21. Opus III – It’s A Fine Day

Whilst I might not have experienced the (ahem) primary effects of rave culture aged 11, I definitely succumbed to the vast swathe of hippy b0ll0cks that seemed to permeate the early nineties. Commune with nature! Tap mystical leylines to enhance your psychic powers! Own a minimum of three crystals and ensure that one of them is purple! Be ready to welcome our new alien overlords now they can safely invade Earth through the hole in the ozone layer! Draw all over your Girl’s World head in biro labelling the different bits of brain! And why not save the humpbacked whale while you’re at it?

I was well jealous of my best friend Karina (co-member of my Bizarre Inc tribute band and militant vegetarian), who not only owned a pack of tarot cards but some of those Chinese-style clanky metal Peace Balls as well. The closest I got was getting a book on palm-reading out of Ickenham library, and buying some incense sticks (vanilla flavour) for my bedroom, but Dad wouldn’t let me light them in case i) learning to ignite things turned out to be a gateway drug to smoking cigarettes ii) I ended up engulfing the entire house in flames by leaving them burning whilst ‘meditating’.

Opus III (and singer Kirsty Hawkshaw in particular) seemed to me like the musical embodiment of all this New Age nonsense. Plus, along with the Shamen and 2 Unlimited, Opus III were one of the priveliged few artists on Rave ’92 whose faces I had actually seen on the telly. Bald girl in a black bodysuit wiggling her hands above her head, right*? Having an an approximate image to visualise in one’s head was a big help during the countless hours of practicing doing the wiggly hand thing in my bedroom. I hope Kirsty realises that she’s partially responsible for the continued popularity of poi among my generation.

As I mentioned on the ‘Assassin’ post, Orbital were strangely absent from Rave ’92 and I only really became aware of their existence when ‘The Saint’ came out, so hearing ‘Halcyon’ for the first time a few years ago knocked me for six. Kirsty’s original vocal on ‘Fine Day’ is a dreamy utopian ramble over a shambling beat and a fluttering synth, perfect for attempting to communicate with dolphins. Chop it up and play it backwards though, and it becomes haunting and melancholy, like she’s trying to put a brave face on everything but the cracks in the facade are showing. In terms of winning my affections, ‘Fine Day’ may have ten years’ head start on ‘Halcyon’, but I know which one is more likely to make me burst into floods of tears.

Watch the video to ‘Fine Day’ below – do have a butchers at the video to ‘Halcyon’ as well, as it also features Kirsty H (with slightly more hair) doing the washing up.


*For a long time I kept picturing Sinead O’Connor in the black bodysuit instead, yikes.