Quite what Alex James, Blur’s bassist and thinking woman’s bit of erudite rough, had in mind when writing his life story is unclear. What starts out as a sketchy runthrough of the band and how they met turns quickly, presumably in tandem with the drugs and champers imbibed, into a fragmentary collection of halfdescribed celebrity snapshots. Come 2003’s Think Tank, track names aren’t even mentioned.
Getting there seems, for James at least, to have been massively fun. Britpop Blur were, after all, high monarchs of the London scene, and it seems wherever James stepped a door opened. There are women, drugs, aircraft, space probes, cheeses and the inevitable country houses. Describing himself as cash-rich but morally bankrupt, by the end of the story and three babies into a family, our hero has come full circle, living life as an ‘old rock star’ stereotype. When Graham Coxon pops round for tea two years after leaving Blur, there’s a genuine pang of sadness that what got them where they are today might not be a going concern anymore.
Never claiming to be a meticulous discographical re-tread of Britpop, with all of Blur’s B-sides and catalogue numbers listed, A Bit Of A Blur is exactly that, and probably all the better for it.