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50 Ultimate British Songs: A Design For Life - Q Magazine, April 2011

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Title: 50 Ultimate British Songs: A Design For Life
Publication: Q Magazine
Date: April 2011
Writer: Niall Doherty
Photos: Neil Cooper


Q&A James Dean Bradfield and Nicky Wire

What do you recall about the song's genesis?
JAMES DEAN BRADFIELD: I remember being given the two lyrics by Nick [Wire]. We had come to a total standstill since Richey [Edwards, guitar] had disappeared. There was a long period of shock where we just couldn't do a thing. I just really needed something to occupy me. Deep down I wanted to know what it was like to write a song as a three-piece. That was the most daunting task facing us at that point - how would it work? I remember being incredibly nervous when the first proper set of Nick's lyrics arrived five months after Richey disappeared. I didn't actually start writing anything for a few days after they came, which is strange for me as I usually start pretty much the second I've torn open the envelope."

What did you think?
JDB: "I remember atomising the lyrics. It felt like there was a thread running through of anger and what I thought at the time was sarcasm. I think it was one of the quickest tunes I've ever written - it came fully formed in just 10 minutes. Up to that point, we were genuinely in limbo. By the time I called Nick, I was pretty sure I was onto something brilliant."
NICKY WIRE: "James called me up saying, It's Ennio Morricone, R.E.M. and Phil Spector."

What was the song about?
NW: "It was originally a two-page poem. One side was called A Pure Motive and the other A Design For Life. The song was inspired by what I perceived as the middle classes trying to hijack working-class culture. That was typified by Blur's Girls And Boys, the greyhound image on their Parklife cover. It was me saying, This is the truth."