30 Jul: When Noel Gallagher Met Tony Blair

The ‘Cool Britannia’ party – held at 10 Downing Street on 30th July, 1997 – quickly became one of the most iconic events of the New Labour era. Celebrities including Helen Mirren, Eddie Izzard and Lenny Henry were invited to Britain’s seat of power to sup champagne with Tony Blair, the youngest Prime Minister since 1812.

The defining image of the night was a photo of Blair chuckling away with rockstar Noel Gallagher. The Oasis singer defended his attendance (“because I’m from Burnage, and me mam would kill me if I turned down the chance to go to Downing Street. Wouldn’t yours?”), but later claimed to have snorted coke off the Queen’s lavatory whilst there.

In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion reveal the surprising origins of the phrase ‘Cool Britannia’ (spoiler: the Tories did it first); ask whether popstar-politician collabs are ALWAYS ultimately disastrous; and consider whether the lukewarm reaction to David Cameron’s subsequent showbiz party might yet be considered a success for the Conservatives…

Further Reading:

• Footage from the party (Associated Press, 1997): 

• ‘Cool Britannia: where did it all go wrong?’ (New Statesman, 2017): https://www.newstatesman.com/1997/2017/05/cool-britannia-where-did-it-all-go-wrong

• ‘David Cameron revisits Cool Britannia (with Michael McIntyre and Cilla Black)’, (The Guardian, 2014): https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/30/david-cameron-a-listers-cool-britannia-party