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Baker's Dozen

Crime Plays: Writer Ian Rankin On His 13 Favourite Albums
Luke Turner , November 21st, 2012 07:37

Ian Rankin talks to Luke Turner about his life in music, and how he'd like to write novels based on Joy Division and David Bowie albums


Throbbing Gristle - D.o.A: The Third and Final Report of Throbbing Gristle
At that time, a lot of the bands I liked had this mythology around them, like Throbbing Gristle. Their music I was introduced to by a guy who was a radical poet at the university. He was a Throbbing Gristle fan and said 'you've got to listen to this band, you've got the join the fan club'. Because I looked up to him, whatever he told me to do I'd do. So I got my signed photograph of Cosey Fanni Tutti, I would send away for the private pressings that they'd do of their albums, and get the newsletter. I'd be sitting in my tiny student bedroom with the curtains shut listening to this very intense, urban soundscape. Why I didn't top myself I don't know.

It's about transgression, isn't it? I remember being in the lift at Uni wearing my Throbbing Gristle badge, which is the lightning flash through the red background with the black stripes, and a member of staff said 'that's a fascist badge, are you a fascist?' I never thought of them as fascists, it was about transgression. They wanted to challenge you. There was a uniform that Throbbing Gristle fans tended to wear, and I think it was all part of being transgressive, to shock you out of your malaise or shock you into a strong feeling about something. They might hate me for saying it, but there's a lot of Hawkwind about that - a grouping that comes together because of beliefs of what art can do, or should do, or music should do. There was a strong sense of why they were doing it… they weren't just doing it [adopts sarcastic American accent] for the bread, man.