BLUR, 'St. Charles Square' - "F@*! The Revival, Give Praise For The Rebirth"

Published on 30 June 2023 at 18:20


By Paul Laird

Author of "The Birth And Impact Of Britpop: Mis-Shapes, Scenesters And Insatiable Ones"


I fucked up.  

I’m not the first to do it.  


Oh Damon, don’t remind me. 

There are no monsters under the bed. 

Or beneath the floorboards. 

No long, slender, claws to reach out and grab me. 

All the monsters are inside of me. 

They have names. 









I wish they could all migrate to a basement flat with window bars. 

Like the one the two of us used to share. 

Friday nights. 




Furtive fumbling. 

Adolescent S-E-X. 

Children wishing they were grown ups. 

God it was wonderful. 

Dear God it was awful. 

We didn’t know what we were doing. 

We done fucked up, despite all the fucking. 




And in each distorted twist of “St Charles Square” I am reminded of the rotted emotions that have  marked every miserable moment of my life. Every sin I have committed. Every wrong that I have  done. Every heart I broke…not that were many… 


There is something gloriously dark at the heart of this song.


Where “The Narcissist” had a mellow, melancholy, that offered some hope despite the  hopelessness of everything, this offers only dark humour and the sound of our universal despair. 






People like to celebrate the Battle of B***p*p as if it was anything other than a risible, vulgar,  marketing exercise. At its end Blur emerged as “victors”, but it was quite clear, quite quickly, that  nobody in the band felt that it was anything other than a hollow victory. 


Looking in the mirror in the coming weeks, Damon Albarn looked at himself and didn’t recognise  the person staring back at him. The man in the mirror wasn’t the man he wanted to be. The thing  he had, unconsciously, created was now on the brink of destroying him as a person and as an  artist. 

I know how he felt. 


I loved what he had started…wonky, peculiar, affected, affecting, retro, indie, pop wonder. A  charming counter offensive to the Coca-Colonisation of British culture by our American cousins.  Hip-hip-hooray. But by the time we got to “The Great Escape'' the whole thing was nothing more  than a tired trad rock revivalist movement. That was not what Blur were about.  


Rest in peace Blur. 


All hail the resurrection of Blur as they returned with music that saw them turn to Can and  Krautrock, noise and distortion, and that put the Madness and Mockney in the fucking bin where  it belonged. 


Hip-hip hoo-fucking-ray. 


What the first two tracks from the forthcoming “The Ballad of Darren” have revealed is that, again,  Blur are dancing to the beat of a different drum. This is no B***p*p “revival”. Why revive  something that isn’t worth reviving? It would be like reviving the corpse of Thatcher as a solution  to the political woes of UK 2023. Let’s move things forwards shall we? 


I’m beyond giddy that, thus far, there isn’t even a whiff of an “oi geezer” moment from this latest  incarnation of Blur.  


Fuck the revival. 

Give praise for the rebirth.