Monday, 22 September 2008

This Used To Be The Future

I bought one of these for 50p

Thirty years ago this week, The Human League released their first single, and British synth-pop was born. (Ta - Da!)

Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh were working as computer operators. This was back in the day when computers filled entire rooms. They bought themselves synthesisers (one of them was a Roland, the other one a Korg, fact fans) and they formed a band. (Ta - Da!)

The name of that band was The Future.

They weren't very good.

Then, in 1978, along came their friend Phil Oakey, with his Northern nasal baritone and his beautiful lopsided hair. They changed their name to The Human League and left The Future behind.

Phil Oakey

Their first single was rather arty and pretentious. It was about silk stockings - but not in a Cyd Charisse way... oh no... Fifteen years after Dylan sang Blowing In The Wind, and seven years before Morrissey sang Meat Is Murder, The Human League kept the tradition alive with the only protest song ever written about silkworms. [*]

"Listen to the voice of Buddha
Saying stop your sericulture
Little people like your offspring
Boiled alive for someone's stocking
Buddha's watching, Buddha's waiting"

Filthy murderers: that's what you lot are.

Johnny Rotten called them 'trendy hippies' in the NME. He was wrong on both counts, but apart from that, he was completely right. David Bowie called them 'the future of pop music'. (He was just wrong. Sexy girls were the future of pop music. They still are. Eventually, The Human League got some sexy girls, and had some hit records.)

I'm sorry to say Phil Oakey now has a lot less hair. (Less hair than Perfect Virgo for example.) There isn't enough to ask his hairdresser to style it lopsided anymore.

So instead, here's a picture of Angus Young from AC/DC. Angus still appears on stage in his school uniform, even though he's 53.

Parental advisory: lock up your mum.

[*] Unless you count 'Animals Are Cut In Two' by Half-Handed Cloud. But that doesn't mention any species by name. And it's not very good.


Perfect Virgo said...

I am envious of old people with haystacks for hair, reminds me of when even I had long flowing locks. In the seventies I was often mistaken for Francis Rossi. ;)

KAZ said...

I loved the hair and the music ....and Sheffield.
But I'd no idea they were so innovative.