Contemporary Note:

This interview took place at Virgin Records’ London HQ during the height of the year-long miner’s strike (led by the National Union of Miners’ high-profile leader Arthur Scargill), one of the defining events of 1980s Britain.

Just before the interview began, a Virgin employee poked his head around the door to ask if Andy and the band would like to do a benefit for the miners. Andy said no, looked at me and started talking almost non-stop for the next hour or so, guided only by some very gentle steering on my part.

"... We won't be doing a miner's benefit. We don't do gigs anyway but I don't like violence. I don't think the way to win friends and influence people is to attack them and that is what Scargill seems to be advocating. I think the miners are being used as an excuse. I can see so much of the personality thing going on, big ’earted Arthur trying to get himself into the history books.

“It stinks of me, me, me and not us. The fundamental mistake was not balloting the miners in the first place It went downhill from there. It’s a democratic union being operated at a sort of fascist level where you’re told what to do an not given a choice.

"We did a Rock Against Racism gig. It suddenly struck me that it was a bloody great cause but we might as well have done a National Front benefit for old people. It’s a great cause but all the money goes into potentially extreme pockets.

“I’m disgustingly moderate, you see. I find extreme left and extreme right very worrying. It can be a great cause but look whose behind it with the tin cup. Nowadays you’ve got to be young and socialist with an enormous fringe. It’s horrible, It’s like having to have The Kit. ‘Let’s get the fringe. Let’s get the socialist connections’, it stinks of fashion and fashion is horrible in any case.

To continue reading this article and to discover many more (over 140,000 words-worth!), purchase Mick Sinclair’s Adjusting the Stars: Music journalism from post-punk London. 



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