Friday, March 07, 2008

How did it feel?

Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of arguably the most influential record of all time, New Order's Blue Monday - known to Factory Records afiocionados simply as FAC73.

How did it feel for me when I first heard this, while sat in the 2nd floor student union bar at UCL in the spring of '83 while its pulsating bass and barely comprehensible lyrics rang out in the disco area next door? The honest answer is, absolutely terrified.

This was a record so unbearably trendy, so absolutely rooted in the dance culture that had at that time been colonised by the college's fashionable people, that it seemed to me to denote a world I could never enter. It took me a while before I overcame this instinctive aversion and added it to my record collection.

Feel free to add your own memories of the first time you heard Blue Monday in the comments. You might even care to speculate on whether the lyrics are about the death of Ian Curtis, the after-effects of cocaine, or the Falklands War, as this is something I've still not managed to work out.

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Anonymous said...

Blue Monday is one of the most breathtaking works of art I have ever encountered. Not for me the Taj Mahal and such wonders. All I need is a shiny black 12” sleeve with the catalogue number FAC 73 coded in coloured blocks in the top right-hand corner.

Eventually, I realised that the whole sleeve was designer Peter Saville’s expensive recreation of a computer’s floppy disc, but at the time it was all just modern and exciting.

You know what the record sounds like. Everybody knows it. But everything else about FAC 73 mattered, and still matters, at least in equal measure to the music.

Most of the other records I was buying at the time, except for those by OMD, who shared a designer (and, briefly, a label) with New Order, had geeky pictures of the band on the front.

The only other contenders in the artefact field were XTC, whose sleeves were fabulous, but somehow still seemed to come from a world I recognised.

I had no idea where Blue Monday came from, but I wanted to go there.

Paul Linford said...

Sadly, David, this seems to have been an anniversary that has passed by virtually unnoticed by Her Majesty's Press.