Rugby had more carcinogenic shit hole pubs than most small towns , the volume of industry and agriculture sustained them , a drug scene established in the 1960’s flourished creating a hidden society of drug takers and a drug squad to go with it .
It was a dirty town ,small, underdeveloped, filled with odd patches of dereliction, broken down buildings, expanses of wasteland,it was hemmed in by a patchwork of well kept suburbia, estates for each strata of the English classes, and a public school which stood at the epicentre, impenetrable as an army garrison and as welcome as a concentration camp, Rugby had a kind of an intrigue and charm and just enough life in it to feel like hanging around.
It was a place where random violence was a form of entertainment, where saw dust Caesars fought in streets and pubs to maintain reputations.
GEC was the big employer, if you worked at GEC you had a job for life, the first time I was taken on a tour round the factory floor they stopped at one guy working on a machine. ‘This is Alf, he is due to retire this week, Alf has worked here in the light machine shop since he left school …’ I looked at the man , he looked old and used up, sixteen to sixty five , you must be joking I thought.
The GEC factory was a notorious soul destroyer but also a beguiling place, by the time we were contemplating recording Sound Of Confusion I think I had survived the worst the town could offer, GEC, booze, narcotics, disease, violence, I was resolved to rid my life of everything that was bad and just keep hold of the good things.
The government had been scaring people shitless with Aids ads on tv and most people I knew were single.
It felt like a monastic existence, drug use offered escapism and a wasted life, a slow death was a high probability so life for me ironically became a quest to find another path.
Duran Duran were as I remember one of the groups that defined the times, they pedalled a fantasy that the grime infected country wanted however fake and unfeasible but they did it well, with a high degree of professionalism.
UB40 were a Birmingham Reggae band, two great lp’s and they became lazy and unfocused, bloated on wealth, both bands had recorded at Bob Lamb’s studio in Birmingham.
The Midlands was the same all over, a certain amount of trade and commerce gave the area a vitality but only just, it was a rural landscape that had been partially industrialised but the empty vacuum of the countryside was never far away.
January 1986. The space shuttle Challenger disintegrates in mid flight killing all on board.