Britpop's future blurred by angst

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The Independent Online
Britpop has gone the way of existentialism, The Beatles and Bob Dylan. It has ceased to be harmless relaxation and become an academic discipline, writes David Lister.

Today Blur and Oasis take the ageing step from pop to pop culture when academics and musicologists gather at Leeds University for a one-day symposium entitled "Britpop: Towards a Musicological Perspective".

The symposium, on the genre's intertextuality, gender, sexuality and class, will hear learned papers such as "Representations of Britishness in Britpop" and "Oasis - What's The Copy (Pop Gone Sloppy)".

Stan Hawkins, associate professor of music in Oslo, will deliver a Scandinavian perspective on pop angst with a lecture: "Anti-Rebel, Lonesome Boy - Morrisey in Crisis."

For organiser Steve Sweeney-Turner, 31, research fellow in music at Leeds, the necessity for an academic conference became clear in a dark moment at February's Brit Awards. It was the triumph of The Spice Girls and the gleeful cry by Ginger Spice: "Now we know that pop is back."

Mr Sweeney-Turner said: "The arrival of the Spice Girls provokes questions about whether Britpop is dead. I believe it might have been ousted. Equally, Blur's sudden professed alignment with certain American trends forces a number of questions. Has Britpop rejected its own aesthetic basis, or is it in a further phase of eclectic expansion?"