Plus Alex James wows the Oxford Union...

Blur appear on BBC 1‘s Tomorrow’s World at 7.30pm tonight in an item about the Mars probe Beagle 2. Blur wrote the music that will play as the probe touches down on Mars in 2002, Britain’s first presence on the red planet. ‘Beagle 2’ is also included on CD2 of the new single package of ‘No Distance Left To Run’.

Meanwhile, Blur bassist Alex James declared that rock’n’roll was the greatest art form ever at the annual Oxford Union debate last week (November 4) – but then admitted that his own ‘The Great Escape’ album “was shit”.

The bassist, looking nervous and hesitant in front of several hundred students and academics, said that although music was the nation’s sixth biggest export, the industry was basically run by fans. He then made the quip about Blur‘s fourth album.

The motion – that “this house believes rock music is the greatest art form” – was won by James‘ team.

During the heated discussion, James also proclaimed Stock, Aitken & Waterman “complete craftsmen”, and asserted that Elton John was Louis XIV and that “we need people like him”. He also said that his Fat Les side project showed how simple it was to have a hit record. But he argued that it was still great art, stating: “Rock music is popular and the easiest way to define popularity is that it is something that is good.”

Joining James on the pro-rock’n’roll hustings was fellow Fat Les member Keith Allen.

Allen raised eyebrows by stripping to the waist and espousing his love of cocaine during his speech in favour of rock’n’roll and by constantly haranguing opposing speakers Mariella Frostrup and veteran DJ Dave Haslam.

Allen and James were late entries to the debate, stepping into the breach to replace Blur singer Damon Albarn who pulled out to spend time with his new daughter, Missy, instead. Click here for more info on Beagle 2.

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