Blur’s Damon Albarn: ‘We’re drowning in Olympic commercialism’

Albarn says band are doing Hyde Park Olympic gigs for "human beings" and not "capitalism"

Blur have spoken out about the “commercialism” of the Olympics in advance of their Hyde Park shows.

The band will play the huge outdoor gig at London’s Hyde Park on August 12, topping a bill that also includes New Order and The Specials. The gig has been put on to coincide with the closing ceremony of the Olympic games.

“I’m just anti the capitalism of it all,” Damon Albarn told The Sun. “We’re not doing the gig for the corporate side of the Olympics, we’re doing it for the human beings.”

He added: “It feels like you’re drowning in commercialism at the moment. It’s depressing. But I am into the table tennis so I would like to get some tickets for that. It would be an inspiration to see it at that level.”

Speaking about the new track ‘Under The Westway’, which along with ‘The Puritan’ was one of two new tracks written for the gig debuted at the beginning of this month, Albarn said: “It felt like a nice thing to play on a summer’s day in Hyde Park, though it’s not just for a sunny day, it’s for a rainy day too.”

He continued: “We’re not doing the show for the weather, we’re doing it for the park and the people.”

Alex James added that two new tracks was “perfect for the gig”. “If you play ten new ones everyone is like, ‘Hang on a minute’. It’s lovely to have two songs that show different sides of the band and I’ve really, really enjoyed making music together again,” he said.

When asked whether Blur’s recording sessions together earlier this year will weild a new album, Graham Coxon replied: “I keep saying the conditions are nice and we are getting on brilliantly. We have learned a lot about our history and have a respect for what we are.”

He added: “Creatively it seems we are in a good place — conditions are good to firm. So we will just see day to day and week to week.”

As a warm-up to the Hyde Park gigs, Blur will embark on an intimate UK tour this August. The Britpop icons will play four shows, beginning at Margate’s Winter Gardens on August 1. They will then play two shows at Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall on August 5 and 6, before finishing off at Plymouth’s Pavilions on August 7.

Yesterday, the band launched an iPhone and iPad app to coincide with the release a career-spanning boxset on July 30. Titled ’21’, the collection includes the band’s seven studio albums as well as over five hours of previously unreleased material including 65 tracks, rarities, three DVDs, a collector’s edition book and special limited edition Seymour seven-inch vinyl.

To check the availability of Blur tickets and get all the latest listings, go to NME.COM/TICKETS now, or call 0871 230 1094.