luke haines obituary
It is with deep regret that we have to announce the death of Luke Haines. Haines, who was born during the inappropriately monickered Summer Of Love in 1967, learned guitar in the red light district of Portsmouth and subsequently formally studied music at the London College of Music. After a brief spell at the helm of The Servants in the late 1980s, he formed a band called the Auteurs who were quite plainly anything but. The Auteurs, who were always solely Haines’ mouthpiece, began their career whilst the heady uniform daze of Britpop remained a vapid dream and opened their account with the gloriously recalcitrant Showgirl which had the gall to halt itself for a two second breather before it had even announced itself formally onto the pop landscape (listen again folks). Shortly after this, in 1992, he signed to Hut Recordings as The Auteurs and a debut album, New Wave, was shortlisted for the prestigious (yeah, right – as Haines once remarked “25K, haven’t those guys ever heard of inflation?”) Mercury Music Prize. Since then he has released albums as The Auteurs (Now I’m A Cowboy, After Murder Park, and How I Learned To Love The Bootboys), and as Luke Haines himself (Christie Malry’s Own Double Entry, The Oliver Twist Manifesto, Das Capital) Some people may have even spotted his other incarnations on Top Of The Pops as part of the popular performance act Black Box Recorder (England Made Me, The Facts Of Life, Passionoia) and as the decidedly unpopular but no less magnificent Baader Meinhof on Top Of The Pops 10. And such a thing exists, I assure you.
In recent years and no doubt coincident with the creative ennui engendered by the ever increasing familiarity and consequent insularity of all commercial music, Haines predominantly fell ill. Confined to a hospital bed and without the use of his arms and legs he still managed to communicate the depth of feeling he harboured for the future generation on, ahem, Future Generation. It is just so sad that he never lived to see the impact this song in particular might have had on those as yet unborn and unsullied by the tricks of our incumbents. On this day and to his grave, we salute him.
It is rather ironic that Haines recently received a nomination for a British Independent Film Award (BIFA) for his score for the movie, Christie Malry’s Own Double Entry, which was Uncut magazine’s Soundtrack Of The Year in 2001. The film and indeed the legendary BS Johnson novel which inspired it, focussed on the angst-ridden travails of an outsider who felt there was more to life than office drudgery and, so inspired, resorted to anarcho-terrorism. It could have been a mirror to Haines’ own life. In more recent times and whilst still barely alive, Haines performed solo acoustic shows before showings of the Christie .. film around the country and in the past year he was collaborating with the playwright Simon Bent on a stage musical, Property, which was taken to full workshop stage at the National Studio. Posthumously, no doubt, these recordings will see the light of day on a label such as Cemetary who currently own the rights to other recently-deceased solo artistes like Morrissey and Billy Idol.
Of course, this obituary has its own place in the Haines lexicon. Immediately prior to his death due to complications from the untreatable ailments brought about by his flirtations with sincere boredom, Haines managed to compile a list of his favourite songs for posterity.. Unsurprisingly, they were all his own work. Luckily for us however, the clever people at EMI, still suffering from the collective hangover engendered by their inability to hang on to the Pistols for more than five minutes, are rush releasing a Luke Haines boxed set of 62 incomparable tunes, many of them unavailable unto this day.
The facts of life are this: Luke Haines Is Dead features the aforementioned Showgirl, a lost BBC take of Government Book Store, further BBC session versions of The Upper Classes and Everything You Say Will Destroy You, the Rough Trade version of Housebreaker, a song actually penned with Kylie Minogue in mind called I’m A Rich Man’s Toy, live Radio One session recordings of Modern History, New French Girlfriend (written initially for Vanessa Paradis) and Chinese Bakery, Baader Meinhof outtakes of X Boogie Man (featuring a Vox Univibe keyboard once owned by Joe Meek) and Car Crash, and four Steve Albini-produced Peel Session tracks including the Jonathan King-endorsed Kids Issue. And praise can hardly come higher than that. There is more, of course: remixes including Confrontation, Dalai Lama and Fuse are no doubt present and correct due to their exorbitant individual prices on eBay; ESP Kids and the stupendous and never-before-available version of Future Generation; Das Capital diamonds Satan Wants Me, The Mitford Sisters and Bugger Bognor are presumably herein cos not enough people bought Das Capital and these tunes rank amongst Haines’ finest. If you ever needed an introduction to Haines’s work, Luke Haines Is Dead is it.
Of course Luke Haines is not dead. He is only resting. But Luke Haines Is Dead, a three CD boxed set, will be released by EMI Recordings on July 11th 2005. And Luke will be touring acoustically during the Summer. Stay tuned and do not drop out. This is the Summer of Love