Why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh didn’t I get tickets??????????
A new series including all the women I find inspirational and just so fucking cool. Starting with Beth here, who I discovered somehow, through Instagram, I think. I know she’s mates with SoKo the cat, who I was following first, although a bit annoying in the aspect she’s addicted to Instagram and posts-all-the-god-damn-time, whereas Beth is the cooler, Brit-side sister.
Despite being critically acclaimed a few years ago by much of the UK press (including NME and the guardian) and appearing on Later with Jools Holland Beth didn’t seem to go on to achieve the well-known status which I think she deserved. Nevertheless she still seems to be enjoying herself through Instagram posts, (including a selfie with Selma Blair who she apparently shot a movie with last year) and is recording new music right now.
Every now and then, I stumble upon past treasures that have been hidden under the layers of time. Lately, I discovered Justine Frischmann’s name, in a Guardian interview with Damon Albarn.
I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up in the 90’s but something about the decade conjures up a cringey feeling for me; setting the rise of grunge aside, dare I mention the whole Oasis VS Blur rivalry, John Major, the Spice Girls and the new feminism, Peter Andre, the fashion…. *shudders*
But it seems Justine, and her band Elastica, must have missed my young radar at the time. When I think of women of the nineties I think Courtney Love, Gwen Stefani, Janet Jackson… riot grrls and tomboy style, whilst still pulling off red lipstick.
And then there’s Justine…
Having dated Brett Anderson and founded what would later be a hugely popular band called Suede, which she then left in the early 90’s to start a new band called Elastica. With help from a Radio 1 DJ, and her relationship with singer of Blur, Damon Albarn, Elastica became the fastest selling British debut in history, and was also nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 1995.
Justine was a female the 90s embraced, not vice versa. She had a cool confidence that didn’t ask for attention or show off. For a decade that arguably gave feminism it’s rebirth after the 60’s burn-your-bras lash-out to a constrictive society , to the 90s ‘girl power’ mini skirt midriff explosion; Justine mostly wore black, boyish clothes and didn’t need those previous cliché’s to show she was equal to her male competitors, whilst treading on their record sales.
She had parts of a ‘ladette’ personality in the way she speaks, swearing and ignoring any ladylike etiquette, she didn’t wear make up and had greasy hair but was still seen as sexy:
In response to Liam Gallagher’s “I wouldn’t kick that Justine out of bed”, in midst of the noisy Blur and Oasis spats she was quoted:
“What a sad cunt. I mean, I’d think he was being ironic if he wasn’t so fucking thick!”
And on her short hair? “I had long hair for years. Then I split with a boyfriend and cut it all off. It was a liberating thing’ cause he really loved my long hair.”
Surely this would have deterred men, but it didn’t.
Elastica’s music is alternative rock singed by britpop, with no songs over 4 minutes. Justine claimed she had always liked humor in music, which explains some of her rude lyrics (eg. Vaseline, Your Arse My Place) and her departure from Suede and their “long and indulgent…no fun” anthems. (Smith, A. 2002. Elastica Limits)
Eventually, after the exhaustive touring in the US, tensions grew in Elastica; bassist Annie Holland accused Justine of being “not human”, whilst guitarist Donna Matthews and drummer Justin Welch fell out bitterly from becoming romantically involved with one another, with Justine doing much of the cleaning up.
Then rumors began to circulate Elastica were getting mixed up in heroin, which Justine admits later was true, whereas Damon Albarn, although shamelessly blatant in some Blur lyrics, has never openly reflected upon this particular period of his life with Justine.
After the end of the 90s, it was released to also be the end for Elastica. The movement and hype of the decade had also moved on, like all decades seem to, as if they all have a time limit and an expiry, a life cycle, to reflect the culture and lifestyle of that era, to then move on to the next.
Which in effect causes as previously mentioned; a layering of different times, on top of one another, concealing different faces and their life’s once famously known, hiding in particular here, musical gems.
After the confirmation of Elastica’s retirement there is little news of Justine’s presence in music. The last piece of news released about Justine is about her visual art exhibit in America, where she moved to after the 90s and her split with Albarn, she later met and married her teacher, a science University professor.
After years of hearing the song ‘Tender’ by Blur and now discovering Justine, this has led me to uncover a whole new light to the song as Albarn had written it after their split, which has made it increasingly more poignant for me – a girl who usually turns her nose up to 90 indie bands such as Blur.
Instead of formerly thinking of it as a crowd-pleaser song, it now evokes new feelings for me when I listen to it; some of heart ache and vulnerability, but mostly of a new chapter in life, from not looking back and finding peace. It’s as though the song has quietly opened up and revealed it’s depth, something, surprisingly, I never expected a Blur song to do to me. And something I had never expected to come from the 90s…
The film industry in England has never really been a certain thing.
The concept of what a British film is or was…is debatable.
Statements I can remember from A-Level Media Studies had many ideas on what it should and should not be…”A British film has all British actors”…Was James Bond a British Film? Not exactly…”A British film needs to portray life in Britiain”…Can you think of 5 films that does this? Does Bridget Jones count? Or is that just the same portrayal for every lonely woman…(whoa let’s not get into this one)… “A British film can only be truly British when all funds and producers are British…Hmm well I can’t comment on that too much…
Confusion set aside, the UK does hold many national organisations supporting and promoting this scene…
British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) , British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) , British Film Institute (BFI) , Film Agency For Wales , Northern Ireland Screen ….
There is more, of course, but this morning news broke about the abolishment of the UK Film Council. Not a film maker myself, I asked first…what does this mean to British Film?
The UK Film council not only promotes British films and Britain as a film-making location to the rest of the world, but contributes to our economy.
Budding filmmakers, directors, writers and anyone else who yearns to work in this film industry can be trained and educated through funding from the UK Film Council.
Film festivals are also funded, marketing for British movies are supported, including regional film agencies, all by the UK Film Council.
Flicking through news stories today there seems to be no logical, or in fact any reason at all for the removal of this council, accompanied by Jeremy Hunt’s airless comment; “The changes I have proposed today would help us deliver fantastic culture, media and sport, while ensuring value for money for the public and transparency about where taxpayers’ money is spent.”
What does that mean?!
Just a month or so ago, it was also announced the British Film Institute gracefully accepted a 45m cut of funding from the government, saying they had anticipated the loss.
Obviously, we are suffering for the recession and have been told continuously about tough times ahead.
But has the film industry taken an aimless punch by a hastily structured coalition government?
Especially after the UK Film Council has had its best year in its short run, with no lead of who or what may take over its work.
Excuse me for being dramatic but… is this the beginning of end for the British Film Industry? With it’s foundations crumbling, will the lottery still pump life into this falling art? Will England go back to its blandish personality, only being known for its apparent high brow accent and sipping tea?
Oh God let’s seriously hope not.