The Damned – The Shadow of Love
“Every night, every day I experience the most exquisite pain”
The last day of November and time to quit the teenage years. I started with the Stranglers and end with the Damned – both on the comedy-horror edge of the punk scene, it seems to me. I quite like the idea of book ending the month like this, and after all the intense recent songs to finish with something that takes a sly dig at Goth music.
It reminds me that when I was at school, all 6th form students were encouraged to take morning assembly – doing a reading or presenting a sketch or a recital or something to entertain or inspire the rest of the school for 5-10 minutes before the day’s lessons started. I remember some friends playing AC/DC and headbanging on stage in leather jackets and y-fronts with cut out cardboard guitars – very silly, very Bad News. When it came to my being asked, I put on a purple paisley shirt, played a Joy Division song (possibly Decades) and got another student to read a verse by one of the Metaphysical poets – George Herbert’s The Collar, I think. Then I riffed a bit on the gloom of life, how we are all doomed, etc. What can we do?, I mused. Well, take the inspiration of Spike Milligan and the Goons, I said, and laugh in the face of despair, cueing up the Ying Tong song. I’m not sure how it went down, but I hope it showed I could laugh at myself.
Goth is a bit of a dead end. It’s very stylish and feels great swishing around in black, listening to doomy music full of gravity and atmosphere. But ultimately, it’s rather superficial and a bit silly, and didn’t do much to help me break out of my introspective self. For some people, the teenage years are when music has the most resonance and lasting significance. True to an extent for me, but if I could step back to being 20 again with what I know now, I’d realise how much more breadth, depth and quality of music there was out there for me to discover.
Eldritch, Curtis and Murphy, for me the three high priests of Goth, all took themselves too seriously and made music that is severe and intense. Vanian, Scabies et al took that formula and injected a much-needed dose of fun and a lightness of touch into the whole genre – essentially offering me a pathway out of the gloom and back to music which more directly took pleasure in life.
“…don’t be afraid to get caught in the shadow of love. Play the game take a chance or you haven’t the power of love”
Play the game take a chance or you haven’t the power of love