I went to see ‘No Distance Left to Run’, the documentary about Blur, at the cinema last night and was absolutely blown away. Even if you’re not a big Blur fan, I think it’s worth getting hold of the DVD – out in a month, I think – and finding as big a screen as possible to watch it. Visually, it’s stunning, and as a story, it’s compelling, surprisingly funny in places, and poignant.
It’s not simply a history of the band. It’s the true story of how a friendship fell apart through unfortunate circumstances and miscommunication, but was strong enough to be repaired, to have a positive effect beyond the two people directly involved. It’s also about not being afraid to rebuild relationships before it’s too late, because life’s too short to hold grudges. In my youth, I used to be proud of the fact that I could hold a grudge. Now that I’m older and wiser, I can see what an idiotic thing that is. ‘No Distance Left To Run’ has inspired me to make even more of an effort to rebuild bridges with people I’ve lost touch with.
And that’s yet another reason why Blur are more than just a band for me. I love the music, obviously, but I also love the attitude that’s guided it. The style (such that it exists) of my clothes and hair since 1993 is a direct result of the anti-grunge, pro-British, Mod-inspired ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’ Blur. I learnt to play guitar by playing along to ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’. Even the fact that my work occasionally involves me striking out Americanisms from copy meant for a British readership has its roots in the rallying against ‘coca-colonisation’ ((‘coca-colonisation’ is still a phrase I still trot out from time to time)) of British culture.
I don’t pretend that Blur are unique in that sense. They just happen to be my band, and I love that even now, 17 years after I first saw them and fell in love with the whole package, they can still influence me in such a positive way.