It’s not a coincidence that every time we watch football, we often find that there is some form music encompassing it - or vice versa. Take Country House, Blur’s music video released in 1995. It was the first Blur song to reach the top of the British charts, and if you pause the video at the beginning, you can see Damon Albarn is reading a newspaper, on a page, that is talking about Chelsea.
I get up when I want, except on Wednesdays when I get rudely awakened by the dustmen. I put my trousers on, have a cup of tea and I think about leaving me house (Parklife!).
Blur – Parklife
Blur – Parklife
What does it mean to be a disgruntled young Londoner? Just play Parklife. No one can tell it better than Damon Albarn, who was raised in Leytonstone, East London, and who always made a point to admit his thriving passion for Chelsea. And it was difficult to support Chelsea at that time, like Simon Harsent told me once: “Chelsea were rubbish in the late 70’s early 80’s. The proposed development of the ground and the new East Stand had left the club broke and we didn’t have the funds to build on the team from the early 70’s that had won the FA Cup and the Cup Winners Cup.
It was hard following them but once you’re a fan, you are stuck with them, you can’t change your team. Nor would I want to. We spent a lot of time in the Second Division years ago there was a greyhound track between the pitch and the stands so the Shed End, the West Stand and the North Stand at Stamford Bridge used to be quite far from the pitch, most of my memory’s from those days was standing on the White Wall of the Shed End freezing my nuts off watching Chelsea draw 0-0. We would be lucky to get a crowd of 11,000 in those days. But it was still some of the best times of my life."
I got my head done. When I was young. It’s not my problem.
Blur – Song 2
Blur – Song 2
Blur are a proper band with some great songs. But to be something of a legend, you need someone like Liam Gallagher or Ian Brown. I mean don’t get me wrong here - It’s fucking Blur, even most of the present bands don’t even have a chance to get close to what these guys have achieved. However, it’s like Chelsea and Manchester United, it’s like the famous Battle of Britpop. Of course Country House outsold Oasis' Roll With It by 274,000 copies to 216,000, becoming Blur's first number-one single. But at the end, like the media said, Blur wound up winning the battle, but losing the war. They became perceived as an inauthentic middle-class pop band, in comparison to the working-class heroes that were Oasis.
Much like football, you can win one or two titles, but it’s not enough to make your mark on history.
Speaking of football, here’s how Damon himself sees it: "Football has given me the simplicity that I’m always trying to find. I just want to be a simple person. I just want to be normal. I find it increasingly difficult to find things that football can’t solve. To do with love, maybe. It doesn’t solve anything between men and women, but I think it can solve most things between men and men."
Sitting on the early bus. Passing through the morning rush.
Blur – Bang
Blur – Bang
When it comes to Blur, well, that’s over. Damon move on with Gorillaz and solo career reaching even bigger success. But that, my friends, is a story for another place and time. A story it cost him a lot. It cost him a part of life, full of heroin, but like he said: Heroin freed me up. I hate talking about this because of my daughter, my family. But, for me, it was incredibly creative... A combination of heroin and playing really simple, beautiful, repetitive shit in Africa changed me completely as a musician. I found a sense of rhythm. I somehow managed to break out of something with my voice.
But even in the dark time, he always loved to play football and watch Chelsea:
That’s why I play football. It’s a saving grace. I know it’s a very flippant thing to say, but if Kurt Cobain had played football, he’d probably be alive today. I know it sounds the most ridiculous thing, but, if you play football, you’ll know what that means.