Book: Black Swan Green
Author: David Mitchell
Music: Don’t You Want Me
Composer/Artist: The Human League
A word of warning – if you’re averse to early 80s pop and rock, steer clear of this place for the next few weeks. David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green is wall-to-wall nostalgia for the hits of a time when, as Elvis Costello so eloquently put it, ‘England was the whore of the world, and Margaret was her madam.’
I like to think that The Human League’s Dare was the first album I bought. That would be a cool first record to have bought. But it wasn’t. It was probably the fifth or sixth, something like that. Before that, in no particular order, came – as far as I remember – Chris De Burgh’s Best Moves, Queen’s Greatest Hits, Adam and the Ants’ Kings of the Wild Frontier, Toyah’s Anthem, and probably some others.
Of course, back in 1981 Philip Oakey – with his hair long on one side and short on the other was quite the exotic creature. He wasn’t what you’d call a great singer in the classic sense but he delivered that song with palpable vitriol. Not a bad trick for a voice that lacked emotion.
It’s a very good album – this was back in the days when I had few enough records that I would listen to the ones I had over and over again until I actually knew all the songs. Didn’t necessarily know the names of the songs but I could sing along with every word.
I wonder where that album is (and the others).