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Britpop wars forgotten by Gallagher and Albarn

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It was Britpop’s most compelling feud. Back at the end of the last century, the nation was divided along a Blur v Oasis axis. You were either a fan of the angular Essex social commentators or the mad for it Mancunian scallies. The bands swapped insults and millions of records were sold.

Hostilities ceased a long time ago, but Blur’s Damon Albarn and the former Oasis leader Noel Gallagher made a public display of their unlikely new friendship at the Teenage Cancer Trust gig at the Royal Albert Hall.

Gallagher had curated the London shows, and most of the acts were predictable examples of his conservative, if not totally reactionary, musical tastes. Although he had bonded with the Blur singer at the Brits this year, the choice of Damon Albarn and Blur guitarist Graham Coxon to perform did raise a few monobrows among the hardcore Oasis loyalists.

Perhaps anticipating a little hostility, Gallagher introduced the duo, performing a piece they had specially composed for the show, with a touch of belligerence. "Sit down. Open your minds. Shut the f**k up," he told his fans.

They mostly did, although they were entitled to be a bit baffled as Albarn and Coxon played some mellow free-form jazz while poet Michael Horowitz recited a sweet pastoral poem about a day in the life of Britain. If an audience that resembled a crowd of Bradley Wiggins look-alikes were suspicious, they might have been reassured by the presence of Paul Weller on drums.

It all got a bit sentimental after that as Albarn and Coxon launched into the hit Blur ballad 'Tender', and Albarn called for Gallagher to join them on stage. He resisted for a few moments, before taking his place at centre stage, strumming along. No doubt somewhere brother Liam was expressing his disgust that it had come to this.

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