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Baker's Dozen

I Don't Belong Here: Cathi Unsworth's Weirdo In 13 Albums
The Quietus , July 25th, 2012 07:17

Author and journalist Cathi Unsworth talks us through the albums that inspired her new novel Weirdo. This feature will bring dark joy to the hearts of those whose clothes are black, whose lips are purple and whose witches are red

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New Model Army Vengeance

Last but certainly not least, this record is as important to Weirdo as Ocean Rain, because it says everything about the year of 1984… and continues to resonante with the pinpoint accuracy in which it predicted exactly what would be reaped from the Season Of The Witch. I have used so many of the songs in the book. ‘Smalltown England’, the ultimate depiction of a teenage Saturday night in a small, closed-minded town; ‘Sex (The Black Angel)’, ‘Notice Me’, the title track of course, and most heartbreakingly, ‘A Liberal Education’: "Take away our history/ Take away our heroes/ Take away our values/ And leave us here with nothing." That’s pretty much what happened to the National Curriculum over the past 30 years. Listening to ‘Spirit of The Falklands’ now is also a pretty sobering experience. I think Justin Sullivan must have a crystal ball.

Then there is also the historical resonance: that in the English Civil War of 1642-51, Norfolk was a staunchly Parliamentarian county and Oliver Cromwell and his New Model Army pitched up in Great Yarmouth – and the town’s punk descendents would be listening to a band named after them over three hundred years later, at the time of the next civil war.

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Jul 25, 2012 1:27pm

Great stuff! Maybe it's because I spent my youth in a seaside town during the 80's but most of these (very very unfashionable) albums are all very familiar. And I've come back to them and still find most of them to be a great listen, on whatever level. Not sure where Madonna and Jacko fit in tho... Gonna buy the book right now.

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Jul 25, 2012 2:01pm

yeah,great list.I like most of the stuff here,Bunnymen,Sisters,early Cult,Bauhaus of course... recently discovered Spear of Destiny through Paradise Lost cover of Never take me alive.awesome band,great find!!

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Jul 26, 2012 12:49am

Some fine choices here, the Echo, Bauhaus, and Smiths albums were worn out by this kid as well, right around the same time. Morrissey takes many cues from his favorite writers, so it's a cool kind of circle that this writer should take some cues from him.

Was sad to see the Cult move away from their post-punk beginnings but I've been a fan of all their material nonetheless. She mentions the Chameleons, was surprised to find none of their albums were on here. No worries tho, they're still overlooked by most.

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Jul 26, 2012 2:46pm

I am thrilled to find somenone whose love of 'Smalltown England' is equal to my own.

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art damij
Aug 14, 2012 2:09pm

cool list,great to see crass,bauhaus,killing joke,sisters in well as nods to theatre of hate..good call cathi!

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