And it all comes down to hate.
I wrote the following as part of a review of the first Black Box Recorder album about three or four years back. Never published, because I’m incredibly lazy.
“England Made You. Cast you out of ore dragged from the dying pits, formed you a body of clay and a mind of steel. Teased you with a glimpse of the future, and then took it away, kneeled by your ear and whispered in an almost inaudible voice that nothing would ever change. Ever. And there’s nothing that you can do about it.
So you wake up every day and hate the sunrise. You hate the curtains of your room. You hate the toothpaste as it vomits from its tube. You hate the static-skies above you on the way to work. You hate its concrete mirror of the floor below. You hate the people and their small petty hopes and the large vicious jealousies. You hate their lumpen lives and their sexless bodies. You hate how they consider any departure from the missionary to be kinky. You hate the class obsession (yet note their clothes and their accents). You hate them until you choke on your bitterness and disgust.
And, most of all, you hate them because they’re just like you.”
Great, I know. Great writing. Just not true.
Or rather, if it was true then, it was only true because of our inherent innocence — but we were frankly unaware of how further down the spiral we could descend. We weren’t aware that we were just standing in the city of Dys, and the Dante of British Pop has a lot more to show us yet.
So, on this, his first Solo Album by name — though even if you don’t count The Auteurs as an essential Solo unit, then Baader Meinhoff certainly beats it to the draw. All of Haines’ favourite things — in other words the rest of the civilized world’s unfavourite things.
(A fairly typical reference when talking about Haines is talking about the alternative history where he, instead of Suede, won the first Mercury Music Prize, catapulting the Auteurs british pop to the forefront of a new generation and gifting him the decade. Be glad this had happened. If Luke Haines were in the position Radiohead are in now, he wouldn’t hold gigs in circus tents. He’ll build a portable gas-chamber and be the first band to play Auswitz. Or — and this idea won’t go away — build his own, and funnel everyone he hates into it. I.e. Everyone. This isn’t Rock’n’Roll. This is Genocide.)
Perpetually caught in a trap of 4/5 album reviews in other organs, always recognised as a talent, never hailed as a visionary. A perpetual figure in the British music scene, the one grey cloud on a summer day.
(Like the Auteurs advert circa After Murder Park in the Christmas issues of certain Music rags, picturing Haines in front of a blackboard with a half-played game of Hangman. The word was something along the lines of BR_T P__. The other writing a thank you for not including them in any of the votes.)
Some men are born bitter. Some achieve bitterness. And others have bitterness thrust upon them. With Haines, there’s the nagging sensation that he’s managed all three.
(“Children will be concieved to this album” — Brilliant)
Murders and Death-camps and bombs wrapped up in String — these are a few of his favourite things. And he’s the man who’ll have turned up the Leather and Uniforms in the Von Trap family.
Luke Haines hates you. And you don’t even deserve that.