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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


Spear Of Destiny The Grapes Of Wrath

I’m torn between this, One-Eyed Jacks and Theatre of Hate’s Westworld album. What nudges it over is the mesmerising opening track ‘The Wheel’ which continues to haunt me down the years with its fairground imagery and Lascelles James’ awesome, squalling saxophone, which is the perfect foil to Kirk Brandon’s whispering vocal incantations. There is a fantastic clip of them performing this and ‘The Preacher’ on Youtube that I have watched about a million times now. I never got to see Theatre Of Hate live, unfortunately, but Spear Of Destiny were my next-favourite live band to The Sisters and I love their first two albums.

Kirk Brandon looked so brilliant with his white flat-top and Davey Crockett jacket. Every boy I knew either wanted to be him or Ian McCulloch. I have some funny photos of those days with rooms full of Kirks and Ians. And then Morrissey came along and they all wanted to be him. I have noticed a lot of teenagers starting to look rather Kirklike again, which is interesting – I like that mix-up of Fifties rockabilly and Western, cowboy styling with a gothy edge more than just straight adherence to one creed. TOH and the unfortunately abbreviated SOD did that with their music, too. When I listen back this now, I realize why I loved Gallon Drunk so much the first time I saw them, there is a definite linkage of musical intent and stylish presentation going on there.