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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


The Cult Dreamtime

The Indians to Theatre of Hate/Spear of Destiny’s cowboys. Southern Death Cult’s ‘Fatman’ was an astonishing debut single, and so was Ian Astbury’s appearance – he looked like the ghost of a native American shaman in all his war paint; a much more sinister apparition than the artful Adam Ant. After whittling their name down via Death Cult, their first LP as The Cult was, as the title suggests, an immersion into the cultures of Aboriginal people. The lyrics on the opening ‘Horse Nation’ are taken from Dee Brown’s epic history Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, ‘Butterflies’ is inspired by a ceremonial Hopi dance, and the title track by the central beliefs of Australian Aboriginals.

Weirdo is full of Cult songs. The single ‘Spiritwalker’ that came from this album, the following ‘Resurrection Joe’ which remains my all-time favourite and then the one that got them on Top Of The Pops, ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ from their next album, Love. This event caused a mass outbreak of Weekend Weirdos at my school. Suddenly, beer girls were turning up with fishnet tights under their school uniforms, clutching copies of Love conspicuously and trying to work out how to spike up their hair and paint on liquid eyeliner, which was notoriously difficult with the fat, flat-ended Rimmel fare of the day. Oh the horror! The band were never the same after that either, going off to become AC/DC with Rick Rubin. In a similar way to TOH/Gallon Drunk, the first time I heard ‘Hands All Over’ by Soundgarden I thought: THIS is what The Cult should have done, it sounded like the natural progression from ‘Resurrection Joe’. But I guess they enjoyed what they did. Now, who was I calling elitist?