If you were one of the 60-odd people in attendance at British Ideas Corporation’s inaugural Out of the Question Q&A evening at the Half Moon in Putney, London on 30 April – featuring stalwart singer-songwriter/author Luke Haines in the hot seat (well, it was more of a traditional wooden pub chair) – hopefully you’ll have been so impressed that it became the main topic of conversation over your fully cooked English and Nurofen the following morning. We had a smashing evening and can’t wait for the next Out of the Question on 25 June with Barnsley-born actor David Bradley (Billy Casper from Kes).
“How come you chose Luke Haines?” a few Luke Haines fans asked on the night. Let’s try and give our reason. When the idea was first mooted of hosting a British Ideas Corporation Q&A evening, Luke Haines was actually the first name on the list. There’s a good reason for this. Haines is a born entertainer. Whether composing lyrics, conjuring a killer hook or penning memoirs, he persistently rams against the rulebook like a bull in a Britpop-themed china shop. Haines, nearing 50, is part of that generation of performer who did their own thing on their own terms. Suggestions from the marketing department would have been slogged to the boundary for a six.
Haines’ output in The Auteurs, Baader Meinhof and Black Box Recorder stands defiantly at the dark end of indie-pop/rock. For instance, few would base a track (“Leeds United”) on David Peace’s intensely grim Red Riding Quartet. But a lot of Haines’ oeuvre is tinged with humour. For many music journalists, this simply sailed over their heads at spy plane altitude. Then again, most music journos have got the worst music taste of anyone on the planet.
When opting for Haines, it also helped that we had his email address after a previously disastrous attempt in 2015 to hire the musician as a columnist on a failed magazine launch (the founder/editor-in-chief seriously loathed Haines’ acerbic words on baristas and London coffee culture; however, the article was superb and can be read here).
If you haven’t read Haines’ autobiographical masterpieces Bad Vibes: Britpop And My Part In Its Downfall and Post Everything: Outsider Rock And Roll, then repair instantly to Amazon and order both. Stuffed to the gunwales with invective and spite, Haines’ tomes enthral and it’s this homespun brand of spitting-venom that we were keen to recreate in front of a live audience. We emailed Luke at 9pm and by 9am the next morning came the answer: “Yes, I’m up for that.” We were delighted. Haines did not disappoint. It was a fantastic night!
Did we record the event? Possibly… we don’t know yet but if we can get hold of a recording then we’ll transcribe and get it on the site. (Now, a Luke Haines fan on the night at the Half Moon, with the surname Quinn, emailed British Ideas asking if he could write for us. It came through in our junk-mail folder and was lost! Please email us again!)
Hopefully see some of you on Sunday 30 June at the Half Moon for our evening with David Bradley. Tickets are available from here!
Luke Haines’ music choices, played after the Q&A, were as follows: 1. “Sea Song” – Robert Wyatt; 2. “Motorhead” – Hawkwind; 3. “Sweet Leaf” – Black Sabbath; 4. “Over The Rainbow” – Gene Vincent; 5. “Crow And A Baby” – The Human League; 6. “Trams Of Old London” – Robyn Hitchcock; 7. “Death And Night And Blood (Yukio)” – The Stranglers; 8. “Das Lied Der Deutschen” – Nico; 9. “Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon” – Jefferson Airplane; 10. “Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up” – Jeff Simmons; 11. “Clear Spot” – Captain Beefheart; 12. “Silly Thing” – Sex Pistols; 13. “Is That All There Is” – Peggy Lee; 14. “Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow” – Funkadelic.