Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, Good Times

Sometime on Friday 30 April 1982, in an apartment somewhere in New York City, Lester Bangs dies. He is found lying on the floor. He is approximately thirty-three-and-a-third years old. He had been suffering from the ‘flu and had been taking Darvon and NyQuil. It was suggested that his immune system was shot due to an over-zealous cleaning-up of his own body following a lifetime of alcohol and speed abuse. But he was taking more than the recommended dose of both these remedies, and in addition had taken quite a bit of valium. There is a record spinning on his stereo, the needle locked in the run-out groove. The record was Dare by the Human League. It has not been specified which side he had been listening to, or what song he was hearing at the point where he may have realised that life was sliding away from him. No one could know; he left no notes, not having planned to die.

I don’t know what he would have made or thought of it…

Marcello Carlin, reviewing Human League’s Dare on his #1 UK albums blog, brings Lester Bangs, Margaret Thatcher, and Heaven 17 to the table also. (Dare is not a record I continue to play often, but it’s probably one of the half dozen records about which I can accurately say that my initial listen to it was utterly transformative, in that it felt like a break from everything I’d listened to in my life up until then. It wasn’t, of course — nothing ever is — but initially, one Saturday evening in my basement bedroom, it felt anomalous.)

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