The five big boxes of cassettes that I started this experiment with, once so neatly arranged and stacked, are now in complete disarray. The 60 cassettes that have gone before now sit happily together on a shelf, but the ones still to come are absolutely all over the place.
Some are sorted into piles (or perhaps more accurately, heaps) ready to be listened to, others lie discarded in the ‘maybe next month’ box and yet more, as mentioned previously, make up the ‘dreadzone’. Here languish Nick Heyward’s later solo works, Bowie’s ‘Buddha of suburbia’ soundtrack, ABC’s ‘How to be a zillionaire’, Thompson Twins’ ‘Quick step and side kick’ and the one I’m maybe dreading the most, Paul King’s potentially inappropriately titled ‘Joy’.
Also in the ‘dreadzone’ sit my two Bauhaus cassettes, ‘The sky’s gone out’ and our subject today 1981’s ‘Mask’.
For a while in the early 1980’s I loved Bauhaus. I think. I certainly listened to them a lot, so I guess I must’ve done. Originally attracted by their cover of ‘Ziggy Stardust’, I sought out their other works. I can clearly remember buying ‘Mask’ from a second-hand shop in North Shields.
With the exception of a few singles, I hadn’t listened to Bauhaus for donkey’s years, so I approached ‘Mask’ with a little anxiety. Guess what – apart from a couple of filler tracks that were never that great in the first place, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
I still find the mainly spoken ‘Of lilies and remains’ amusing, but was never sure if that was the band’s intention. ‘Passion of lovers’ still sounds reasonably fresh and exciting and ‘Hollow hills’ still sounds wonderfully murky, possibly assisted by 32 years of oxidation of magnetic tape.
So, all in all, an uplifting experience. If you’ve got a copy you might like to dig it out and give this dark and downbeat piece of 1981 musical history another listen. I’m actually rather looking forward to ‘The sky’s gone out’ now!
Label – Beggars Banquet
Year – 1981
Started on my 5th set of AA batteries today.