I was only 7 when the Smiths split, was still in diapers (or nappies, as we call them in England) when the Two-Tone Ska revival was in full flow, and was but a twinkle in my father's eye when punk first came around. By the early 1990s, the British charts were dominated by disposable Eurodance (2 Unlimited, anyone?), the angst-ridden drone of patently American grunge, and Phil Collins. Scenes that had threatened the mainstream from the margins, Madchester and Shoegaze, were fizzling out fast.
Madchester leaders the Stone Roses seemed liked false messiahs, stubbornly refusing to come back to their disciples as the follow-up to their 1989 seminal eponymous debut took a biblical age to arrive (when it did, in 1994, it could only be a letdown). As a distinctly awkward teen in the early '90s, there was a sense that popular music didn't really care much about what I was doing, and try as I might, I didn't understand what they were doing. Then came Britpop.