GALLERY: An Oasis of memories as Britpop heroes celebrated at Light House exhibition
For Chris Bloor, it began with replicas of Noel Gallagher’s iconic Union Jack guitar.
Recreating that Britpop symbol brought him into contact with one piece of pop memorabilia after another.
Now he is hosting an exhibition in his home city of Wolverhampton celebrating the cream of British music.
And given that alongside items from Sir Paul McCartney, Paul Weller and Johnny Marr there is ephemera from Oasis, The Verve, Ocean Colour Scene and Coldplay, it has a particularly Britpop-tinged feel.
“I used to refinish guitars as replicas of Noel Gallagher’s Union Jack guitar,” said Chris. “I got noticed and then I was asked to look after Noel’s guitars at the ‘Chasing The Sun’ exhibition.
“I went on to work with the British Music Experience in Liverpool sourcing guitars from iconic musicians including Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and George Harrison.”
Chris decided to use the contacts he’d built up over the years to open his own exhibition at Wolverhampton’s Light House arts centre, to support a good cause.
“I’ve noticed how many homeless people there are all over the country and I wanted to start my own exhibition which could make a positive difference to people who are homeless, which is why we’re supporting Shelter,” he added.
“I’m glad to be bringing people into Wolverhampton and also to the Light House which is such an incredible venue.”
Profits from ticket sales will go to the #LoveLightHouse fundraising campaign aimed at securing the future of the beloved city venue, along with homeless charity Shelter.
Light House’s gallery has been transformed into a music lover’s paradise, with portraits of legendary musicians including Kurt Cobain and Jarvis Cocker alongside tour posters and photographs covering the walls.
Artist Natalie Fox-Bloor, who created the portraits, will sell the originals and prints after the exhibition, with a portion of the cost going to Shelter.
The homeless charity is also important to photographer Tony Briggs, who worked closely with Ocean Colour Scene on their biography ‘Soul Driver’, written with Ian Snowball, and proceeds from this will also be donated.
Britpop lovers can read a number of hand-written lyrics by Oasis guitarist Noel, including for Roll With It – perhaps Oasis’ most famous song after it was pitched into battle against Britpop rivals Blur in a chase for the number one spot in 1999 – plus Be Here Now, and Up In The Sky, which are framed as part of the display.
A 1968 Gibson SG guitar used by Sir Paul McCartney on some of his solo albums can be seen as well as a 1964 Gibson J45 which was also used by Paul McCartney and Richard Ashcroft from The Verve.
Light House chief executive Kelly Jeffs said: “As a massive music fan myself I’m thrilled to welcome this exhibition to Light House.
"Some of the items on display are truly iconic, I vividly remember TFI Friday in the 90s with Ocean Colour Scene playing live and how exciting it was and that drum kit is now here in the gallery.
“We look forward to welcoming music buffs from around the country to see the show, we’ve had people travel from as far as Cumbria, Wigan and Manchester already.”