Alone In A Darkened Room With Bauhaus: An essay by Al Puppy


I do get bored, I get bored

In the flat field I get bored

I do get bored In the flat field

I get bored easily.

Although I can’t get down to London to give a speech to twenty or so MPs in Westminster (for Friends of the Earth on Thursday 23 June) about Tesco I should really be sitting here writing up one to send down any way. Got it all honed down to a bunch of soundbites, people seem surprised at how well I can articulate on Tesco for the media (even got on Radio 4 Today doing it) but being saying the same things for tv and radio and press many many times for a year now. Like a tape loop, put me in front of a microphone / camera and out it comes, even when I am knackered after spending nine hours at a planning meeting.

Sure, it needs to be done and no doubt I could have done it… but I get bored saying the same thing over and over again. So here is something else, which is also getting a bit boring by now that although Kill Your Pet Puppy was part of the ‘anarcho-punk’ scene 79 / 84 we featured as many ‘goth’ groups like Bauhaus and Southern Death Cult as anarcho ones…

So, I have spent the past couple of hours listening to lots of Bauhaus and typing up the following from KYPP 3.

Not the full interview, just highlights.

Please note the quote which says the only affinity they felt was with ‘the spirit of punk’

Kill Your Pet Puppy 3 – Summer 1980 – Still only 25p.

The cover a drawing by Brett Puppy of Mohican haired punk couple kissing. ‘She’ wears armband which reads ‘ Obedience is Slavery’. ‘He’ has tattoo which reads ‘Beyond the Law’ and T-shirt ‘Conformity is Death’.

We had a bit of an editorial discussion on this cover, which resulted in ‘female’ punk being made more masculine and ‘male’ punk being made more feminine. She got a pair of DMs and he got a bit of makeup but jaw lines reveal gender. The couple are sitting on the ground in darkness, behind them is a cityscape of black tower blocks and behind that a setting / rising sun. Above them is Ms. Puppy clutching a pair of scissors dripping blood…

On one of the tower blocks is written Bauhaus, Honey Bane, Chaos, Cuddly Toys…

Bauhaus / Telegram Sam

The perfect example of how to make a cover version your own. It screams, shrieks, crawls from the nether regions of your consciousness and scrapes its black varnished nails across your slowly awakening, red sun glossed etc… In other words, Bauhaus do it again – not a patch on their live version, but undoubtedly their best single yet. Forget CBS darlings, Adam and the Plastic replicas, THIS is what Sex people eat between meals. If our two-page interview doesn’t convince you, listen to this. Inspiring. One to smear your make up to.

I’ve got to say (only 25 years on) the ‘Telegram Sam’ side sounds pretty tame, but the other side of 12″ version with John Cale’s ‘Rose Garden Funeral of Thorns’ and ‘Crowds’ is a lot more atmospheric.

Pause. The text is printed dark pink on a lighter pink photo of the group. It is difficult for me to read. To save my beautiful eyes from damage, I will pick out a couple of highlights rather than try to transcribe whole damn thing.

They Came from Northampton: Bauhaus in jeans and tennis shoes shock

We went to interview Bauhaus after their recording of a session for Peter Powell early this year [1980]. The interview was something of a washout, not being helped by KYPP mobile recording studio which records and mixes interviews below the ability of the human ear to hear. So, here it is as remembered by our daring do reporter who rung the rags of his flu-wracked brain to remember what questions he asked and what they replied.

Bauhaus spoke to me after a day of unsuccessfully trying to record a session. I must report in accord with KYPP policy of sickening honesty that they did not speak to me from their coffins, nor did they call me from Vienna, they looked ordinary apart from their professionally peculiar guitarist Danny Ashman…

Q: What do you see as your main purpose?

A: Well to have fun mainly, of course. To continue our little experiments…

A: ‘The Flat Field’ is about boredom really.

Q: ‘Terror Couple Kill Colonel’ might seem to be about the RAF (German variety) especially with the newspaper clippings quoted in it.

A: No, it is about the IRA! Or rather it is about the way newspapers tend to trivialise important subjects and sensationalise unimportant ones. The track [also a single] is a precis of an article about the killing of a British Colonel in Germany by the IRA that had the catchy title of the headline. It was a tiny piece rubbing shoulders and god knows what else, a whole page of assorted trivia. Tits and arse.

Q: Tell us about your reason for recording ‘Rose Garden Funeral of Sores’.

A: The lyrical content and mood of the John Cale track fits in with the general diseased scheme of things. Cale’s great.

Q: What do you feel about the currently hyped London bands, Spandau and their scene? You did play Billy’s which was part of the scene?

A: If we popularised the scene then it wasn’t by our own design at all. Billy’s was just somewhere to play. We have never associated ourselves within any scene. The only affinity we have with any movement, is in the original spirit of punk… We don’t feel ourselves to be part of the Blitz scene. That goes for glam rock as well.

Q: Could you expand on the subjects mentioned by the group in the KICK interview i.e. ‘sexual energy is vital’, ‘Primeval magick is not planned’ ?

A: Sexual energy, the electrical energy that sparks, is vital to the group’s approach, especially on stage. It is the energy that runs like an undercurrent through a good performance. If it is not there or if it is weak, then the performance will be weak as well. It needs to be present when recording as well. The primeval magick mentioned relates to this. It is the spontaneous energy contained in a record or a live gig that makes the thing exciting, special atmosphere is important. The right atmosphere of a venue, studio, audience, climate can promote the magick. It is a question of chemical, electrical interaction, and reaction. It is hard to talk about it must be sensed. Felt.

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