Don’t Look Back in Anger – Daniel Rachel

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Slip inside the eye of my mind.

You know what you might find.

A better place.

Usually that better place is sometime in nineties Britain.

The sun is often out.

There are girls who like boys and boys who like girls.

Everyone wants to live like common people.

There was a new generation from satellite towns taking o-ver.

It felt like the times they were changing and then, suddenly, something changed and Britain was gone and in its place was something, someplace, new and else.

Cool Britannia.

In “Don’t Look Back in Anger” author Daniel Rachel has managed to find a way to tell the story of a time, a place, the people, the events that is engaging in a way that so few novels ever are, let alone cultural histories.  By interviewing the broadest range of voices from both sides of the political divide, from all areas of the arts and by asking them questions about the things that really matter(ed) he has crafted the definitive story of a remarkable period in British history.

From the decay and rot of the last days of the Thatcher era to the landslide victory of New Labour and the rise to the status of deity of Tony Blair.

From the stuck and borderline Stuckist art world to the grand and grandiose visions of the YBA.

From the blending of entrepreneurial capitalism and old fashioned socialist values.

From the Ebeneezer Goode of rave culture to the New Lad, Noel Rock, of the post-Britpop music scene.

From point A to point Z, Rachel has turned his beady eye into every corner of Britain in the nineties.  There are riotous tales of excess, blasts of optimism, waves of regret, forgotten moments and faces, voices you missed and voices you miss.  It is a book that draws, maybe even drags, you deep into a conversation with the people who helped shape who have become if, like me, you came of age in the nineties.

This is not a story about one or two bands, this is not a re-telling of the same old stories, this is something bigger, grander and more important.  This is, without question, the definitive telling of what Britain was in the nineties, who Britain became and how that has come to define the times we live in now.