Best New Music of 1997.
    Both featured songs from Mansun, Gus Gus, Silver Sun, Eels, Sneaker Pimps, but the VOX one also introduced me to Lamb, Cake, The Roots, as well as the already mentioned Alabama 3 and Death In Vegas. Neither of these holds the record for being responsible for the most subsequent purchases chez DsD [Hmmm. I feel a Spill post coming on…], but I now have something in excess of 400 covermount CDs on my shelves, and pre-RR, they are probably responsible for the biggest expansion in the breadth of music I listen to.

    Anyway, stop prevaricating! 3 tunes only:

    1. Phil Campbell – Evangeline.
    2. Alabama 3 – U Don’t Dans 2 Tekno.
    3. Death In Vegas – Amber.

    And because we’ve arrived at Election Day, I’ll claim a bonus:
    4. Steve Earle – Christmas In Washington.

    The Sundays miss out because you lot have already remembered them. I wanted to say Delerium & Sarah McLachlan – Silence because the album came out in 1997, but my 12″ says 1999!!

    • I’m really confused!! Is it Amber or Rematerialised that I love? I’ve always thought it was Amber, which my iTunes agrees with. But Amazon & YouTube reckon it’s Rematerialised. The right tune is in the playlist anyway.

  28. Re Diana: I was in charge of [shoe retailer] STYLO’s distribution operation at the time, and our week started at 0600hrs on a Sunday morning, to pick replenishments for Saturday’s sales, and restock the stores by Monday. I must’ve had a cassette on in the car on the commute in, because I opened up the building at 0545 in blissful ignorance. However, once I’d cranked up the operation, and my team had got the pickers going, I took my usual walk around the warehouse. It was in an old mill building, several stock floors spread over about four floors. That meant it was individual radios all over the place, with the invariably loud rock to techno to pop to rap radio station mix that you would expect in a warehouse. But I remember thinking that everyone seemed to be in a weird kind of vanilla mood, judging by their musical choices. Eventually, one of the pickers plucked up the courage to ask me for permission to go get a cassette out of his car “’cause all this moody soft shit is doin’ me ‘ead in!” Another approached, and asked if I was going to send everyone home on compassionate leave. After I’d snorted a two-word answer at him, it finally occurred to me that something was up. I called him back and asked why. When he told me, I admit I laughed. I’m a bit ashamed of that now, but only because of what that sort of sudden death does to the immediate families. And that, lest we forget, was families of THREE people killed. They (even the otherwise loathsome Al-Fayed) genuinely do have my sympathies for their loss.
    But the national wailing that followed would have been laughable if it wasn’t so hugely scary. The wild-eyed hysterics of supposedly responsible adults, nationwide, honestly made me queasy. The BBC were the worst offenders. My respect for the Queen actually went up! But let’s not open a monarchy debate. The politics one is bad enough.

  29. Re the politics. In April 1994, Bob Cryer was my MP, John Smith was the next Labour Prime Minister. There was hope in my heart; everything was coming up [red] roses. Six weeks later, both had gone. We all got Dubya’s warmongering lapdog, and to add insult to injury, Bradford South got Gerry Sutcliffe, who was already a well-known Grade-A slimeball from his time on Bradford Council. Ever since, we’ve been living in what they put at the base of the roses, and the only way up’n’out is booby-trapped with thorns, cultivated to keep us away from the light and fragrance.
    The older I get, the more radical AND disillusioned I get. To all the bankers out there, just remember: He who dies with the most toys … still dies!

  30. Three pieces of music:

    The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony (like so many others). I still play this and get a thrill when the first string chords get going.

    Buena Vista Social Club – Chan Chan. I still haven’t seen the Ry Cooder movie, but, again, this gets regular plays.

    Lucinda Williams – Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. My first introduction to Lucinda. Her latest album is a beaut.

    Although I lived overseas, I followed the Blair rise to power avidly, and was delighted when Labour got in. One of the reasons I left the UK was the fact Thatcher ruled over the land. I had difficulty gauging how and when New Labour started to become less appealing, but all became very clear when the anti-Iraq marches hit the streets.

    I came back from work to see the Diana tragedy unfold on the telly. I was appalled by the reaction – the flowers and recriminations and hero(ine) worship. Tacky.

    What’s Eurovision? πŸ˜‰

  31. Ok, so a lot of you made my life easier. Beth covered NIN, Ali covered all of Radiohead, and Tempus committed to the Verve. So my final picks added, maybe unsurprisingly all pretty pop –

    Pavement – Range Life (preobably should have gone Date With Ikea)
    Teenage Fanclub – Ain’t That Enough
    Hanson – Mmmbop

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