Who remembers the Shine albums? Mid 90’s compilation albums (double CD or cassette) full of the indie hits of the day. A kind of Now That’s What I Call Britpop series that captured the era almost perfectly (I say almost as there seemed to be a disproportionate amount of Ocean Colour Scene compared to my recollection).
Well, I was fully familiar with Suede and New Generation’s parent album Dog Man Star when I had my sleep depravation inspired Suede epiphany. Yet it came to me on a bus while listening to a Shine album through the foam cuffed headphones of a cassette Walkman.
I was still a student but it was summer and I had the most 90’s job you could imagine. I was working in a factory that made video cassettes (my big break into a career in media?). That meant four days on then four days off, 12 hours shifts, 7 ’til 7. One week AM to PM next PM to AM (that last detail I think was just a cruel prank played out to ensure everyone in the whole building was equally wired and knackered at the same time)
After a set of shifts that ended one Friday Morning at 7am I got on the bus to take the hour long journey back to my digs. The sun was up. The sky was blue and the Walkman batteries were playing full speed for once. As New Generation kicked in I was swept up in a weird euphoria. I was young free and single, it was a sunny Friday, I’d just got paid and this song was fucking brilliant!
I got off the bus in Ipswich town centre and went to a bar that was open early because the market traders were setting up in the town square. I had to rattle a few cages to get my merry band of good for nothing party buddies together at such an ungodly hour (this is pre mobile phones so it involved using the payphone in the bar and a sort of ‘pass it on’ type ritual).
Somehow my enthusiasm that THIS weekend was about to be THE weekend of the decade and we couldn’t miss a moment of it didn’t come across as load of bollocks and they turned up. We started in Mannings market bar surrounded by stall traders and barflies. What followed was the sort of weekend Edgar Wright makes films about. We drank, danced, gigged, joked, brawled, pulled, swaggered, staggered and sniggered our way through to Monday morning. Any chance we could find we commandeered a jukebox, a cassette deck or a turntable and gave Dog Man Star’s best track an airing.
For that weekend alone New Generation is my ultimate 90’s anthem.