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Baker's Dozen

Pitch Perfect: Pat Nevin's Favourite Music
Richard Foster , June 2nd, 2021 08:17

Footballer, DJ and now writer, Pat Nevin talks Richard Foster through his 13 favourite records, including the time he got the fear from Delia Smith being at John Peel's birthday party, and being asked to write lyrics for Vini Reilly


Joy Division – Closer
You have favourite bands throughout your life that stay with you and Joy Division is mine. It's just everything about them, I loved them: the whole concept. I was getting a little bit of notoriety in my life, because of the football. To many, I had this very odd attitude about it, football; I didn't really want it running my life. And along comes Joy Division. I didn't even know what they looked like. They were never on the album covers; they were never on the single sleeves. Early New Order was exactly the same. It's this kind of different, odd, stylised approach. And that's before you even got to the music! I got Unknown Pleasures and Closer at the same time.

If you listen to the last two tracks on Closer, yes they are sad but they are so grand, so beautiful and structured, and atmospheric. If you put them at the end of any great opera, say Turandot, they're okay there. Their music is not pop, or rock, it's something beyond that. Yes there are Bowie influences, but if you listen across that record it's breathtaking, from 'Atrocity Exhibition' to 'Decades', it's a massive sound journey in itself. Many years ago I was listening to a programme with pundits giving their opinion about the hits or whatever. And – I think they had Morrissey on, I can't totally remember – but he was saying what he normally said [affected voice] “Oh, I don't like this, or that.” They had George Michael on too, and the presenter said, here's the new one by New Order and you probably won't like this very much and he said “no, the second side of Closer is full of the most beautiful music,” and I was like, what?? [Laughs.]

I talked to Tony Wilson about them a lot over the years, especially when I went north from Chelsea to Everton. But you wouldn't get much out of Tony about them, or anything really, because Tony loved to bullshit with the best of them. The joy of Tony was, he knew that you knew. That's why I loved spending time with him. But for me, there have been bands in the past that tried to develop this distance and weirdness and it was affected, and it wasn't affected by them at all. They just wanted to make music, which doesn't really sound like anyone else. And personality-wise they reflected me, because I was in the public eye but didn't really want to be. I loved doing my job but the rest I could live without.

I still drive to the games I cover and I do a round trip, there and back in a day. Liverpool is hundreds of miles away for instance. So when I'm driving home, it'll be three in the morning and pitch black in the car. If you put on Closer at that time of night, it really sounds fabulous; as beautiful now as it ever was. It [1980] was a nice time in my life: the football was going very well, I was doing my degree and I had a great set of friends and I was kind of carefree… ach, who listens to Joy Division and feels carefree? But it was exciting back then. I was still living in Glasgow, and the scene there was also amazing. There weren't a lot of us there, but that didn't matter. One week you got to see Orange Juice, and the next week you'd see Simple Minds, who were, at the time, amazing! Their records, like 'Celebrate', were fantastic.