Blur | Smash Hits – August 1991

A Day At The Seaside With Blur! 

By Sylvia Patterson

9 am is very early when you’re a member of Blur. Especially when you’re a member of Blur and you’re called Dave, ‘cos you’re always in the pub. And so it is with some astonishment we find our four desert-booted fellows boarding the 9.13 am from London to “glorious”… er, Margate. They fairly fancied the idea of a day out with Smash Hits, you see. For something to do. Margate was Damon’s idea “because it sounds good.”

Blur. There’s Damon, lead singer, big blue eyeballs and remarkable confidence. There’s Alex, bass player, “the mad one”, always going on about the amoebas in the stratosphere or whatever it is with a permanent foolish grin. There’s Graham, guitar, big brown eyeballs, gets “panic attacks” in the street for no reason whatsoever. And then there’s Dave. And he’s always in the pub. This much, then, we know. Let us observe them as they alight the Intercity “Saver” and find out just what goes on in a day out by the seaside with the band they’re calling “slightly famous these days, actually…”

“GREAT! IT’S A SMOKER!!” chirrups Graham as he gets out the gaspers for the 85th time that day already. This much we learn: Damon’s specs are very swanky and Italian and he’s reading a book called The Buddha Of Suburbia. Alex is reading a magazine called American Scientist and a book called Gargantua and Pantagruel: Rabalais Volume One. It’s about the thoughts of some geezer from ancient mythology and it’s “absolutely hilarious!”. They’re all entirely horrified to discover that Margate is today’s location for the gurrrreat Radio 1 Roadshow scenario, seeing as they appeared at last week’s one in Skegness. “Bloody hell”, mutters Damon, “people’ll think we’re desperate. And last week they introduced us as Blue…”

“WHOOOHOHOHOH!! At bloody last…” Finally, “Blue” reach Margate. First stop: “some grub!” They decide on a jolly kind of “greasy spoon” establishment along the sea front. They are thrilled to discover cups of tea come in individual plastic pots not unlike some gigantic version of a Sindy’s tea-set. Alex “plumps” for a knickerbocker glory. Breakfast over, it’s the obligatory tour of the shops that sell a load of nonsense. It’s that “stupid hats” time of the day. Dave opts for a thoroughly sophistication-free Fez. It’s just so… him. There’s a mirror that laughs when you pick it up. “That’s very sinister…” decides Graham. Damon has found some glitter pom-poms and is flinging them akimbo pretending to be an American cheer-leader or something. Alex has discovered one of those luminous hose things that you whirl around and it makes lots of mental high-pitched noises. It’s time for the beach…

So what do they think of Margate so far then?

Graham: “Crap! Well, it’s shit, innit? The same shops and the same rubbish.”

Alex: “I like the seaside. In fact I love it. I think it’s because it’s near the sea. Sometimes I run into the sea shouting ‘Mummy, Mummy, Mummy’.” Ahoorgh.

Deckchairs are hired and Graham blows up a newly-purchased beach ball even though he obviously has the lungs of a wood louse. Alex has gone completely off his rocker with his “singing” hose malarkies. “It’s playing The Last Post!” decides Graham. “More like The First Post” hoots Damon in bizarre Royal Mail quip. They have a game of football and see who can fall over the most spectacularly. Alex wins.

It starts to rain. Time for some arcade frolics up on the front. Damon tries his “hand” at the “How manly are you?” machine or whatever, which involves gripping a rubber thing really tightly and finding out whether you’re a weed or Big Arnie. Damon, it transpires is a “Jungle Man”. But we always knew that, didn’t we, viewers? It’s still raining. They’ve had enough of Margate. Not a solitary soul has recognised them. “We’re not famous enough for that. Yet.” It’s off back to London. Except Damon nearly misses the train due to buying the latest issue of ver Hits. Good lad. Back on the train, he peruses the latest pervs in pop known as Take That.

“They don’t look very good, do they?” insists Damon, “Very old-fashioned. The kids don’t want that, do they? Now this is what they need! (Bitz picture of Blur holding cardboard letters aloft.) We don’t look that bad there, actually…”

Alex is reading his spook book about the mythical bloke. He reads us a choice passage… “For this cause Hericlitus was one to say that nothing is by dreams revealed to us, that nothing…”

“Come on,” trumpets Graham at Alex, “stop being a poser and come and have a fag!!” They loll off to find a smoking carriage. There aren’t any. They stand, instead, in the slim, breezy corridor of the British Rail carriage inbetween the window and the big cage thing where the post and the bicycles go. Damon falls asleep with his arm round Dave who’s mere minutes from home and the distant toll of the barman’s bell.

Ah, the glamourous life. Bless ’em…

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