Dec 10


FT + Popular153 comments • 9,904 views

#646, 9th June 1990

“World In Motion” is the ultimate 1990 record, but oddly the specific World Cup it reminds me of is 2002: living in London, broadly optimistic about England’s prospects, watching football in the morning then going out in the afternoon sunshine and having a beer, maybe dancing later. That timelag made it a topsy-turvy experience, gave the sensation of the usual order of a World Cup summer being turned enjoyably upside down. The same kind of pleasant dislocation, in fact, that struck me when I heard, 12 years earlier, that New Order were going to make the England team record, and it was going to be called “E For England”.

Well, it wasn’t, but given the chain of marvelous unlikeliness this did set off – New Order doing a football song, New Order at number one, John Barnes rapping on a chart-topping hit – I can’t begrudge one missing bit of cheekiness. The mooted title also points at what makes the track work – this really, genuinely “ain’t a football song”, the sport takes its place in a more universal celebration of summer, freedom, optimism, and most of all dance music.

It’s a rightful place, too. I’d learned the fat kid’s defensive disdain for football, but even I’d become aware of a counter-melody to the constant establishment song of thuggery, tragedy and mistrust. The idea of E’d-up hooligans hugging on the terraces is one of the great fond legends of the late 80s, potent whatever its literal truth. But presenting football and dance music as incongruous, ironic partners obscured deeper connections. The lifestyle of the casual, grafting to get money for a European jaunt and returning with clothes and style ideas, has pretty obvious parallels with acid house culture in the UK (and involved lots of the same people). It’s not a huge jump from imported trainers to imported 12″s. Italy being a prime source of both, of course. So when the Italo house piano – a feature of almost every good #1 this year – drops in mid-song for the “We. Want. Goals.” sample – this record stops seeming unlikely and instead becomes something gloriously, inevitably, right.

After that pivot point you get the England half of the record. Before, you get a New Order single – and a very good one. Not perhaps their greatest – not “Bizarre Love Triangle” or “Regret” or “Run”. But their virtues – Barney’s unaffected earnestness, the efficient snap of the drum programming, and especially the beautiful overlapping runs of bass, guitar and keyboard – are all here. I sometimes get the feeling New Order fans – Americans in particular – see “World In Motion” as a novelty or an aberration, when really it’s a validation: this is a band at their peak, following their best album. They’ve gone through grim times, found a kind of salvation on the dancefloor and played their part in taking a whole culture with them. This single is as necessary to their wider story as “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. And to be honest I listen to it a great deal more often.

As for the football section – well, there are a lot of Englishmen who know few raps from memory but could recite John Barnes’ at a moment’s prompting. It has heart and gusto and – a genuine rarity this in a World Cup song – it actually talks tactics. And yes, you can’t have a football song without some degree of chanting, but “World In Motion” earns it – the “Arrivederci!” bit appears as a natural, joyful, end to the song instead of its main motive force.

In the end, though, a culture gets the football songs it deserves. And it’s easy to forget how good England sometimes felt in 1990. The optimism in “World In Motion”, the sense of possibility, was very real and hard to put into words now without sounding pie-eyed or rote – pop was revitalised, the world was changing, youth culture was transformed, Thatcher was weakening (and would finally fall that winter). Football had played a hidden role in setting up some of these cultural shifts and here it was, accepting its invitation to the party.

For Mexico 86 I’d hardly paid attention, for France 82 I’d only cared about the Panini stickers. Italia 90 was the first World Cup I followed: as it turned out I was hardly alone, and the tournament’s gone down as one beginning for the great gentrifying and commercialising changes in football in the 20 years since. At the time of “World In Motion” this future went mostly unpredicted – instead there was a Utopian streak in pop thought, a sense of the coming together of genres, classes, eras that this record with its mix of ’66 and ’88 caught exactly. Maybe it was just that I was 17. Looking back it seems a little more bittersweet, a high tide of confidence – the Utopia never arrived, and this is the last time we’ll meet 1966 on a hit record (football song or no) as an equal, not as a chastising ghost. But for now Summer is beginning, the team is ready, and the future is an open goal.



  1. 1
    Tom on 29 Dec 2010 #

    Posting this today, it would be wrong of me not to mention that “Love Will Tear Us Apart” has become a more enduring fan song than this (though is it sung in football? I dunno).

  2. 2
    MichaelH on 29 Dec 2010 #

    There’s an argument to be made that Bobby Robson was responsible for Cool Britannia/Britpop, if we first accept that the 1990 World Cup was the crucial event in the rehabilitation of laddism: that to be working class, interested in casual clothes and football, was not necessarily to be a hoodied hoolie. Admittedly Madchester was going on concurrently, but with darker undercurrents than the 90s’ celebration of laddism every really offered nourishment to. England’s success at Italia 90, with its explicitly working class hero in Paul Gascoigne, spawned the respectablisation of football and fostered Loaded culture, both of which made the ground fertile for Britpop a few years later. And without Bobby Robson there would have been no tactical reshuffle to take England through to the second stage, there would likely have been no Gascoigne at the World Cup – plenty of England managers would not have given a chance to a wild kid who couldn’t do what his coaches wanted, and no moment of national catharsis after the semi.
    No Bobby R, no Noel G. Just saying.

  3. 3
    punctum on 29 Dec 2010 #

    In 1990, 1989 seemed to have occurred a million years ago. Whereas in 1989 we had Hillsborough, Jive Bunny and despair, now there was on offer the World Cup, rave culture and hope. It may be that the gradual embrace of football by the middle classes was welcomed with open arms as a systematic, more subtle raid on working class culture – try to get an average seat for a Chelsea home game today and you won’t get much change out of £60 – and its promise may have been as illusory as that of rave.

    In 1990, though, it felt right – and how right it was that, twenty years after “Back Home,” England’s World Cup song should be written and performed by the greatest of all pop groups; if we count Joy Division and New Order as one group (and if we’re going to count the Beatles of “Free As A Bird” as the Beatles then really we have to) then there has been none greater. The Beatles changed music twice, but JD/NO did it three times; and as the group who more than anyone else helped demolish the gates and build the bridge towards dance and rave culture, without whom the 1990 charts would not have been strengthened and coloured brightly by the Roses or the Mondays or Primal Scream or so many glorious and inglorious others – can we even imagine things like Candy Flip’s dazed take on “Strawberry Fields Forever” reaching the Top 100, let alone number three, without this precedent? – it was fitting that they should have been given the opportunity to use the football song to celebrate this new colour, this hopeful second summer of love, as well as to subvert it.

    Whereas 12 months previously there lay regret, hate, death and fans being treated like the inhabitants of a veal calf truck, now there was the option to stand up again, to make a new start. The England squad made it to the semi-finals with style and honour, did not disgrace themselves, and “World In Motion” reflects a confidence wise enough not to spill over into arrogance. Bernard Sumner, backed by the squad, sings “Love’s got the world in motion/And I can’t believe it’s true” with genuine wonder (the Wall down, Mandela free, Thatcher on the way out) and to hear Hook’s bass cascading like a nasturtium on a trampoline in this context is a joy.

    The House undertow is expertly handled, and the intentionally self-mocking rap, penned by Keith Allen and performed by a knowing John Barnes (the double entendre of “there’s only one way to beat them/Get round the back” – smuggling one’s stash of Ecstasy past the club bouncers? – and the glad but definite “We ain’t no hooligans/This ain’t a football song”), leads the way towards the record’s final subversion; are they really singing “E for England”? Probably not (it’s “we’re play-ING for England” but with the “ING” sung, or at least mixed, to sound like “E”), but its dissolving of boundaries, even for this Scotland/Italy supporter (well, Pavarotti’s 19-year-old recording of “Nessun Dorma,” used as the BBC’s theme tune to the World Cup campaign, shot to number two not long afterwards), still causes me to blink with unrestrained glee.

    I think: if only Ian Curtis had conquered himself and lived to write and appear on “World In Motion,” and if only we had had the courage to take on this modest proposal and do something with it (let alone run with it)…New Order’s only direct appearance in Popular was the climax of the finest unbroken run of number one singles since 1979, and as with all peaks, the only way to go was down (as we shall shortly see). But if “Killer” was a timely warning about the downside of this change in culture, then “World In Motion” presents its manifesto – this is how it could be, if only we wanted it. And its key line of “When something’s good, it’s never gone” is intensely moving in a New Order sense – if “Everything’s Gone Green” is the best single ever made, because it’s about people struggling to find their way back into the world after an incalculable and near unbearable loss, and then they accidentally invent something new and are therefore enabled to live again, then “World In Motion” has the fortitude and patience to leave the chill of “Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey” death behind and make everything, not just football, live again. They think it’s all over? It never is.

  4. 4
    Simon on 29 Dec 2010 #

    World In Motion never became a “terrace chant”, if that’s what you mean. What it has done is recommodified Barnes in the way Bobby Charlton was once (as in the fanzine boom of the late 80s-early 90s) primarily remarked upon for his combover before his skills; mention him to your average online ironic football fan and they’ll doubtless go on about his rapping before his golden age at Liverpool, his breaking barriers at Watford (there’s a clip on YouTube somewhere of Michael Barrymore lightly blacked up pretending to be Barnes from the BBC coverage of the 1984 Cup final), his celebrated goal in the Maracana, whatever. Apparently only five players turned up to recording, thinking it’d be another cliched squad bellowing effort, and all of them got a go at the rap, including Gazza and the not all that coherent to begin with Peter Beardsley.

    Fairly interesting sidenote about this is Kenneth Wolstenholme’s commentary right at the start, although never officially noted as such, has been re-recorded, and you can tell because he gets it wrong (starts “well…”, then different intonations)

  5. 5
    Matthew H on 29 Dec 2010 #

    Nice to hear from a man who loves ‘World In Motion’ even more than I do. A friend bought it for me for my 18th birthday at the end of that May, and it chimed wonderfully with my excitement at that landmark, school’s final finish, the upcoming tournament where – yes – anything seemed possible, etc. Anything seemed possible everywhere.

    Couple of things:

    #3 I think they say ‘E for England’ at the very start of the chant before it moves to ‘playing for England’. Could be wrong; could easily relisten, of course.

    #1 United fans, BLESS them, have always sung “Giggs will tear you apart again” and I don’t think they were the first. Who did Wagner Love play for?

  6. 6
    Billy Smart on 29 Dec 2010 #

    “The 1990 World Cup was a crucial event in the rehabilitation of laddism” – Well, thanks for that.

    I did really want to like it, my favourite group recording an England football song. Technique had meant everything to me at 16 and 17, the poetry of disco existentialism, the pinning down of intangible found moments and feelings of bliss and loss… The residual moments of NO epiphany can be found in the record, as identified by Tom and other popular correspondents. But any record that has a lot of lehry blokes chanting about “Eng-er-land” is always going to run against a brick wall of Billy distaste in the end. I’m entirely English, but I always feel more likely to get beaten up during a World Cup, you see. “Oi! Mate! Eng-er-land! Eng-er-land! Freak!” The combination of drink, shouting and empty-headed nationalism is wholly repellent to me.

    For a record that carries such a historical reputation, I have to report that the Eltham sixth form reception was one of blanket indifference – It was agreed to be better than other football records, but nobody other than me seemed to have had much time for New Order in the first place – They were insufficiently rocking for snakebite indie types, and not seen as offering proper dance or pop music by the majority.

    The John Barnes rap was heard with derision by everyone, though, I recollect. As with ‘Vogue’ its by far and away the bit that I like the best now.

  7. 7
    Billy Smart on 29 Dec 2010 #

    #2 Watch: A week of New Kids On The Block’s ‘Step By Step’. Less well remembered than ‘World In Motion’, and rightly so.

  8. 8
    Billy Smart on 29 Dec 2010 #

    MMWatch: David Stubbs, May 26 1990;

    “I can’t quite reconcile myself to this latterday trend in which they attempt to make football songs quite *good*. Getting New Order in to do the England song seems to me a completely uncalled for attempt to attain credibility for the genre. It never works. ‘World In Motion’ is a perfectly acceptable piece of New Order’s digital existentialism, Bernard Albrecht’s frail musings taut over scurrying synthesiser rhythms. But he’s singing about football for f***’s sake. About lost moments, remote possibilities, blue eyes and grey eyes, yes. About man-to-man marking, no. It’s not a proper subject for New Order or any such band. It’s like singing about a nice pie, or a pint of lager, or a joke. I like all those things, but not in pop. The pleasures are mutually incompatible, like salt and sugar.

    Mercifully, the self-consciously boorish vocals of the “footballers” get a low profile on ‘World In Motion’, though John Barnes’ rather swaggering rap about how he’s going to get behind the defence should mean he’ll have to indulge in a spot of hat-eating on the early flight home.”

    Stubbs awarded single of the week to Front Line Assembly’s challenging ‘Mental Distortion’. Also reviewed that week;

    Northside – Shall We Take A Trip?
    Pop Will Eat Itself – Touched By The Hand Of Cicciolina
    The Scottish World Cup Squad – Say It With Pride
    Deborah Harry – Maybe For Sure
    Frazier Chorus – Cloud 8
    St Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart

  9. 9
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 29 Dec 2010 #

    “The pleasures are mutually incompatible, like salt and sugar”: the nonsensical declaration of a man who doesn’t cook…

  10. 10
    punctum on 29 Dec 2010 #

    Ah, Front Line Assembly. When are we going to get Eighties Canadian Industrial Hardcore Week on the X-Factor, eh, Simon (“It’s only Skinny Puppy!”)?

  11. 11
    Billy Smart on 29 Dec 2010 #

    Barnes himself had a disappointing Italia 90, of course, although if his goal against Belgium had been allowed things might be remembered differently.

    At the same time as ‘World In Motion’ he could be seen on TV advertising Lucosade in a dressing room “After ninety minutes of sheer hell, you need refreshment!” (Rob Newman’s post-World Cup Barnes impersonation “After sixteen minutes of sheer hell, I get substituted”)

    The main TV memory of Italia 1990 is the Peter Purves standing in Wembley Stadium advertisment for the Electricity Board “Allow me to ENLIGHTEN you!”

    And I remind everybody that the reason why Paul Gasgoine wept in the semi final was not because England sadly lost, but because he’d just received a yellow card and would miss any subsequent final – i.e. for reasons of self-pity, not patriotic team spirit, as many people seem to misremember.

  12. 12
    punctum on 29 Dec 2010 #

    That’s a bit cruel; admittedly he shouldn’t have been a doofus and got a second yellow in the first place but were all these tears and Robson’s consolations really completely self-centred? Surely there must have been a great deal of patriotism-related sorrow within him?

  13. 13
    Billy Smart on 29 Dec 2010 #

    I suppose that’s true – Self-destructive confusion was a part of what made Gasgoine such a compelling footballer to watch, like a soccer Hurricane Higgins. The structured world of the football pitch was the one place where he could escape from the dismal pressures of being much-loved daft-as-a-brush “Gazza”/ the wifebeating obsessive compulsive voices in his own head, but even there the madness would take over – see also the other Gazza moment that everyone remembers from the time, in managing to break his leg in the act of kicking Gary Charles’ sternum in his insane foul in the 1991 Cup final.

  14. 14
    23 Daves on 29 Dec 2010 #

    #11 That Barnes advert is possibly a rare example of advertising which did subliminally burrow into my brain and cause me to buy Lucozade Sport more often than I might. He’s so downright furious in the advert as well, a close runner to Jimmy Saville’s seatbelt campaign in the forceful scowling stakes. Very unsettling. I swear he made me feel I had to buy it.

    As for “World in Motion”, I remember New Order being interviewed on Radio One and announcing they were “working on” the England football song, and it being treated as a joke at the nation’s expense. They had to repeat themselves a couple of times before the DJ in question would accept they were being serious. It’s not particularly difficult to understand why, but the end result to me is still a pretty good New Order single. I suppose a small part of me does find it frustrating that this went to number one and “True Faith”, “Fine Time”, “Bizarre Love Triangle” and “Blue Monday” (even “Blue Monday” for Christ’s sake, which I think overall sold a lot more than “World In Motion”!) didn’t. For all that, it’s not a shameful piece of work, no fanbase led fluke or over-compromised piece of fluff, and whilst all New Order singles from this period sum up the late eighties and early nineties extraordinarily well for me, this certainly is the boldest, most direct declaration of the lot. I won’t say too much about “Three Lions” yet, but “World in Motion” hasn’t a hint of bitterness or victimhood about it, it’s just alive with the possibility of success. I’m not saying that it necessarily caused me to watch the World Cup for the first time that year, but I’m sure it helped nudge me in that direction. It made it sound vibrant and alive, something very few football songs actually manage to do.

  15. 15
    DietMondrian on 29 Dec 2010 #

    The 1990 World Cup is remembered more fondly than it deserves to be – the England v Ireland group game was abysmal, England scraped through the group, scraped past Belgium in a game that was goalless for 119 minutes, scraped past the much more entertaining Cameroon…the final was appalling too, and I think the goals-per-game ratio for the tournament was the lowest ever (I haven’t checked this). Cameroon beating holders Argentina in the opener and Maradona blubbing after the final were among the very few high spots.

    Nine out of 10 for New Order, though.

  16. 16
    anto on 29 Dec 2010 #

    Brrrrillliant review. The record is an intriuging patchwork perhaps all the better for being made by a band who were mildly interested in rather than crazy about football (just imagine an Oasis World Cup song -on second thoughts don’t). Not all of it works, the EN-GER-LAND chant is obnoxious and my allegiance at Italia 90 – the first World Cup I watched was with the boys in green , but yes mostly it’s ok and Barneseys rap provided one of the best moments of Gavin & Stacey.

  17. 17
    George on 29 Dec 2010 #

    High point of Italia 90: Maradona mouthing obscenities at the Italians booing the Argentine national anthem before the final against West Germany.

  18. 18
    wichita lineman on 29 Dec 2010 #

    Like DietM, I’d have to disagree with Punctum’s suggestion that “the England squad made it to the semi-finals with style and honour” (Italy did, though). The Cameroon game was embarrassing, and we scraped past an ok Belgium. The Germany game was exceptional, which everyone remembers. I went to my Grandad’s funeral the next day. Quite an emotional summer.

    As for hooligans hugging on the terraces, I was moving in similar circles to the Boys Own boys in 1990 and whenever the subject of football came up they’d talk about crews, or Chelsea in the 80s, and seemed to find it hard to understand that though I was into football I really fucking hated the hooligan aspect. They were the people who had ruined it for me, my dad, and several friends who still wouldn’t return to the fold for a few more years. The Boys Own lot were retired hooligans btw after finding an alternative way of getting that stuff out of their system.

  19. 19
    Mark M on 30 Dec 2010 #

    Tom, you were clearly paying so little attention in 1982 you didn’t notice that the World Cup was in Spain, not France…

    Re 15: Yes, there was a lot that was grim about the 1990 World Cup, but then 1966 doesn’t have a great rep in other countries, either.

  20. 20
    thefatgit on 30 Dec 2010 #

    WIM evokes mixed memories for me. In fact, Italia 90 evokes mixed memories, and the both of them cross-pollenate images, experiences and reminiscences across the whole of that summer.

    Still smarting from a personally catastrophic spring, the summer brought warmth and hope. I had settled into an odd existence in London, moving into a squat near Elephant & Castle tube. Making do with never having much money, but always seemed to scrape together enough for “substances”.
    I mixed with some dodgy types back then, and did some things I now very much regret. None of that seemed to matter. Living in London was an exciting and dangerous adventure one minute, and as close to hell on earth the next. On the hottest day, we danced in the fountains in Trafalgar Square. We’d do silly stuff like dishing out Love Heart sweets to the punters in the Heaven queue underneath Charing Cross Station. Ecstacy broke down barriers and prejudice. I saw a skinhead hug a black rent-boy in Leicester Square. The World Cup almost intruded into the summer vibe. England would be lucky to get out of the group, let alone make it to the knock-out stage, was the general consensus at the start. Much of the football from my perspective was lost in a druggy fug, but the Germany game stays long in the memory.

    I watched that semi-final in the strangest place I ever saw a televised game. Few people can say they saw that match in The Crypt at St Martin-in-the-Fields church, which back then was a soup kitchen for the homeless. There were about 70 of us crammed into there watching on a small, but adequate TV mounted on the wall. It was an emotional rollercoaster. The first half was a cagey affair, with both teams lacking clear-cut chances. In the second half, Brehme’s free kick was deflected into Shilton’s goal by Paul Parker. Lineker levelled with 10 minutes of normal time left. Cue wild abandon, screaming, cheering and hugging amongst some of the lowliest individuals you’d ever meet.
    Extra time came and the biting of dirty fingernails began. The Gazza yellow card was met with howls of disapproval. We all knew what it meant, no Gazza in the final. The tears in his eyes were significant. A watershed moment, we were to discover much later just exactly how significant. Gascoigne pleading with the Brazilian ref, Lineker in the background motioning to the bench, mouthing “watch him”. It was the most significant moment in English football history since ’66 and all that. The New Football baptised in Gazza’s tears. The rest? Dreams shattering in slow motion; Platt’s goal disallowed for offside, the penalty shoot out with big red x’s against Pearce and Waddle’s names, the inquest and the cruel full-stop of Pavarotti serenading us up the steps and into the night.

    WIM was and still is my favourite footy song, even if it wasn’t really a footy song. It reminds me of when my life was at it’s most desperate and uncertain and all those crazy memories from that summer when we came 4th in a football tournament watched by 26 billion people, including 70 lowlifes in a crypt.

    “You’ve got to hold and give, but do it at the right time”. Too true, Barnesy, too true.

  21. 21
    swanstep on 30 Dec 2010 #

    I appreciate the enthusiasm of this essay, but I can’t say the song does much for me. Billy Smart has expressed pretty much exactly my take on the record, and Dietmondrian has expressed pretty much exactly my thoughts about Italia ’90 (utterly dreadful, negative, goal-parched tournament). That said, like ‘Do they know it’s xmas?’ WiM does kind of ‘get there in the end’, so in fact it always slightly surprises me when I hear it out somewhere (say every 4 years). WiM is always just a little more pleasant and a little less unctuous than I remember it I find…. Anyhow, I’d give it a 5 or a 6.

    Unrelatedly, the Bowie review blog ‘Pushing ahead of the dame’ to which freakytrigger links is up to the song ‘Station to Station’, and it has really excelled itself. Highly recommended.

  22. 22
    thefatgit on 30 Dec 2010 #

    Note that 26 billion was the recorded TV audience for the whole of the World Cup. That statement might have scanned wrong!

  23. 23
    vinylscot on 30 Dec 2010 #

    Definitely the best of the England world cup songs, but still not a patch on Scotland’s 1982 “We Have A Dream” epic (John Gordon Sinclair) and the Republic’s 1990 “Put ‘Em Under Pressure” (Maire Brennan and Horslips!).

    ..and I always felt a little sorry for David Platt, who had emerged the previous season as a world-class player, almost single-handedly driving Aston Villa to second place in the league, and who was probably England’s best, and most important player at the finals. He never really got the recognition I felt he deserved, being rather overshadowed by Gazzamania, and Lineker’s four goals (Platt scored three).

  24. 24
    the pinefox on 30 Dec 2010 #

    The comparison with ‘do they know it’s xmas?’ is somehow a good and convincing one!

    I think a fact that Ewing probably underestimates is how separate football and pop were at this time, compared to now. I think Ewing slightly (implicitly?) conveys a sense that ‘world in motion’ was omnipresent and football fans were all singing it and it appeared at the start of every England game on TV, etc.

    But in fact, for instance, I don’t remember ever hearing it on a football programme on TV during the World Cup – because pop music wasn’t part of TV football in those days. It is now (it is NOW!) – in a way that I (and surely others) find bland and uninspiring: teams walk out at Wembley to Arcade Fire, Lily Allen is in the background on Football Focus, etc. That crossover has happened. But I don’t think it had happened in 1990, so I don’t think that football culture (including media coverage of football) had much to say about this song. Maybe pop culture, DJs et al had more to say about it? Ewing points out to me that he really associates this track with 2002, and I think this helps to confirm my point, as the pop-footy crossover was very well established by 2002.

    I thought today how Ewing doesn’t mention the one area of footy – pop culture crossover that I would have been aware of at the time, namely the fanzine culture. The primary musical correlates of this would have been Billy Bragg or (a band I don’t know very well) Half Man Half Biscuit. I don’t think this culture had much to do with dance music, but maybe its being an ‘indie’ culture helped lay the ground for New Order to make this record (though I’m not sure what ‘helped lay the ground’ could really mean in that proposition, as I don’t think the FA were reading fanzines).

  25. 25
    Cumbrian on 30 Dec 2010 #

    Seconding (thirding?) the call on England’s performance in the 1990 WC – they weren’t very good but came up against a set of teams that also weren’t that good or lacked the killer instinct to put them away (the Ireland game, perhaps apocryphally – I’d need to check, inspired the Italian newspaper headline “No Football Please, We’re British”, the Dutch had failed to hang onto the heights of Euro 88, then a scrape past Belgium, needing two penalties – one of which was massively dodgy – to get past Cameroon). Indeed, in common with most of England’s footballing ventures since 1990, the minute England played a decent side, they got beaten.

    On the song, it’s pretty good. John Barnes even manages to raise his game from his previous rap on Liverpool’s awful “Anfield Rap” – perhaps the most awful football song of all time (though I am sure there are plenty of contenders). I still don’t think it’s a top tier New Order song, as I prefer the taut-likes of Blue Monday, True Faith, Bizarre Love Triangle, etc, to the more open euphoria of WIM. A second tier New Order song is still pretty damn good though.

  26. 26
    the pinefox on 30 Dec 2010 #

    I always thought England 1990 WC were alternately good and bad:

    bad vs Ireland
    good vs Holland
    bad vs Egpyt
    good vs Belgium
    bad vs Cameroon
    good vs Germany
    possibly bad vs Italy

  27. 27
    the pinefox on 30 Dec 2010 #

    btw one small way of testing my sense that ‘world in motion’ was not especially a big part of soccer consciousness at the time would be to go back to Pete Davies’ All Played Out and see if he mentions it. I suppose he probably does. But then he probably wasn’t an average fan anyway. So my test is flawed.

  28. 28
    23 Daves on 30 Dec 2010 #

    #24 I’m not the world’s best authority on football, so I could well be utterly wrong here – but I’m sure that New Order had been used in the background of the football coverage on television before “World in Motion” was issued. I remember this as being a time when the association between indie (and specifically “Madchester”) and football was just starting to kick in, and I’m sure New Order had actually written a few soundtrack doodles for various football programmes in the run-up to its release as well.

    Beyond my vague assertions, however, I can’t provide any evidence. Perhaps someone else knows more?

  29. 29
    the pinefox on 30 Dec 2010 #

    >>> The backing track for the chorus of “World in Motion” bore some striking (and controversial) similarities to the instrumental theme tune for the DEF II current-affairs show, Reportage.[3] This had been written for the show by Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, also of New Order (and who would later be known as The Other Two).

    shows that they were making theme music, though not footy. Most funny thing about this entry, though, is:

    >>> The single’s B-side, in reality an early version of the A-side, was titled “The B-Side”, extending the football theme of the release, and was produced by former Swans member Roli Mosimann.

    I don’t think ‘the B-side’ extends a football theme. ‘Second half’ or ‘extra time’ might do.

  30. 30
    Rory on 30 Dec 2010 #

    I heard this playing last week over the speakers of the skating rink in Princes Street Gardens here in Edinburgh. Even given our city’s reputation as the least Scottish city in Scotland, it felt a bit odd.

    Naturally enough “World in Motion” didn’t top the Australian charts, managing only a peak of 21 (versus 4 for “Blue Monday”), and I didn’t encounter it until a few years later, after my infatuation with Republic prompted me to pick up their greatest hits CD. This was clearly a superior track, and the unpleasant undertones of the “Eng-er-lund” chant didn’t mean as much to me back then, so I rated it highly at the time. Nowadays, even though I’m well aware of the chant’s connotations, I still rate it, because the juxtaposition of hooliganism and New Order is so unlikely – a tension that makes the song more interesting and successful rather than less, to my ears. I’d agree with an 8.

  31. 31
    thefatgit on 30 Dec 2010 #

    I seem to remember Channel 4’s coverage of Tour De France used a New Order track as it’s theme tune. I can’t recall it’s title unfortunately.

  32. 32
    The Lurker on 30 Dec 2010 #

    Like Tom I too associate this with 2002. I went to see New Order play in Finsbury Park during the 2002 tournament (and while England were still in it) and at one point Bernard Sumner gave the audience a choice of the next song – “Rock the Shack” or “World in Motion”. Needless to say WIM got the vote. I think one of their roadies did the rap.

    I don’t have very strong memories of the song first time round, although I do remember the tournament. Fond though my memories of the above gig are, I think a 7 would be about right for this.

  33. 33
    Cumbrian on 30 Dec 2010 #

    31: A quick google reveals two contrasting opinions – it’s either Tour De France by Kraftwerk or a composition by Pete Shelley from the Buzzcocks. I think Pete Shelley is right looking at the google hits on it.

    We are talking about the one that dissolves into a synth rendition of Frere Jacques right? That’s the one I remember anyway.

  34. 34
    DietMondrian on 30 Dec 2010 #

    @32 – I was at that same gig. The rumour around where I was standing was that John Barnes was going to turn up to do the rap. Instead, the roadie made a complete bodge of it.

    @ 33 – Yes, Channel 4’s theme was the one that referenced Frere Jacques – most certainly not Kraftwerk’s track. Listen here:


  35. 35
    Erithian on 30 Dec 2010 #

    Just to note a piece of trivia – Kenneth Wolstenholme was a month short of his 70th birthday when this was number one, making him the oldest person to top the chart. Although Nigel Patrick, who provided the “we want goals” commentary (from the official “Goal!” film of the tournament I think) would have been 77 – he died in 1981.

    Kenneth Wolstenholme is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever been privileged to meet through football – I was lucky enough to chair a London FSA meeting at which he spoke, months before the inauguratio of the Premier League, and his main tenet was “Money talks, but it shouldn’t be allowed to monopolise the conversation”. He was one of us, was Ken.

    There was a discussion in When Saturday Comes about his commentary on the fourth goal, which actually went “And here comes Hurst, he’s got – some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over – it is now!” The question was, what was he about to say Geoff Hurst had got? Best answer was “he’s got… a really cute arse!” I like to think he’d have had a good chuckle about that.

  36. 36
    MikeMCSG on 30 Dec 2010 #

    # 28 The key is remembering that pre-Premiership, ITV had the rights to most football coverage from the mid-80s onwards and pre-Abramovich and Wenger most of the action was in the North West covered by Granada who employed a certain Anthony H Wilson as both a regional neswreader and cultural commentator, You do the maths ! I remember some clueless bod from the FA , possibly the charismatic Graham Kelly himself saying theyd noticed New Order were used a lot in sports coverage. Well I wonder why that was.

    I feel like the bad fairy here as I quite like the song -it’s a middling NO track – but disagree with a lot of the commentary. So taking it in order :

    Tom- “Technique” isn’t their best album. “Low Life” has better songs and doesn’t have the abysmal “Finetime” on it.

    # 2 Bobby Robson nearly didn’t take Gazza to Italy. Under the malign influence of the ultra-negative Don Howe he thought he was untrustworthy and only two goals in a warm-up game (possibly Czechoslovakia) persuaded him to take the risk. For the second World Cup in a row he took the crocked Bryan Robson along and as in Mexico it was only when he was ruled out that England started to perform.

    # 3 However JD might have developed had Ian Curtis survived you really can’t see him getting involved in this. Even the other guys were so little interested in football they had to bring Keith Allen in to help them with the lyric. This record really marks the death of “indie” in its original sense.

    #4 John Barnes had about 5 good games for England for all his 80-odd caps and he broke no barriers that hadn’t already been smashed by Viv Anderson and the boys at West Brom. Arguably he reinforced the stereotype by being such a constant disappointment in an England shirt. Great manager too !

    # 11 Aaaargh ! That Purvis ad ! Got to be one of the most annoying of all time.

    #25 I remember one unpleasant headline “Win The World Cup ? We Can’t Even Wack Paddies !” The Sun I think.

  37. 37
    Lena on 30 Dec 2010 #

    When Barney sings “When something’s good it’s never gone” it always gets me that he’s talking about Ian in some way – and I’m adding this Ezra Pound stanza for Tony Wilson…

    “What thou lovest well remains,
    the rest is dross
    What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee
    What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage
    Whose world, or mine or theirs
    or is it of none?
    First came the seen, then thus the palpable
    Elysium, though it were in the halls of hell,
    What thou lovest well is thy true heritage
    What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee”

  38. 38
    Tom on 30 Dec 2010 #

    #36 We’ll have to A to D on this Mike – Lowlife is the worst 80s New Order album for me! I hardly ever want to hear it. “Perfect Kiss” is the best song on it by a mile and is twice as good on its “Substance” mix anyway.

  39. 39
    Tom on 30 Dec 2010 #

    #19 Ouch, sorry. I was *in* France when Spain 82 happened, is where that mix-up came in. I remember finding Panini stickers in a French newsagent, it was the moment I realised football was a game which truly knew no boundaries.

  40. 40
    MikeMCSG on 30 Dec 2010 #

    # 38 Worse than “Movement” ? Surely not !

  41. 41
    Tom on 30 Dec 2010 #

    I don’t want to listen to Movement that often but when I do it hits a particular dour spot very successfully!

  42. 42
    lonepilgrim on 30 Dec 2010 #

    The rebranding of the football fan as part of a cultural vanguard had begun in the mid 80s in The Face magazine but it took a while for the reality to begin to match the rhetoric. World in Motion represents the rhetoric before the Eng-er-land chant bubbles up to remind us of the reality. I like the sense of fluidity and the glossy production sheen.

  43. 43
    swanstep on 30 Dec 2010 #

    I find the praise for WiM’s lyrics very odd. The ‘one on one’ stuff always grated with me because that’s a stupid way to think about football, and ‘express yourself’ as well as being a played out idea at the time, a year or more after Madonna’s song, and being vaguely tied into the rising ‘self-esteem’/’admire yourself greatly’/fast oprahfying culture of the period, once again just gets how football works wrong. And these irritating problems with the lyrics point to larger conceptual problems. On the one hand the song’s called ‘*world* in motion'(reminds me a little of the beginning of Run Lola Run, except that that monologue’s better written than anything Sumner can manage and the s/track by Tykwer there is better than most NO including WiM) and includes some blather about love etc., all of which is universalizing and has nothing to do with England or competition for that matter. On the other hand this is a pro-England/patriotic/championing your favorites song. Those two perspectives aren’t the same and can’t be fitted together at the level of how players play. Sorry. Note too that ‘one on one’ is in fact a way to play basketball (e.g., if there are no teams around) so the phrase can make sense and be a fun metaphor in other, paradigmatically US contexts, and oh, oh, I can feel the magic…..

  44. 44
    the pinefox on 30 Dec 2010 #

    I always disliked the use of the crass phrase ‘express yourself’ too – you have made a very good simple critical point here.

  45. 45
    MikeMCSG on 30 Dec 2010 #

    #41 Actually I can sort of see that. Historically it’s interesting – it and The Cure’s equally dismal “Pornography” a few months later mark the point where that whole “raincoat brigade” sound got abandoned by its acolytes (e.g Paul Morley) and its proponents went either New Pop or Goth.

  46. 46
    heather on 30 Dec 2010 #

    About time Neworder got some recognition, after the documentary-led (and creepily gothic) overshadowing by Joy Division in the last couple of years.

    This is a brilliant number 1 and probably the only song that can take a ridiculous rap, Keith Allen and footy chanting in its benevolent stride. All their songs should be number 1 (except ‘Confusion’).

    As I recall, ‘Express Yourself’ in this context wasn’t about vague Madonna-ish areas of self-improvement, but a specific footballing strategy to do with allowing players to develop their personal skills. Rather than just being A Midfielder or A Centre-Back, they were being encouraged to be foot-creative and spot new places to be. It all tied up with the pressure to get Bobby to use a ‘sweeper’ and go all continental in his placements.

    It tied in with the idea of football being non-violent and played by intelligent people around at that time that wasn’t *entirely* about drugs…

  47. 47
    Billy Smart on 30 Dec 2010 #

    Re #28: That’s right. New Order recorded the theme tune to ‘Best & Marsh’, a Granada football clips nostalgia show co-presented by the United and City legends. Its the B-Side of ‘Round & Round’, and is rather spiffing.

  48. 48
    MikeMCSG on 30 Dec 2010 #

    # 47 Billy, are you deliberately not mentioning that Mr Wilson was the host of that show ? :-)

  49. 49
    Steve Mannion on 30 Dec 2010 #

    My interest in football as the 1990 World Cup began was at an all time low due to a combination of factors (being rubbish at it, becoming increasingly occupied with computer games and dance music, being old enough to temporarily shake off what felt like quite a hegemonic oppressive and, yes, rockist football culture at that point and concentrate on things I was actually good at such as drawing and writing…) and the tournament passed me by somewhat.

    Complicating matters, the 1988 remix of ‘Blue Monday’ was my favourite musical thing at that point and I loved NO’s dalliances with House. It would take a few more years for me to really love WIM but its supremacy over pretty much every other (official) football record has been undeniable to me ever since, particularly since a lumpen successor (commercially) that refuses to go away stole its thunder a few years later.

    The remixes of World In Motion (handled by the Boys Own playmakers, inevitably – plus Mike Pickering, and with excellent appropriate titles like the ‘Carabinieri Mix’ and ‘Subbuteo Dub’) from the time are worth a listen if you always fancied an extended version of the marvellous piano break and those choral synth voices which for me are as trademarked New Order as Hooky’s bass.

    The B-Side remix also features Keith Allen’s highly comical impression of Chris Waddle and a few other members of the England squad. The only thing missing is the “J-j-j-j-john Barnes” sample that can be heard on Saint Etienne’s own “Official World Cup theme” (a more specific reference to Colourbox’s own WC theme four years prior, but an altogether different, more chilled out affair). On the same trail but in a weirder self-built bandwagon were the irrepressible PWEI with ‘Touched By The Hand Of Cicciolina’ (the title obviously connecting to New Order’s ‘…Hand Of God’), wilfully blurring Italian politics with football. J Saul Kane aka Depth Charge joined the loved up football feast with the brill Brazil-inspired ‘Goal!’.

    Countless tracks from the time work as the soundtrack for the year in English hedonism and optimism (and this Summer was personally my last one as a carefree child) and WIM could’ve encapsulated all of this better than anything. But in particular I associate it closely with Paris Angels ‘All On You (Perfume)’ and 808 State’s ‘Olympic’ (tho this didn’t chart until December) – dazzling four to the floor wunderkids all. Perhaps the latter lads could’ve given WIM a darker but dreamier remix given the chance – maybe even a mic battle between Barnes and MC Tunes? Oh the goals that got away, Saint, glug glug…

    9 out of 10 (1 off for those missed penalties).

  50. 50
    Steve Mannion on 30 Dec 2010 #

    An addendum seeing as a few people have talked about how the song regained significance to them in the 00s. The night England beat Germany 5-1 in Munich I went to Uncle Bob’s Wedding Reception at the Water Rats – a proto-Poptimism of sorts. ‘World In Motion’ was played at the end of the night and it never sounded better (with sufficient time passed since the original release, enough time to want to hear it again). To me it probably never will again as ten days after that night the world (for most of us I imagine) got a lot darker (and no I don’t mean because of DJ Otzi…).

  51. 51
    Steve Mannion on 31 Dec 2010 #

    Swanstep at 43 you seem to be forgetting that in football players are regularly required to tackle and win the ball from each other in which the ‘one on one’ concept makes perfect sense.

    The “express yourself” phrase retained popularity into 1990 beyond WIM with NWA’s ‘Express Yourself’ becoming the band’s first top 40 hit (OK so their second and final one came this same year) that May. A month before that Salt n’ Pepa’s ‘Expression’ echoed the sentiment, so there was a lot of it about.

    In any case I think the song is better for not trying to focus on the specific hopes and dreams of the England team and proffering a universal message was the right call (especially after the abject SAW-assisted rubbishness of the Euro 88 song ‘All The Way’).

  52. 52
    heather on 31 Dec 2010 #

    There were lots of parodies of Barnes’ rap around at the time…

    “You’ve got to hang on the wing and not do a thing.
    When you’ve got the ball, you’ve got to do bugger all”

  53. 53
    Mark M on 31 Dec 2010 #

    Re 36: that’s a bit (lot) harsh to John Barnes. In any case, regardless of who had come before him, he still had to endure an awful lot of ignorance through the 1980s. Quite apart from ethnicity, though, he was that rare thing: an England player from an (upper) middle class background. According to Why England Lose, his only equivalent in the current bunch is Peter Crouch.

  54. 54
    swanstep on 31 Dec 2010 #

    @51, God knows the ‘express yourself’ train kept rolling for ages after this with Madonna still banging on about it on Human Nature in 1995,… I just think it’s a very poor fit for anything very competitive, esp. where a large part of the game is preventing the other team/person from doing what they want to do, making them fail. Of course, there are always one-on-one aspects of football and I agree that probably anything that gets english football thinking about quirky players and flare and not always about picking the biggest/fastest/strongest players at every level is good (and was good in 1990). Still, the individual focus overall seems wrong to me… Also, to be clear, despite my carping, I agree that WiM is hands down the best WC football song.

  55. 55
    the pinefox on 31 Dec 2010 #

    I don’t believe that Peter Crouch is upper-middle-class.

    Nor that he is any good.

  56. 56
    the pinefox on 31 Dec 2010 #

    In a football context, or as Motson would say *in a footballing sense*, what does ‘when something’s good it’s never gone’ mean? (I don’t find references to Joy Division especially intuitive, perhaps just because at the time I didn’t know who they were; anyway someone said that New Order didn’t write the words?)

    I think it may mean ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’, actually! It makes me think now of quality English players who had been discouraged (eg by the debacle of Euro 1988, and by English football culture etc) but could still be recovered by this sentiment – 1990 too late for Hoddle, but not for Waddle who hit the bar from 50-odd yards, and perhaps Beardsley and Barnes also. I do think that the line has long suggested something like this to me.

    Or it might be intended just to mean ‘the spirit / winning ability of 1966 must still exist in England’.

  57. 57
    Erithian on 31 Dec 2010 #

    Joining the general acclaim for this, although many of the points I’d have made have been covered. You’re right to point out that it talks tactics, Tom – phrases like “express yourself, create the space” by contrast with most football tunes address the player directly, as Heather puts perfectly at #46, while acting as a metaphor for the wider message of the song.

    Likewise the John Barnes rap, attributed to major fan Keith Allen (whose younger brother Kevin showed the world the normal England fans’ eye view that summer with “On the March with Bobby’s Army”). Of course that’s a rare case of a father and daughter both being involved with number ones – and a very young Lily contributed backing vocals to “Vindaloo” eight years later.

    The gentrification of football was very much a double-edged sword, as Punctum observes. Simon Kuper, who co-wrote “Why England Lose” among many others, rubbed an FSA meeting the wrong way when he commented that circa 1986 you could have rounded up the football public of the time on a terrace, fired custard at them from a cannon on the halfway line and they’d still have come back for more. We thought, hang on, that’s US you’re talking about! – the people who stood by the game during the lean years and started to do something about it with the fanzine movement and supporters’ organisations. (Wichita #18, with you 100% on that 2nd para.) In 1990 we were two years away from the power-grab that was the FA Premier League, which was supposed to put the England team at the forefront. Hmm, that worked out didn’t it?

    Billy #6 – I understand your viewpoint, but one of the points the song makes is that chanting “Eng-er-land” and following the team abroad doesn’t necessarily make you a hooligan. England fans’ reputation has largely been rehabilitated, but yes there’s a distance to go.

    vinylscot #23 – again, take your point, but Platt was described as “a revelation” in the continental press, and got a pretty distinguished spell in Italian football out of it as well as a prolonged England career – that’s plenty of recognition. (My top memory of Italia 90 – being in a pub when Platty’s 119th-minute goal went in against Belgium. The place exploded, beer flying everywhere, and as the noise died down my mate said “A good psychological time to score”.)

  58. 58
    Billy Smart on 31 Dec 2010 #

    Chanting “Eng-er-land!” might not necessarily make someone a hooligan, but it does automatically make them an oaf.

  59. 59
    thefatgit on 31 Dec 2010 #

    @33…after much searching, I stumbled across the intro to “Your Silent Face” from Power Corruption And Lies. It’s similarities to Kraftwerk’s “Europe Endless” might be leading me astray, but I’m certain YSF was used during Tour De France coverage, possibly predating Pete Shelley’s composition. If anyone can verify, I’m going bananas over this one!

  60. 60
    Jimmy the Swede on 31 Dec 2010 #

    Erithian – Geoff Hurst tells the story of when he was racing through to net the 4th goal. He was not at all worried about Wolfgang Overath breathing down his neck. His main memory was hearing a more distant team mate calling continually for an unlikely pass: “HURSTY! HURSTY! HURSTY!…” This cry was delivered in a voice which made Sweep sound like Paul Robeson. The identity of the player concerns remains a mystery.

    Tom – As we continue to celebrate sporting events down under, it bears mentioning that a popular song from the Barmy Army these days is: “Swann. Swann will tear you apart again…” And so he does.

  61. 61
    will on 31 Dec 2010 #

    As both a New Order and Watford fan – Barnes and Luther Blissett were my childhood heroes – how can this brilliant record be anything other than a 10?

    I can’t be the only one though who mourns the fact that this the last England record on which the players themselves sing. I personally think the FA should corral the lot of ’em into a recording studio every time we reach a major finals.

  62. 62
    enitharmon on 31 Dec 2010 #

    England’s success at Italia 90, with its explicitly working class hero in Paul Gascoigne, spawned the respectablisation of football and fostered Loaded culture, both of which made the ground fertile for Britpop a few years later.

    You is ‘avin a larf, n’est ce pas? The loud-mouthed, bone-headed boorishness exemplified by Gascoigne (and all too prevalent twenty years on) has nothing to do with explicit working classness – certainly not a working-classness my crane-driver granddad would have recognised. Perhaps it’s a public-school-and-oxford view of the working class, I don’t know.

    Here, too, is the sound of thirty years of new feminism starting to go down the pan. It gets a lot worse in the next few years and I’m not going to enjoy watching it one little bit.

  63. 63
    Izzy on 31 Dec 2010 #

    #60 – from that description I’d say it sounds like Alan Ball

    Lovely review Tom. I regret enormously that, at just shy of fourteen, I was a little too young to appreciate the synthesis of pop cultures that Italia 90 brought us. I was massively hyped up for, and then massively let down by, the football itself*, but most of the wider impact passed me by – the only upside to that is that now the semi-final gets that bit more epic every time I see it, because it doesn’t quite have that peak to live up to.

    Anyway, great to listen to this again, it now feels to me like both the encapsulation of and elegy for an era.

    * though see this On Second Thoughts piece for a timely reappraisal

  64. 64
    Alex on 31 Dec 2010 #

    The last World Cup with more than one ideology participating. Also, the piano break always reminds me of “Vogue” and vice versa.

  65. 65
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 31 Dec 2010 #

    There’s a case — not sure I would like to argue it properly on the fly like this — for gazza as a descendent of the character played by richard harris in “this sporting life”; very gifted, inarticulate, brutalised, ambitious, being used more than he’s using? I too would contest that “explicitly”: would prefer something more like “totemistically”; but I don’t entirely agree with enitharmon that loaded/lad’s culture was a top-down imposition; the guy who first pitched the idea of loaded is a lot closer to look back in anger’s jimmy porter character than public school/oxbridge — he came from the last wave, or spurt, of 60s/70s “self-made” (and more or less self-educated) working class kids making good in media-land, as it was becoming less of an access point and more of a middle-class preserve (= ppl like me!)

    not that he’d thank me for the comparison…

    i was too embrangled in the wire to have much of a bead on where lad culture went next — britpop is a bafflement to me

  66. 66
    MikeMCSG on 31 Dec 2010 #

    # 60/63 Yes it definitely was Alan Ball. You can see him on the footage wildly gesticulating for a pass, no pitchside mikes to pick up the “You greedy bastard ! ” exclamation unfortunately !

    # 65 What you’re picking up on at the end of your first paragraph is of course the direct legacy of Crosland and Williams.

  67. 67
    enitharmon on 31 Dec 2010 #


    Not sure which way to read that comment about Crosland & Williams. Mark’s last wave of working-class kids making good in media is something I recognise. It could have been me making that break, despite being bog-standard comp and redbrick, although for reasons I don’t fully understand in retrospect it was an opportunity I failed to seize. (It may have had to do with the pressure of a working-class family to take on a ‘proper’, ‘respectable’ job). Even if I flunked the opportunity, I’m grateful to Crosland, Williams, and those that fought before them for allowing me an opportunity denied both to my older sister and, sadly, my daughter (bog-standard comp and Durham).

    But perhaps you are vilifying Crosland and Williams, as many do, for ‘betraying’ a system that hand-picked a few suitable show candidates to be groomed with the right accent and social attitudes for admission to the elite, while letting the rest of the unwashed rabble go to hell in a handcart (unless of course they had big boobs or could kick a football).

  68. 68
    MikeMCSG on 31 Dec 2010 #

    Well it depends which way you look at it. Wasn’t it better to have a few bright wc kids breaking through than none at all ? The “unwashed rabble” are no better off now than they were then; it just cut off an escape route and put more kids in bad schools. As ex-SDP I would never vilify Shirley but she got that one wrong.

  69. 69
    Erithian on 1 Jan 2011 #

    Time for the traditional end-of-year look at how far we’ve come since September 2003 when Tom began his magnum opus. Here’s where we’ve been at the end of each calendar year:

    2003 Great Balls Of Fire (#66, Jan 58 – 5 years 2 months, 66 entries in the year)
    2004 A World Without Love (#167, Apr 64 – 6 years 3 months, 101)
    2005 Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine (#222, Aug 66 – 2 years 4 months, 55)
    2006 Get It On (#302, Jul 71 – 4 years 11 months, 80)
    2007 Lonely This Christmas (#362, Dec 74 – 3 years 5 months, 60)
    2008 This Ole House (#477, Mar 81 – 6 years 3 months, 115 (plus the Pistols!))
    2009 I Want To Wake Up With You (#575, Aug 86 – 5 years 5 months, 98)
    2010 World In Motion (#646, Jun 90 – 3 years 10 months, 71)

    So a somewhat slower year, understandably with the various things going on in real life Tom (and the month’s hiatus waiting for “Vogue”!), but an essential read as always. More power to your elbow and a happy New Year to everyone taking part.

  70. 70
    LondonLee on 1 Jan 2011 #

    @62 “loud-mouthed, bone-headed boorishness exemplified by Gascoigne”

    Who also happened to be a sublime artist with a football. And what does “explicit working classness” mean when it’s at home? How many boxes do you have to tick to become explicitly working class? Council flat? Single-parent family? Dropped ‘aitches? Wearing a flat cap?

    I have wonderful memories of the summer 1990, it was baking hot in London during the WC, I was living in a flat right in front of Stamford Bridge with a rooftop view of the pitch (moved out after 6 months, I couldn’t afford it in the end) and I had just met the girl I would go out with for the next three years. All that and England getting to the semis too.

    I never rated this much as a “proper” New Order single though which I guess is besides the point, I bought the 12″ anyway.

  71. 71
    enitharmon on 1 Jan 2011 #

    LondonLee @ 70

    Gascoigne was and is a serial abuser of women. That alone makes whatever he did with a football irrelevant to me; he’s a scumbag of the highest order and there’s no possible excusing him. The “Loaded” culture which some Popular pundits seem to think so much of was largely concerned with contempt for women, and that as I’ve hinted upthread would influence popular culture of the coming decade and beyond, to the despair of those of us who fought battles to break away from such attitudes.

    Working class I suppose means being like me; knowing that however bright and articulate you are the doors won’t open, that your face will never fit. It’s about mummy and daddy not being able to buy you influence through the right school and the right Oxbridge college regardless of intellectual merit. It’s about being permitted to do science or engineering if your bright, but heaven forbid you should want to go into the law (if I had my school time over again, knowing what I know know, I’d badger and cajole my way into following that path, I’d have been a good barrister I think but it was never presented as an option). Working class is standing together with your neighbours against those who would bleed you dry. Working class is being force-fed a diet of trash culture so that you won’t become self-aware and start challenging the system that keeps you in your place.

    Working class communities have little time for wasters who don’t pull their weight.

  72. 72
    Jimmy the Swede on 1 Jan 2011 #

    Izzy @ 63 and MikeMCSG @ 66

    I see I’m going to have to improve on my attempts at irony in the future!

  73. 73
    El boludo on 1 Jan 2011 #

    @enitharmon, I completely agree with your 1st paragraph and I’ll have something to say about the depressing Loaded culture later on as it begins to completely dominate the times in which I’m growing up :-(

    I’m a bit confused at your last sentence though, who is it even aimed at? (and as a council estate kid, I don’t remember electing a spokesperson for all working class people!)

    Anyway, this song. Amazingly, I’d never heard this before today – I quite like it! I was expecting some horrible combination of pallid indie-dance and bullying “anthemic” singalong, but it’s actually a pretty decent tune, probably helped by having fuck-all to do w/football. John Barnes’s rap is not at all what I had been led to expect, it’s really hard to dislike (I don’t know how much of this is to do with the video where Barnes is clearly like “WTF am I doing here?”)

    I could do without “Eng-er-land” tho. Seven, I think. Tom, sorry for being thick but I thought you were quite down on the house piano in your “Killer” review? I love it, personally. Ooh, I need to go back and comment on that one.

  74. 74
    Izzy on 1 Jan 2011 #

    #72: oops! Still, hadn’t heard that before – it’s always lovely to hear about a famous moment punctured by something so mundane.

  75. 75
    Billy Smart on 1 Jan 2011 #

    Re #75 – “The ‘Loaded’ culture which some Popular pundits seem to think so much of” – Who are you thinking of, Rosie? You’ll have to name names! I’ve been contributing to Popular for four years and I really can’t think of anyone here who answers to this description. Writing erudide/ arcane/ impassioned pop commentary isn’t really lad behaviour…

  76. 76
    LondonLee on 1 Jan 2011 #

    No one is excusing Gascgoine’s appalling off-field behaviour. Does this mean I can never enjoy his goal against Scotland?

    If we’re going to be waving around our class credentials I grew up on a council estate in a one-parent family which is why I don’t have the illusions about the ‘noble’ working classes you do. You sound like someone who’s just heard their first Jam single.

    Plenty of doors opened for me but I guess you think art school doesn’t count. Christ, my old man used to be a cab driver and ended up a stage manager at the National Theatre working with Larry Olivier and Peter Hall.

  77. 77
    LondonLee on 1 Jan 2011 #

    Looking through earlier comments I don’t think I saw any mention of “Nessun Dorma” – surely that’s the song most people think of when they remember Italia 90. I was in tears myself when the Beeb played it after the Germany game.

  78. 78
    Billy Smart on 2 Jan 2011 #

    #77 I think that’s because Nessun Dorma was #2 during the month that the next Popular entry spent at the top. It’s not been sacrificed.

  79. 79
    enitharmon on 2 Jan 2011 #

    LondonLee – what the fuck has the Jam got go do with anything? Paul Weller was from Woking, for fuck’s sake. And what was the bollocks about hearing the Jam for the first time anyway? They were nothing special, they did nothing original. You know full well I’d already lived through the best years of pop – which a good few of those pampered souls who pontificate here didn’t though they presume to know more about it than I do. But hey, what do I know. I’m so uncool I think making the effort to be able so sing properly and learning to play an instrument is of more value than shrieking atonally and making bizarre random noises with an acoustic generator. But that, to the pampered public school elite of this forum (note that I never get invited to present Populist nights by the way, presumably I’m much too vulgar, and female to boot) is the True Authentic Existential Wail of the Downtrodden. (To return to the case in point, much has been written in this thread of the sad absence from the record of Ian Curtis, that tormented soul from the mean streets of the Cheshire Stockbroker Belt with his sink education in the impoverished surroundings of The King’s School, Macclesfield, where he couldn’t even muster an O-level.)

    I’ll say this – any one of you smug pampered Oxbridge types hanging out here, I’ll take any one of you on and match my intellect head to head with yours, and I will win. But I’m not going to put up with the kind of boorish, know-it-all, testosterone-fuelled bulling I seem to be coming in for here. Tom, I look to you to impose some discipline.

  80. 80
    Tom on 2 Jan 2011 #

    I admit I haven’t been following this thread as closely as I ought, because I’ve been busy totting up the poll results (still one day to get those ballots in!)

    So trying to unpick this:

    – Michael H uses the phrase “explicitly working class hero” to describe Gazza, in the context of the path from Italia 90 to “lad culture”. In other words he’s *not* talking about the question of whether or not Gazza was typical or representative of the working classes, but about how there was no attempt to smooth over his working class-ness. Because there were so few working class figures presented as heroic at the time, of course Gazza was taken to be somehow typical too.

    – Rosie at #62 argues that Gazza wasn’t typical of working-class people. Which is surely true! But I don’t think Michael was arguing he was – more that he was typical of a particular type which became a lot more celebrated (and imitated) following Italia 90. The kind of “boorishness” which was – at first ironically, then less so – gentrified as “lad culture”. Boorishness isn’t a solely working class trait, obviously. But, for instance, I can say “Well, the Bullingdon Club isn’t representative of Oxbridge” until I’m blue in the face, I’d still have to admit it’s become a symbol of a particular kind of poshness.

    Am I on the right track so far? It seems to have got pretty heated after that and I’m in no mood to start adjudicating people’s life experiences. I agree with Billy though – I don’t think many of the people on this forum carry a particular torch for mid-90s lad culture, which seemed very much a retreat and backlash in the face of more positive early 90s stuff. (In my experience though, as the proportion of women topping the chart increases through the 90s and 00s, the proportion of people bemoaning the death of the good old days and complaining about manufactured pap, noise, etc. also rises.)

    One thing I feel I should say – nobody has EVER been “invited” to DJ at Club Popular, they’ve all asked. Should we ever do another one and you’re in town you’d be a guest of honour, Rosie!

  81. 81
    LondonLee on 2 Jan 2011 #

    The Jam reference was just my little joke, Weller often went in for simplistic lyrical sloganeering about the working class. For someone who doesn’t like punk you seen awfully obsessed with your class street cred, Rosie.

    Anyway, sorry if I’ve been rude but a lot of working class people I’ve known have been boorish louts, and racists to boot (a lot of them have been lovely people too, like my family) so I get my back up when people start making speeches about their so-called “real” attributes.

    I never went to Oxbridge either, I couldn’t even get into St. Martin’s.

  82. 82
    LondonLee on 2 Jan 2011 #

    PS: You lot are up very late, aren’t you? It’s 3am there.

  83. 83
    flahr on 2 Jan 2011 #

    It’s 3am? 3am? It’s 3am et… no Bunny no!

    I really like New Order so it’s great they got a Number One, and with a pretty good song to boot. I’d especially like to say how much – not being there at the time as I constantly point out – I enjoy the evocative readings of Tom and DJ Punctum (#3). They’ve helped me see a sense of optimism in the song I’d not really noticed before.

  84. 84
    enitharmon on 2 Jan 2011 #

    And I would like to add that my post late last night was the internet equivalent of throwing crockery at the wall. This has a lot to do with having had ‘flu over the Christmas season and now discovering after crawling out from the wreckage that nobody’s available to go out for a drink because they in their turn are down with ‘flu.

    “Working Class” experience takes many forms and aside from the fact that I have chosen to spend my declining years amid my gritty roots (being a cheap way of being close to sea and mountain) in a Victorian tenement Grade II* listed bijou Docklands apartment, I’ve always felt very frustrated by the narrow horizons and inherent small-c conservatism and my dislike of punk is consistent with supicion of those who wear their working-classness on their sleeves. Never stopped me feeling the albatross round my neck though.

    Perhaps in 2011 I’ll get around to doing what I’ve been threatening to do for years now and never got around to – wrting for FT above the line. It may well be concerned with a close observation of the working-class experience.

  85. 85
    enitharmon on 2 Jan 2011 #

    Oh, and Tom, does that “guest of honour” still stand if I insist on playing Sting and Annie Lennox?

    That supposed increasing proportion of women at the top of the charts – I’d be more impressed if they were there because of their vocal or instrumental talent and not because of the size of their implants. I remain cynical about a world in which such people lip-synch even in a “live” stage or TV performance (presumably because without electronic assistance they would be revealed as inept). Aretha Franklin they ain’t! Somebody even suggested on the radio the other week that the mighty Janis Joplin (whom Leonard Cohen had in mind when he sang “we are ugly but we’ve got the music”) wouldn’t even get a recording contract these days.

  86. 86
    Erithian on 2 Jan 2011 #

    OK, there’s a consensus that this is about the best example of collaboration between band and football team. It doesn’t always work that well. Ladies and gentlemen, from 1994, I give you … Germanyvillagepeople!

  87. 87
    Steve Mannion on 2 Jan 2011 #

    Had England made it to the USA ’94 World Cup we can only wonder what an official record would’ve sounded like and who would’ve been involved. I’m sure Keith Allen would’ve taken another toepunt with a proto-Fat Les affair but it would’ve been a bit too early for a full-on Britpop collab and any interest from Albarn would’ve clashed with ‘Park Life’s own major popularity that Summer. There may have been sufficient remaining interest in a WIM-esque dance number for that occasion but who to front it? East 17? Stereo MC’s? I’m struggling…

  88. 88
    Alex on 2 Jan 2011 #

    But hey, what do I know. I’m so uncool I think making the effort to be able so sing properly and learning to play an instrument is of more value than shrieking atonally and making bizarre random noises with an acoustic generator. But that, to the pampered public school elite of this forum (note that I never get invited to present Populist nights by the way, presumably I’m much too vulgar, and female to boot) is the True Authentic Existential Wail of the Downtrodden.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. This is possibly the worst comment in the history of blogging, and would have been one of the worst letters in the Melody Maker’s history had it been written in 1994.

    Also, anonymous blog commenter whines about not getting to run somebody else’s nightclub. Fail.

  89. 89
    Izzy on 2 Jan 2011 #

    Hm, let’s take #84 as an apology and pretend the whole unpleasant episode never happened, shall we?

    I remember now feeling strangely underwhelmed by ‘World In Motion’ at the time. I fell in love with ‘True Faith’ and then ‘Touched By The Hand of God’ in 1987 (odd choices for an eleven-year-old!) and saved up to buy the Substance compilation from Boots the following year. I certainly never heard Technique, though I’ve had it on the past few days and it’s pretty flawless, another triumph from following Popular!

    I can’t remember exactly what I was wanting in 1990, but ‘World In Motion’ seemed watery and tuneless in comparison. I would have guessed something with a harder beat, but in actual fact I have a half-memory of hoping for a tune they would sing on the terraces – lovely as it is, I would be very surprised if ‘World In Motion’ had ever got that particular honour.

  90. 90
    heather on 3 Jan 2011 #

    Hey, I’m working-class too! But apart from that, I do want to rant about the Ian-isation of New Order in the last few years. I love Barney’s cracked, wobbly little voice and his clear little Blake lyrics, so it’s become increasingly frustrating that he’s been left out of the Official Narrative. The same way that a load of cokey Londoners took over indie and baggy and indie-dance and all that and rebranded it as ‘Britpop’, but that’s an argument for 1995.

    I mean, I like Joy Division well enough, but they don’t have a song as simple and perfect as ‘Your Silent Face’. For years as a teenager I rather brooded about this, as if I’d been wishing for someone’s death so that perfect records could be made. But then I realised that they’d have split up and made perfect electronic fluff anyway without the death aspect. It’s just annoying to see documentaries and clueless emo teens going straight from JD to the Mondays and putting New Order in some ’embarrassing 80s cheese’ category.

  91. 91
    chelovek na lune on 3 Jan 2011 #

    Och, do I have to throw in my “I grew up on a council estate, in Dagenham” line? I shared a piano teacher with a Timelord there too! Hopefully not. Ah but I couldn’t stop myself.

    I’m very fond of New Order, but one thing that thus far appears to have gone unsaid is that this was almost the very last nearly really really good single that they put out. Not that all of the singles off “Republic” were bad exactly, but, well, they were a bit too straightforwardly poppy (perhaps “Ruined In A Day” apart), and hardly playing to the group’s strength, which was always tied up in being somewhat less than obvious – even on a track as strong and as obviously hunmable as “True Faith” you had to concentrate and work out what it was all about (and what a cracker of a B-side that had too). While their later stuff was, well, at any rate, not as impact-making or original as their 80s best. No, not even “Crystal”.

    (Of course the collapse of Factory is tied up with this too).

    But after this, so much energy of the group members was devoted to side projects, with varying degrees of worthwhie effect. (“Tasty Fish”. Yes please). So maybe calling this a swansong is overstating (or even – given the wholly untypical nature of the project -misrepresenting) the point, the fact was that after this the thrill of unwrapping subtle, fantastic, enigmatic New Order singles and albums was, more or less, past. And that that pleasure was now -more or less – no more wasn’t quite evident at the time.

  92. 92
    Billy Smart on 3 Jan 2011 #

    I always feel that ‘Republic’ is a bit unfairly maligned. Okay, so ‘Regret’ is rather misguided, but the better stuff on that album is largely instrumental and reflective. And it so obviously felt like the end at the time!

    Of the 21st Century New Order however… I just continually feel an instinctive “I WISH you hadn’t reformed. And where’s Gillian?”

    Crystal contains maybe the worst couplet in a song that I know – “Here comes love! Its like honey/ You can’t buuuuuy it with money” – to which I always reply “This analogy fails because I have never found buying honey with money to be problematic”

  93. 93
    enitharmon on 3 Jan 2011 #

    Izzy, why would @84 be an apology? Why the presumption that I’m wrong and everybody else is right? I don’t hear anybody else apologising for slagging me off?

    Alex @ 88 – who the fuck are you? What do you know? Bog off.

  94. 94
    Izzy on 3 Jan 2011 #

    Nowadays I think ‘Regret’s probably their second best single, after ‘Confusion’ – both of which have now taken a slating in this thread, How wrong you are.

    I never bothered with anything after Republic – I heard ‘Crystal’ once and knew then there was no need to go further. Stepping back from dance to explore rock in the mid 90s seems like such a regressive and dull move (I may be mischaracterising them here, but that’s how it seemed to me – the side projects too, and Johnny Marr took the same trajectory)

  95. 95
    the pinefox on 3 Jan 2011 #

    surprised that anyone who likes pop would say that ‘Regret’ was misguided

    also think it’s the best thing on Republic (which I quite like) by a mile

    not clear what ‘True Faith’ is about, or how anyone knows – would quite like to know, or then again, maybe I wouldn’t

    OK New Order may have been jumped over in the Party People film but I doubt that people who like pop really consider them an embarrassing interlude between JD and HM (who seem much less substantial than either) – that would be very perverse

    what are ‘Blake lyrics’ in this instance?

  96. 96
    Les Tennant on 3 Jan 2011 #

    “why would @84 be an apology?”

    My guess is because you practically accused everyone else here of being smug pampered public school toffs intellectually inferior to you. You also suggested that Popular club organisers were prejudiced against you based on your gender and class and that was why you’d never been invited to play some records at the night. London Lee already said sorry if he’d come across as rude and I’m not sure who else was “slagging you off” before your outburst at #79?

  97. 97
    Tom on 3 Jan 2011 #

    “Les”: if you must get involved use your real name please! (And before anyone jumps to conclusions, no, it’s not Marcello or Waldo!)

    Alex: Rosie isn’t an anonymous troll, she’s been a regular for years. Obviously I was disappointed in what she said about the club night but I’ve corrected her on that and the topic is I hope closed. And I think it’s good that we’ve got someone a bit reactionary about modern pop along – she makes me think a bit harder about how to justify some of the stuff I like. Anyway, the worst thing that ever happened to punk was everyone comfily agreeing it was a Good Thing.

    I agree w/the Pinefox that the idea that NO are less important than JD is a minority view – or at least it seems to be over here.

    And the only thing I regret about “Regret” is that it wasn’t a curtain-call single, it would have been one of the best career-enders ever, a bittersweet coda to a job well done.

  98. 98
    Les Tennant on 3 Jan 2011 #

    I think ‘anonymity’ is reasonable as long as people aren’t using it to actively insult people! Also this fake nose and giant moustache doth become me.

  99. 99
    LondonLee on 3 Jan 2011 #

    ‘Confusion’ isn’t all that bad but it failed to live up to the expectations. The follow up to Blue Monday! They’re in New York working with Arthur Baker!

    Then out comes this middling song that just paled next to Planet Rock or Walking On Sunshine.

  100. 100
    the pinefox on 3 Jan 2011 #

    true that ‘regret’ would be a great last – or first! – 45, but seems a bit fantastic / counter-intuitive re a comeback record – like saying ‘the fly’ or ‘suedehead’ should have concluded U2’s / SPM’s careers!

    I think ‘regret’ might be my favourite 45 of 1993
    another one that I liked a lot, in the charts at the same time, that I associate with it, was ‘who do you think you are?’.
    I taped them both off the radio and played them back to back, rewound, played again, etc
    then bought both on cassingle
    then bought both on CD single
    then bought both on CD LPs!
    admittedly this is not a web page about 1993

  101. 101
    Tom on 3 Jan 2011 #

    Well, not yet.

  102. 102
    Izzy on 3 Jan 2011 #

    #99: thanks, that’s the first time I think I’ve seen details about what ‘Confusion’s flaws are supposed to be – normally whenever I see reference to it there’s an assumption it was the worst thing they ever did, when my view couldn’t be more opposite.

    There’s a certain amount of sense to it, but ‘Planet Rock’s an outrageously high benchmark! It could never live up to that because: ‘Planet Rock’ was first; ‘Confusion’ was always going to have prettier touches and it’d be unrealistic to expect them to come up with something quite as brutal; and they still had to fit in Barney’s vocals.

    I guess if you think ‘Blue Monday’ was better than ‘Planet Rock’ (can well imagine this to be the indie consensus) then getting a sub-‘Planet Rock’ would be underwhelming, but it shouldn’t’ve been – the rhythm tracks aren’t massively different; the arrangement is but that’s more because one is sample-based and the other structure-based, and not because one is inferior; it’s only in the vocals where ‘Planet Rock’ leaps far ahead. Anyway, more son-of-‘Planet Rock’s are a good thing in my view.

  103. 103
    Steve Mannion on 3 Jan 2011 #

    I liked all of the Republic singles – and two of them came with notable videos which really stuck in my mind. ‘Ruined In A Day’ featuring Keith Allen playing charades with a bunch of Buddhist monks while Sumner dances appallingly in the background. ‘World’ is an audacious cinematic ‘one shot’ move from the Riviera sea to a weeping woman in a hotel room and just the kind of music video that doesn’t get made anymore.

    The Other Two’s ‘Selfish’ is always worth a mention and its emergence in the same year as ‘Republic’ always felt a bit odd but welcome. I might like it a bit more than ‘Regret’ in fact.

  104. 104
    LondonLee on 3 Jan 2011 #

    I realize there was no way New Order could top Planet Rock but Confusion just seemed so thin as a song and a production. I do think Planet Rock is superior to Blue Monday too (though having attended many student parties around that time you’re right that the indie consensus was different) but Walking On Sunshine is the best of all of them.

  105. 105
    Billy Smart on 3 Jan 2011 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: New Order have been on UK TV quite a few times;

    BIG WORLD CAFE: with Eagle Eye Cherry, Mariella Frostrup, New Order, Womack & Womack, Fishbone, Mary Kante (1989)

    THE BILL: The New Order Of Things (1987)

    FRIDAY NIGHT WITH JONATHAN ROSS: with David Hasselhoff, Kelly Osbourne, Jeremy Dyson, Reece Shearsmith, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, New Order, Ana Matronic (2005)

    LATER… WITH JOOLS HOLLAND: with New Order, The Coral, Faith Evans, Rufus Wainwright, Acoustic Ladyland, James Blunt, Son Of Dave (2005)

    THE O ZONE: with New Order (1993)

    RIVERSIDE: with New Order, Bow Wow Wow (1982)

    RIVERSIDE: with Paul Haig, John Sessions, New Order (1983)

    THE ROXY: with New Order (1987)

    T IN THE PARK 2005: with Keane, James Brown, Streets, Audioslave, Foo Fighters, New Order, Suzanne Vega, Kasabian, The L.A.’s (2005)

    THE TUBE: with Jools Holland, Paula Yates, Depeche Mode, New Order, Muriel Gray (Presenter), Alan Freeman, Julian Temple, Steve Wooley, Peristalsis Brothers (1986)

    WHISTLE TEST: with New Order, Fine Young Cannibals, John Cale (1985)

  106. 106
    Steve Mannion on 3 Jan 2011 #

    Izzy I’ve always liked ‘Confusion’ too and to have been so inspired by ‘Planet Rock’ only reinforces the already established sonic links between NO and Kraftwerk. Again, the BBC documentary Planet Rock demonstrates this with Sumner’s anecdote about them asking him how they got some of the sounds on ‘Blue Monday’.

  107. 107
    will on 3 Jan 2011 #

    I’m assumin’ New Order on the Bill in 1987 is a deliberate mistake! I think I would have remember that one.

    Whilst we’re on the subject, for my money NO’s greatest single is Thieves Like Us.

  108. 108
    heather on 3 Jan 2011 #

    I like every single thing NO ever did up to 1994 (honestly, listen to ‘Avalanche’ and ‘Spooky’ again. They’re less complex and pearlised than the earlier stuff but they’re still lovely). Everything… except ‘Confusion’. And I do like serious hardkore tekkno etc, so it’s not that. It’s just a bad song, badly mixed. But, you know, mileage, opinions. I’m still horrified that a famous music website (it might have been Pitchfork) had nothing but contempt for ‘Power, Corruption and Lies’ whurp? dkjfuh?

    Aaanyway, by ‘Blake lyrics’, I meant that Barney’s lyrics had the same sort of simplicity as William Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ etc – plain words, simple rhymes and yet somehow very affecting. Same as his voice. I use him a lot in arguements about ‘Good Singers’ like Celine Dion and Leona Lewis, and how their talent means nothing to me compared to Barney’s awkward flat whispering.

    (And just to lighten the awe, my best recollection of ‘True Faith’ is at Reading when Barney rearranged the lyrics to say rude things about Michael Jackson. It suffers from ‘designated retro-radio single’ a bit for me, although it’s v. good)

    “And now you live your life like a shadow in the pouring rain” deary me… surely no other band has so much for a newcomer to *discover*.

  109. 109
    George on 4 Jan 2011 #

    Yet another defense for ‘Regret’ here. ‘World’ aside, it’s easily the best song on an album which wasn’t anything to right home about – then again they never made a genuinely great studio album, despite getting close occasionally.

    If, like me, your introduction to New Order was ‘Substance’ (a ‘best of’ admittedly) then everything else seemed like a disappointment.

    According to one of the many great NO anecdotes the band wrote their lyrics by committee, with all four members (whilst sat around a table) writing a line onto a notepad before passing it on. It would certainly explain the clunkiness of some of their songs.

  110. 110
    swanstep on 4 Jan 2011 #

    For me everything NO did up to Power, Corruption, and Lies is pretty ace: the original single versions of Ceremony and of Temptation (both 7″ and 12″) still crackle with real magic I find (really worth tracking down if you’ve only heard their re-recordings on Substance), and the single I bought as Procession w/ Everything’s gone green as its b-side (EGG later was a single in its own right) stands tall with the greatest two-siders of the past I’d say.

  111. 111
    Billy Smart on 4 Jan 2011 #

    #109 But it also explains the brilliance of their songs – the rest of the group are daring Bernard to sing the most audacious thing that they can imagine, ideally something that sounds both silly and personally revealing. Think of say the “it’s called love” passage in Thieves Like Us or the gay love and death narrative of 1963 or “Oh you’ve got green eyes! Oh you’ve got grey eyes! Oh you’ve got blue eyes!” epiphany in Temptation, or – insert personal choice out of dozens more. The happy result being: Bernard Sumner, the world’s greatest poet of disco existentialism!

  112. 112
    George on 4 Jan 2011 #

    It was, and remains, exhilarating stuff. The Human League were another band with a tendency for endearingly awkward lyrics.

    The less said about Duran Duran’s the better.

  113. 113
    heather on 4 Jan 2011 #

    “The less said about Duran Duran’s the better.”

    Could be hard. Could be about as easy as a nuclear war.

    Incidentally, the most random lyric I ever found by accident was when I was doing a ‘make your blogfriends guess random songs from the first line’ meme… and got to hear the opening of ‘Gold’ by Spands.

    “Thank you for coming round. Sorry that the chairs are all worn. I left them here, I could have sworn…”

  114. 114
    Cumbrian on 4 Jan 2011 #

    @59: C4’s coverage of the Tour started in 1985 by the looks of things:


    This was the best that I could find in terms of proof via the Internet. In 85, apparently, there were daily reports that were expanded to the half hour round up in 1986. By this point, they’d already gone for the Pete Shelley tune. I can’t find anything on what the music was for 1985 – so it might be that.

    Your Slient Face is maddeningly familiar from something or other – I’m not sure it’s the TdF though. I don’t think is releated – because I have not seen the film – but YSF was used on the film Bronson apparently. Maybe someone else with better google fu than me can help out.

  115. 115
    thefatgit on 4 Jan 2011 #

    Cheers for the effort Cumbrian :) I’m still waving the flag for YSF before Pete Shelley got in there, but the thought occurred to me that BBC2 might have covered TdF before C4. Maybe, just maybe the Beeb used it for their coverage. But of course, I’m only guessing here.

  116. 116
    Jimmy the Swede on 4 Jan 2011 #

    I’m pleased to see that the unplesantness upthread has stopped and I would have considered this interjection superflous but have decided to append it for the simple reason that this forum has brought Rosie and I into friendship and I can assure everyone that she is never in the market to offend anyone. Whilst she was clearly off-beam about Club Popular (on the couple of times I have been present, one of the great delights was to watch Kat bouncing around like Tigger at the controls whilst DJing) and also wrong about the public school swipe (the only thing public about the hellhole comp I went to, for instance, was that the public stayed well away from it), she has been and remains one of the most celebrated and wisest of contributors to this forum. Like many of us (and this particularly applies to the Freaky Trigger Cabinet), Rosie is a creative writer and it shows. Writers are strange beasts and rather like Hamsters who are placed in the same cage, are naturally apt to have an almighty go at eachother at the drop of a hat. This is particualry true when a heartfelt opinion is challenged and there have been some very lively examples of this over the years, God only knows. The fact is, there is no right or wrong when opinons (which do not involve basic facts) are aired. And we can disagree with each other until we are blue in the face but that surely is the fact of the matter.

  117. 117
    wichita lineman on 5 Jan 2011 #

    Smash Hits watch:

    30 May-14 June 1990, cover star Adamski. ‘Norman Cook, Candy Flip and Adamski reveal HOW TO MAKE A HIT RECORD IN YOUR BEDROOM!’

    Single of the fortnight: Happy Mondays and Karl Denver ‘Lazyitis’. “Quite the weirdest record in a long time” says Richard Lowe.

  118. 118
    Mark G on 5 Jan 2011 #

    So, am I too late? Is everyone here? Whatever, I’m starting anyway…

    Back whenever, about 4 years before this record, The Redskins were hosting a series of dates at the Mean Fiddler, basically a bunch of artists/comedians, a short set maybe, then the comedy again. Bad idea, subsequent acts got heckled/hassled ….

    One of the later nights was Keith Allen basically slagging the national side off, saying they were crap, always would disappoint and would do again. To which Atilla the Stockbroker (clearing up after his set behind them) said “No they’re not they’re brilliant!” and they both had a stand-up wager about how far the team would get.

    4 years on, he’s writing the team song, and did again at least twice since.

  119. 119
    Erithian on 5 Jan 2011 #

    Attila the Stockbroker – absolutely top bloke! Got to know him (aka John) through the FSA and bumped into him on a train going to Selhurst Park for a Charlton v Liverpool game in the late 80s. My new girlfriend was with me and was impressed with how well-connected I was! Being a Brighton fan he contributed an article to the Palace fanzine after they lost 9-0 to Liverpool – it was his reworking of “19” about how Palace lost n-n-n-n-nine-nil (see the “19” thread for more lyrics).

    Fast forward to January 2005 and Attila is in the top 20 as the force behind “Seagulls Ska”, a single supporting Brighton’s campaign for a new stadium at Falmer. Based on the Piranhas’ version of “Tom Hark”, it peaked at 17.

    Then there’s his classic “Y Viva Albania”:
    “If you want to see a really big statue / Of Comrade Enver Hoxha / And a little one of Josef Stalin too / Albania’s just for you.”
    Happy days!

  120. 120
    swanstep on 5 Jan 2011 #

    Japan’s virtuoso bassist, Mick Karn has finally succumbed to his cancer at age 52. The Guardian’s basic obit is here. I’m sure that more extensive tributes will follow. Japan’s albums have barely dated at all, and Karn’s bass is a huge part of that.

  121. 121
    punctum on 5 Jan 2011 #

    They always come in threes: Pete Postlethwaite, Gerry Rafferty and now Mick Karn. RIP big Japan bassman, and be fair with him up there; don’t blame him for Pino Palladino.

  122. 122
    Cumbrian on 5 Jan 2011 #

    Bonus points to Gerry for his involvement on the Local Hero soundtrack. I actually thought of that before I thought of Baker Street – which maybe says more about my state of mind than anything else.

  123. 123
    glue_factory on 5 Jan 2011 #

    Re: the Tour De France I think that the main coverage prior to Channel 4 was ITV’s World Of Sport which featured round-ups of the race so far. Richard Moore mentions them in his In Search Of Robert Millar biography.

    On a related note, perhaps New Order featured on the soundtrack of The High Life, the documentary about Millar shown in 1985? It was a Granada production, as I recall, so perhaps a Mr.Wilson was involved.

  124. 124
    ciaran10 on 6 Jan 2011 #

    If you thought england did well in this world cup you should have been in southern ireland at the time.

    Italia 90 was the first big sporting event of my lifetime and can remember in primary school getting changed after P.E when someone came roaring at the top of his voice “WE’RE IN THE WORLD CUP” after we beat the mighty Malta in valletta in late 89.cue pandemonium, endless jumping up and down and scenes i havent really experienced since.it was our first world cup but optimism wouldnt have been that high.diego still imperious, italy tough on home soil, you can never write off the germans etc.in fact we were on a level similar to the UAE and costa rica.whats amazing about it now from what I can recall now is how low key expectations were in england before the first match.even more so given the every-5-minute reports on how wayne rooney is crucial in england winning the world cup carried out by sky sports nowadays and the unshakeable belief by the media that every england squad is the best since 1966.

    we could have won in cagliari only for gary linekers flukey goal too.although i have to admit our style of play was surely the blueprint for the successful greece and italy teams of recent years.the romania game is arguably soccers high point in Ireland and the scenes of celebration across the country were absolutely wild.a country of 3.5 million in a world cup quarter final.was hard to believe it.especially when watching it in small rural pubs with populations of less than 1,500.good times.

    theres a good video of events here on a rte nostalgia programme called reeling in the years on 1990.look out for the astonishing feud between journalist eamonn dunphy and jack charlton as well as some horrendous fashion taste.


    1990 was definitely the world cup that got away from england.germany were not in anyway brilliant and argentina were still in maradonas shadow.then again maybe italy could say the same.as good as gazza was one thing that hasnt been mentioned is that some players career ever since italia 90 has been defined by one world cup.look at the dodgy premier league signings of the next best senegalese, ivory coast, brazilian wonderkid who failed to live up to the billing. i would put gazza in that category.indeed only walter smith in his time as rangers manager was able to bring the best out of gazza id say.

    I dont buy into this argument fully that italia 90 changed football in england.only the season before arsenal won the greatest ending to a title race ever and the sky sports (for better or worse) era was just about to start.WIM has been looked backed kindly as a result of englands good performance I reckon.Would it be the same if england flopped in round 1 or even sung by a bros or stock aitken and waterman act.

    Nothing against WIM though.a tune i never warmed to compared to another bunnyable song which we’ll discover it is similar to but as the years go on gets better and better.compared to earlier football songs what really helps it out is thats its not really trying too hard and definitely was aided by 5 players only turning up for the video.love john barnes’ bit.some have said his performance in the middle of the song was not as good as his performance in the middle of the pitch.thats harsh.he never played well for england.should have photoshopped peter beardsley maybe.the only thing I find is that WIM is not a song that you would have associated with new orders earlier output and it is hard to credit that a joy division spin off came up with this.

    definitely a 9.

    oh and we had put em under pressure as our world cup song which id give around 4 or 5.

  125. 125
    pink champale on 6 Jan 2011 #

    @113 that Spandau lyric is great! i’ve always heard it as gary kemp going back to his parent’s house all rich and famous and finding them suddenly awkward and self conscious with him.

    getting here so late i’ve not much to add on englandneworder except to say that both tom’s review and the comments thread are truly great. i’d also like to echo punctum (who has been carrying a torch on this for a while, i’ve noticed) and declare that candy flip’s take on ‘strawberry fields forever’, located on the exact point where innocent druggy awe tips over into psychosis, is a complete masterpiece.

    my other big spring 1990 song (glad it’s not just me for whom this was a magical time) is ‘birdhouse for your soul’, which should be horrendous but is somehow a thing of giddy joy.

  126. 126
    Cumbrian on 6 Jan 2011 #

    @123 and thefatgit: looked like we were on to something here, so I did some more googling.


    I can’t say for certain that New Order were not on the soundtrack for The High Life – the Granada connection with Tony Wilson means that it is certainly a possibility but the above link suggests that the soundtrack for this doc was by Stevie Winwood. You can also see part 2 of the doc on Youtube (the 1st part was apparently disabled for copyright violation according to the comments thread – presumably on the music – first time I have read a Youtube comments page not filled with racist vitriol).

    I haven’t watched the stuff that’s up yet to see whether YSF is used incidentally or not. If not though, we might have reached a dead end (unless it was used on World Of Sport).

  127. 127
    thefatgit on 6 Jan 2011 #

    I don’t think we’ll know for sure, Cumbrian. You’ve put in a helluva lot of work to find an answer, where I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’m not sure I remember The High Life. Was it Granada region only?

  128. 128
    Cumbrian on 6 Jan 2011 #

    Looks like it was broadcast originally in the Granada region but then got shown across the country. It is possible, apparently, to get copies on DVD and there’s even a link to a VHS copy on Amazon if you look hard enough.

  129. 129
    DanielW on 3 Feb 2011 #

    #125 Totally agree with you re: “Birdhouse In Your Soul”, a great fun record amidst what was the worst period of my life (January – Easter 1990)…

    “World In Motion” was a cracking single, which even survived John Barnes’ ham-fisted attempt at rapping (having said that, it was better than his attempt at football management – just ask a Tranmere fan!)

  130. 130
    Cumbrian on 8 Mar 2011 #

    This seems like the right place to say: True Faith by George Michael. Discuss.

    I reckon it has to be a pisstake right? It is the Comic Relief charity single – and the use of auto-tune sounds like satire to my ears…

  131. 131
    punctum on 8 Mar 2011 #

    I think it’s absolutely brilliant and very moving.

  132. 132
    Cumbrian on 8 Mar 2011 #

    131. You know what? I’ve listened to it two or three times now and I can hear some of what I think you’re hearing/referring to but I still think that there is an element of subtle humour about this from George. I think he could well be saying “you want me to be a tortured soul – well have some of this”. It’s not as overt as the video to Outside but I still think this is intended as joke of sorts, or at least a joke on the people who will immediately dismiss this as “omg, blasphemy” or “well George has lost it right?”

    I frequently think the same thing about Radiohead too actually – I strongly suspect that some of what they are doing (especially lyrically) is actually intended to be funny.

  133. 133
    punctum on 8 Mar 2011 #

    It’s the ambiguity which is responsible for much of the record’s effect, or, more (im)properly, the pull-and-push struggle between I’m having a laugh and what if it’s all for nothing?

    Or, get past New Order’s self-defending/defining japes and say: this is what THEY were/are trying to hide from.

    But we pass The Bishop’s Avenue quite regularly on our travels around London and think: how could anyone “live” there. Is death really not an option? Curtains routinely drawn, X-Factor on the TV, GM ringing in 29 times because there’s nothing else to do, or there’s plenty else to do but he can’t do it in front of other people unless they’re so plentiful and far away from him that he can’t make them out?

    “When I was a very small boy/Very small boys wouldn’t talk to me.”

    …and so the living, dying robot, the machine he always wanted that gobbled him up because he can’t drag himself to the window, scream through the porthole and JOIN IN with the rest of humanity and what else can a depressed Dalek do except cry the lament that’s older than planets but younger than the sun which the curtains do their best to hide.

  134. 134
    flahr on 8 Mar 2011 #

    I would pedantically note that the official Comic Relief charity single this year is “Gold Forever” by The Wanted but I’m not sure how much my protestations that “True Faith” is just a single being released for Comic Relief and not the Comic Relief single would stand up in Pop Court.

  135. 135
    Erithian on 21 Mar 2011 #

    Ironic that George was part of the most widely acclaimed bit of Comic Relief this year, but it decidedly *wasn’t* the New Order cover. Instead it was him and Smithy in the van having fun singing Wham! oldies.

  136. 136
    Mark G on 21 Mar 2011 #

    “Official” stands for nothing when Subo/PKay have a single out and so does GMichael, both with the rednose sticker on.

  137. 137
    Erithian on 21 Mar 2011 #

    Apparently issues with Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “people” prevent this getting a proper release, which is a pity as it’s one of the best Red Nose products ever:

  138. 138
    punctum on 21 Mar 2011 #

    Hurrah for the fine judgment of Hova and ‘Licia!

  139. 139
    Erithian on 21 Mar 2011 #

    And boo to whichever of them is the humourless git. We’ll have to agree to differ on that one!

  140. 140
    Mark G on 21 Mar 2011 #

    It was “funny” “the first” “time”.

  141. 141
    Tom on 22 Mar 2011 #

    The George Michael is good.

  142. 142
    Mark M on 22 Mar 2011 #

    Re 137/140: yeah, something really funny on YouTube (or in old money, a TV sketch) = good. The same thing as an official single release usually = really sodding annoying after a week and a half. At most.

  143. 143
    punctum on 22 Mar 2011 #

    Susan Boyle & Geraldine McQueen: yes, we got the “joke” several years ago, no need to keep retelling us.

  144. 144
    Mark G on 22 Mar 2011 #

    #142, oh I remember when “Ernie (the fastest milkman in the west)” was a TV sketch, and a year or so later was a ‘normous hit and number one and so on. But, I was young enough to enjoy it on Topofthepops every damn week it was on. So…

    Of the current crop of Rednose recs, the GMichael one is the ‘best’ (haven’t actually heard the Wanted one, so I may be doing it a dis-service but if it was that good I’d have heard it right? Oh actually it doesn’t have to be ‘that good’ to be better than GMick’s one OK close brackets carry on), but that’s not saying much.

    The Susan Boyle & Geraldine McQueen one has no ‘funny’ content, so basically it’s a cover version, that’s it. Peter Kay’s character is a transsexual, and Susan Boyle is a singer, so basically it’s played straight, and what’s left is a facsimile cover version.

  145. 145

    I feel there is a case for throwing the so-called “bunny” injunction wider than usual on this topic, given what looms!

  146. 146
    seekenee on 21 Mar 2013 #

    Blue Monday = ubiquitous local disco monster 83-88
    Thieves Like Us = sublime peak of New Pop along with The Caterpillar and Swimming Horses in spring 84
    The Perfect Kiss 12″ = greatest sound ever created
    In early 88 I hadn’t heard any other New Order records besides these and then through a friend’s girlfriend’s brother we digested the 4 studio albums plus Substance (with the cassette of B sides).
    This exquisite gorge was given the dessert of Blue Monday 88 that summer and it culminated in the tremendous Technique in early 89.

    World in Motion, though I was glad to see them at the top, never did anything for me, couldn’t relate its sonic identity to previous form for me signalled the end of a golden run, (Regret notwithstanding).
    I didn’t even consider buying it whereas i had rushed out to get Run 2.
    Apart from the fact that it was all about the boys in green for us and my non interest in football/sport per se, watery as its description sounds right, it takes Round and Round too far and Vanishing Point not far enough.
    Ian Curtis could never have been involved in any New Order record because absence of Ian Curtis = New Order records.
    re: True Faith “my life would depend on the morning sun” (and other NO couplets) must surely be a reference (unconsiously probably) to his death.
    I followed them from a distance walking down our high street in Kilkenny in 1983 when i was 12, they seemed bemused that the town ended so soon.
    my sister went to the gig.
    I didn’t see them myself until 1989 Reading (magnificent), 1993 Dublin (dismal), 2005 Punchestown (magnificent).
    btw Get Ready is thumbs up from me.

  147. 147
    swanstep on 23 May 2013 #

    Peter Hook guests on the Sound Opinions podcast this week. Audio downloadable here: https://soundcloud.com/soundopinions/390-sound-opinions-with-peter.

  148. 148
    Mark M on 27 Nov 2014 #

    Just in case anyone wanted an update on the evolution of football player MCing since the days of John Barnes, here are Yannick Bolasie – lightning quick Crystal Palace winger – and Bradley Wright-Phillips, currently of the New York Red Bulls, having a go each other on a grime tip. Both are in the decent amateur category, I reckon – Bolasie rather endearingly goes from a bit shy to slightly over-excited in his bit. BWP is maybe a bit more plausible (Bolasie is by a huge distance the better football player, though).

  149. 149
    Mostro on 19 Apr 2017 #

    #29 The Pinefox ; I remember finding it strange at the time that no-one else seemed to notice- or at least acknowledge- the fact that “World in Motion” *was* so obviously based on the bloody Reportage theme tune!


    I don’t even recall watching Reportage much personally (#), and I still recognised it! (‘Course, back then I didn’t realise New Order had written that theme in the first place).

    (#) Ironically, I think my Dad probably watched the Def II programmes (##)- or at least Rough Guide to the World- more than I did; maybe that’s where I’d remembered it from.

    (##) And other early-evening yoof TV stuff like No Limits. Apparently he and my Mum spotted them filming No Limits in St Andrews (IIRC) one time. Which was nice.

  150. 150
    benson_79 on 8 Nov 2020 #

    The existence of a Peter Beardsley version of the rap is morbidly fascinating to me.

    Peter Hook’s memoir Substance is quite the read. Reflecting the times in which it was written – where Hooky now plows a lonely furrow playing Joy Division songs while the rest of NO carry on without him – he spends at least half the book mercilessly slagging off Sumner.

    Apparently Tony Wilson introduced him to Caroline Ahearne; after their car-crash marriage had ended Tony bumped into Hooky and asked what she’d been like. Mental, said Peter. Thought so, replied Tony, and sauntered away.

  151. 151
    Margi Davidson on 24 Apr 2021 #

    Personally I think football is bobbins, but I love New Order and this tune is great. 9/10.

  152. 152
    Leslie Forsyth on 24 Apr 2021 #

    Don’t like soccer, but love this 9/10

  153. 153
    Gareth Parker on 5 May 2021 #

    I think I going to go over the top here an award a 10/10! I just absolutely love this. Good to see anything involving New Order at #1, so full marks for me.

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