11 September '99, Blur X, The Lux Gallery, London, UK

reviewed by Adam Benzine

After queuing for about 30 minutes to get in, I am disappointed to see a sign on the window saying No Photography At All. Never mind, I tell myself, There'll be postcards inside to buy. But there isn't. Instead we have several photos of Blur upstairs, and about a hundred million covers from Q, Select and the NME. We are hurried around by the security guards who keep shouting at people to keep moving and not touch anything. The 'free' jukebox does have all the Blur singles in it, but we are not allowed to use it or even go near it the security prick tells me, instead it plays random tracks. The one saving grace - the listening posts.
They have 5 1-track CDs on them:
1 Sing (To Me) - Seymour Demo
2 Wassailing Song - Full Length
3Magpie (Damon Demo Version)
4 The Saturday Morning - (An instrumental from the great escape sessions that was never used)
5 You're So Great (Demo Version - Recorded by Graham in his house, poor quality because it is a dictaphone recording).
This is great, I think to myself as I get nearer in the long queue (there were only 2 listening posts). But gasp - there is a sign saying I can only listen to one track!! F**k that. Much to the annoyance of the people behind me I Decide to listen to You're So Great, Saturday Morning and Sing To Me. YSG sounds more or less the same but with slightly different lyrics, Saturday Morning is great but I think that's only 'cos I was hearing a new track and it would get boring. It's a bit like Supa Shoppa. But Sing. My God. This HAS (are you listening to me Martin) to be the next Fan Club single. It is simply amazing. It is far superior to the Leisure version. It starts with the keyboards but they are very messy and tinny, much like the sound used at the beginning of 'Be Here Now' by Oasis. But when the bass comes in, it is just incredible, sounding a bit like Death of a Party in a hard to describe way. It sounds almost like a Remix. Damon's vocals are just incredible. It is much like Sing if you took away the feedback. Anyone who has heard this will tell you it has to be the next Fan Club single. (or else I'll have to break into the Lux Gallery tonight). Well, there were also constant queues for the video room, and the rare footage was being alternated with Showtirne (boring) and Starshaped (boring) so you had to queue for ages, not knowing which one you'd see. Perhaps I'm being too critical. It was nice to see Graham's paintings, but they only had Tender, Coffee & TV and 13!! I thought this was a tour of Graham's artwork. That was the main reason I went, after hearing the reviews of Graham's paintings from New York. The best of all the artwork was Popscene. It was, much to my surprise, originally going to be released as a Double A-Side with 'Turn It Up'. There were 2 designs which were scrapped, one looked just like Popscene, but the queen mother had been cut out and put where the dog usually is, the other, brilliantly, had a motorway with a funny design above it. Sounds crap but was actually brilliant. What else was there, Band equipment including a drumkit, trashed guitar and Damon's ESSEX guitar, funny early contracts, including the band agreeing to do a gig for £15 pound each!! Original lyrics (I'm just a killer for... is totally different and Tracy Jacks had different lyrics as well), and downstairs there was milk cartons, awards, flashing Zeal signs and Ultranol pills. Oh yeah, and a giant Hamburger in the middle of the room. But overall I was disappointed. A few simple steps could have made the whole thing so much better. Firstly, make it £5 to get in. Half the people who came had probably never heard of Modem Life Is Rubbish and thought of Blur as 'the woo hoo group' I'm sure if it wasn't free, so many people wouldn't have come. Secondly, more listening posts and jukeboxes. Thirdly, allow us to take photos, all I have now is a shitty (and they are shitty) program and my memory. It could have been sooooo good.

Adam Benzine

Blur X auction prices

Damon's Essex Guitar - £2050
Milk Carton model - £350
Graham's original pictures - £300-£610
Ultranol Pills (Flashing - still working) - £85-£100
Country House for Sale Sign - £75
Golf Ball Speaker from Universal video - £80
Graham t-shirt worn in she's so high - £80
Blur as Blondie Photo - £240

Were others - the total raised was about £7000

George Dawes (Matt Lucas) and Phil Daniels did the auctioneering - it was brilliant, unbelievable amounts of money.!
Apparently the band were very pleased and grateful to everyone for being so generous.
They were off filming a video apparently,.
Very generous of them to donate their stuff.

Information provided by Susan T.

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