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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


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.