Blur’s Alex James: ‘Noel and Damon are like best mates now’

"They go off and smoke cigars together," the bassist says

Blur‘s Alex James has claimed that Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher are “like best mates now”.

When asked by Irish radio host Ray D’Arcy who ultimately won the on-going rivalry between Blur and Oasis, James replied: “Ironically Noel and Damon are like best mates now. They go off and smoke cigars together. I think we realised we we’re all on the same side eventually.”

Earlier this year, Albarn and Gallagher put two decades of Britpop animosity behind them when they performed together at London’s Royal Albert Hall for a Teenage Cancer Trust gig.

Speaking about the band’s current tour dates, after their triumphant show last year in London’s Hyde Park to mark the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, James said: “It was 2003 when Blur really kind of stopped. And it had been 15 years of us doing the same thing, just the four of us. That’s a long time. I think we just all needed to go off and do other things. We’ve all worked with other people. So when we come back to play together I think we do it just because we want to – there’s no pressure… It’s actually the best thing we ever did, splitting up.”

He added: “Back in 2009 when we got back together, they were the best shows we’d ever done. And I think we all thought that was a good place to leave it, maybe. Then we got the call to do this big show last summer to mark the end of the Olympics and I think we all felt we can’t really say no to that. It’s such an honour to be asked. And it was so brilliant, we thought what’s not to like?”

Earlier this month, Damon Albarn reportedly confirmed that the band will record a new album following the release of his forthcoming solo LP.