Mail Music Column: My Mad Fat Diary and Britpop

My Mad Fat Diary features a scintilating Britpop soundtrack.
My Mad Fat Diary features a scintilating Britpop soundtrack.

With April 2014 being loosely deemed as the 20th anniversary of Britpop, it seems only fitting that the second series of the brilliantly-penned My Mad Fat Diary should conclude this month.

As with the first series, the follow-up has seen a heartfelt insight into the troubled lives of a group of teens growing up in the 90s.

The Mail's online music writer Annie Lees, of Fleckney ENGNNL00320130708143512

The Mail's online music writer Annie Lees, of Fleckney ENGNNL00320130708143512

Watched by teens and aging Britpoppers alike, every episode has struck a chord with me and the honest and candid diary entries of Rae Earl have left me reminiscent.

The pack mentality by which school seemed to function back then is so expertly diarised, it’s almost scary.

There were the cool gangs, the ones with the nice clothes, the slick hair and the big gobs, the Stacey’s. And then there was us, the Britpoppers, or the ‘Greebos’ as we were nicknamed. A tag I wasn’t too ashamed of. Never one to conform it was almost quite nice to be different, and to have our own title was kind of cool.

And within our group there was a Rae, a Finn, a Chop and a Chloe; each character almost carbon copies of so many of my friends and each one having their own individual battles, not unlike that of the aforementioned characters, that I find it hard not to be emotionally touched by Rae’s accounts of growing up.

In the days when we didn’t have mobile phones, we had no internet and if my folks were anything to go by, using the landline was a treat that would often be revoked due to massive bills, it’s nice to remind ourselves of how kids had to communicate. Having to walk to people’s houses, having to pick up the phone to arrange to meet and occasionally write the odd daft letter to express ourselves. It was honest and it was genuine, much like these series.

Sharon Rooney plays Rae so wonderfully, so sincerely and openly it’s not hard to fall in love with her, each episode championing her to recover and love herself back.

Nico Mirallegro has taken that jump from fluffy-haired weirdo Newt in Hollyoaks to sex wizard Finn in My Mad Fat Diary, whose love for Rae has had women’s hearts melting.

The pair together perfectly encapsulating that awkward first-love stage in every teenager’s life, accepting that it’s not all hearts and mix tapes, there’s no text book to tell you how to deal with it.

And let us not forget the soundtrack. Hearing the likes of Shed Seven and The Charlatans every week on my TV has been joyous, a welcome diversion from the usual drivel that kids today are subjected to; so thank you E4 for commissioning what has been an absolute joy to watch.

And to Rae Earl, thank you good lady for having the guts to put out there what so many of us have boxed up in our attic.

It has been an absolute pleasure.

To be continued...?

By Annie Lees (pictured, inset), of Fleckney, the Mail’s online music writer.

Follow Annie on Twitter, @Annie_beth.