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Baker's Dozen

Mercurial Rev: Richard Coles' Favourite Music
Alex Burrows , April 14th, 2021 08:57

Vicar, musician, broadcaster and ex-Communard, The Reverend Richard Coles tells Alex Burrows how music is still important to belief and why parish choirs are the new punk. Portrait by Tim Anderson.


XTC – ‘Making Plans for Nigel’
One of my favourite bands. From Swindon – which is a reason to like them, just because they came from Swindon and they stayed in Swindon. They did so many innovative and original things. There’s so much in it that’s influential. So much that was new and innovative. Also, my dad’s called Nigel, so I associate it with him somehow, although he wouldn’t have been a fan of XTC. But the record always makes me think of him.

XTC very consciously wanted to occupy a place that wasn’t in the mainstream – to their credit. They weren’t marketable or culturally available – maybe in the way that say, Gang of Four were, although I love Gang of Four too – who doesn’t. When you think about that great big thudding drum sound, everyone used that. That became such a sound of the 80s. XTC were pioneers really. The Drums And Wires album is just terrific.

I first heard this in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1979. I went there to do a Theatre Studies A Level and a vocational drama course. I shared a flat with a guy called Adam Sindall who was a great music lover and he listened to completely different music to me. He played me Drums And Wires and I absolutely loved it.