I've been listening to the Human League and Duran Duran on the way to and from work today and I have to say it's been a treat. Duran Duran seem to get overlooked a bit because they looked a bit like they were enjoying it all a bit too much. There is, however, a little corner of Great Britain that will forever be riding a yacht in the Caribbean staffed entirely by supermodels and wearing a linen suit and canvas shoes. What they sang about was mostly wibble, but they used synthesizers and seemed to be having a rollicker, and that is good enough for me.
I probably wouldn't have danced at the school disco, for risk of being called a 'poof', but I secretly liked them all the same. 'Is there something I should know', 'New moon on Monday' and 'The Reflex' are all personal faves.
These days, the Durannies have reformed and it's interesting to see how they've all changed. The once ladies fave, John Taylor, looks haggard, a bit too much of the high life with his ex-pat chums in L.A., methinks. Simon Le Bon has filled out, a bit like William Shatner. Oddly, Nick Rhodes, the one that wore the most make-up and everyone thought was a gay, looks great. A good advert for men moisturising, if ever there was one.
The Human League were a different kettle of fish. They all looked dour, possibly a byproduct of coming from Sheffield, and there were girls. The girls arrived later. The first incarnation was a bit weirder and did 'Being Boiled'. My first image of them is on local news, where local journo and man about town, Tony Wilson, had a spot where he introduced new talent to people getting in from work and kids getting ready for bed. The sight of the giant Phil Oakey with his half-long fringe looming over the cameraman is an image that sticks with me to this day. (I lived in Sheffield when I was a filthy student and had the privilege of spotting Mr Oakey striding through town on several occasions. Never had the courage to say hello, though.)
'Love Action' was great. Still is. I can remember the school disco and watching the girls do their 'bored girls out of Human League' dancing around their handbags. The other songs I can remember are 'White Lines' which ironically for this post was later covered by Duran Duran, and 'Doctor Doctor' by The Thompson Twins, who also had synths and were also ace, though I wouldn't have admitted that at the time, either.
The League also gave us the awesome, 'Don't you want me?', but I like 'Love Action' better 'cos of the synth bit that sounds like a cat meowing. It sounded great belting out of the speakers in my car on the way to work. I suppose I looked a bit of a tool bellowing along to 'Don't You Want Me' but I'm too old to care about stuff like that.
I'm not going to launch into how music of my era sounds better than music today. I like the Automatic for the same reasons I like the Human League. I just think it still sounds good today, like Hendrix still sounds good. Perhaps the sound of my dad saying 'this isn't proper music' still ring in my ears after all this time. Then again, he likes the blues, which makes me want to eat Brillo pads.