Albarn (l) and James (r) have a variety of side projects
Guitarist Graham Coxon left the indie
band in 2002 after being told his services were no longer
required - and since then has frequently said that he has no
plans to return.
But James - the group's bassist, who
is about to present revived music show The Tube - reveals he
has been in discussions with Coxon recently.
"I've got high hopes that Blur will
have a happy four-piece ending," he explains. "I think it
would be a shame if it didn't, really.
"I think we'd all like to make another
record. We'd all like to do it with Graham.
"I've been talking to Graham a bit and
hopefully I can persuade him. I'm going to have to beg him,
though," he admits.
Blur's members are known for their
side projects. Damon Albarn has recorded as Gorillaz plus The
Good, The Bad and The Queen, while Coxon has a solo career and
James has worked with Stephen Duffy and Keith Allen among
But Blur - whose hits include Girls
and Boys, Parklife and There's No Other Way - are "too good a
thing to let it disintegrate", says James.
"One way or the other, there'll be
another Blur album, with or without Graham - but hopefully
with Graham. I think it's definitely worth trying.
"I'm sure Paul McCartney feels the
same, but I still don't think we've made our best record yet.
That's one of the things you get when you're a musician.
"You think, 'I'm going to do something
brilliant in a minute.' If you don't think that, you've got to
Recently, the 37-year-old has been
working with actor Steven Berkoff on what he describes as
"some pop songs".
"We started off trying to turn one of
his plays into an opera.
is working with actor Steven Berkoff
"It's an amazing piece of work but it
was becoming quite an unwieldy thing. It was probably a bit
ambitious to try to make that into an opera," James says.
"He's written a bunch of songs and
they're really good. He's got tunes for them and he's a very
clever man, a proper genius.
"They don't beat around the bush.
They're very message-heavy."
James says they may not be released in
a traditional album format.
"I can make the records and he can
make the videos and we can probably just chuck them out on
YouTube or something.
"That's the great thing about working
with actors - they can be in the videos. Imagine the worst
villain he's every played - that's who he is."
This Friday sees James joining Konnie
Huq to present a new monthly version of The Tube.
The alternative music show is being
revived by Channel 4 Radio, and online service from the
broadcaster which originally screened the show, fronted by
Jools Holland and Paula Yates in the 1980s.
"I liked the old one," he says. "It
was the only counter-culture that really existed in the 80s.
James is about to host The Tube
radio show with Konnie Huq
"It was a time of great gloss,
glamorous aspirations and yuppies, and that nastiness drove a
very strong counter-culture, which was all represented by The
"Now I think The Tube is a search
engine of everything which is good and new and exciting.
"And it's a bit of a laugh. I like
Konnie a lot. I think she's a worthy successor to Paula Yates
- and very saucy."
And as for the future, James - now a
father of three - says his tastes are changing as he grows
"I'm 38 next month so I've thrown all
my trainers away and all my records with loud drums on," he