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This Weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… The Auteurs…”How I learned to Love the Bootboys” January 17, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....


I know some people prefer New Wave or indeed After Murder Park. But for me How I Learned to Love the Bootboys is the one.

I saw them in the Tivoli in Dublin’s Liberties in the early 1990s (actually I saw a bunch of bands there during that period from PWEI to The Fall, all great) and always thought them a better band – by far – than the hideously over-rated Suede, not least because their songs could sometimes be difficult to like but were always worth listening to. That said I never bought the second album. Not entirely sure why, but I did by the U-ziq remix version of the second album which either brilliantly or infuriatingly did away with almost everything of the Auteurs and wound up pretty magic. Paradinas famously had no time for the band, but… so what?

Luke Haines was (and presumably remains) a bit of a character. I vividly remember him at the entrance to the stage before the gig peering out, looking (and for all I know he was) as if he were counting the numbers in the hall. He shouldn’t have worried too much. Those there were there to see him and the band. There were enough. More than enough. And here’s something I’d never realised before looking up a few bits and pieces for this post. Haines had played guitar with C-86 linked The Servants in the 1980s who had appropriated the rhythm section of the late great The Triffids (it doesn’t end there. Future members of Loop, Lush and the Housemartins all were alumni of the Servants).

But even then with long blond receding hair there was something brilliantly disconnected and detached about him and the music. People had mentioned Television and other bands when referencing their sound, and surely there was something of that. But it was also paradoxically both denser and more immediate.

In a way, having mentioned Denim recently, there’s something of that to How I Learned to Love the Bootboys…particularly on this album with its fascination with the 1970s. Haines says at one point that he hates nostalgia, but I don’t believe him, and I suspect neither should you.

Here’s “The Rubettes”

And here is an acoustic version of 1967…

And here is “Some Changes”. A pity that this isn’t available in the album version, but it’s still a cracking track.

This kid comes up to me, says ‘You’ve gotta raise your game’
This kid is half my age, ‘Pleased to meet you, Mr Haines’

It’s weird. To me this is close to representing the last great indie album… since I heard it back in ’99 I don’t think I’ve enjoyed indie anywhere near as much. It’s almost as if this strand of indie, articulate, guitar based pop inflected whatever was finally played out. The hints of 70s glam, the discrete bits of electronica and the faux-vainglorious lyrics foreshadowed much of the 2000s indie output. But somehow was and remains so much better than it. Haines almost said as much in the elegiac Future Generations which suggested that some day some people would truly get him and the Auteurs….

Future generations
Will catch my falling star
And of course I love the old songs
From New Wave to Murder Park
The next generation
Will get it from the start
It’s the ending of the modern age
And I know I’m just a sham
I put a pox on the seventies
Future generation

I don’t care about your punk rock hits
Just E.S.P kids, future generation
Future generation
Will catch my falling star

My name’s Lazarus, Aquarius
This is a song for a future generation
This music could destroy a nation

This music could destroy a nation
Future generation

He might be right.


1. Starkadder - January 17, 2009

I love the Auteurs’ music. I was a huge Black Box Recorder fan as

Have you heard about Haines’ new book, “Bad Vibes”?



2. goodhardrant - January 17, 2009

A good reminder, because I must admit I somewhat skipped this one album, partly because I got a bit obsessed by the Auteurs Vs U-ziq album and only picked up again with Black Box Recorder. If I’d known about the book I could have asked for it for xmas. Sigh.


3. WorldbyStorm - January 17, 2009

Starkadder, I only just read about today. Looks great. Do you have it?

ghr… I loved Auteurs Vs U-ziq… really loved it, it sort of opened the door for me to some of the more exotic electronica (even though I guess it wasn’t that exotic in itself). But it was robbed on me about sixteen years ago.


4. goodhardrant - January 17, 2009

Swine. I had it on a cruddy tape cassette from a friend. It eventually wore out due to late night lets-dance-hammered-in-the-kitchen sessions. I haven’t heard it in about ten years. Unbelievable. In the absence of a CD thank God for youtube:

Luke Haines married a music journalist who describes him as ‘a destructive ‘n’ despotic genius’ which is rather nice. A friend saw him a while back trailing around some middle-class part of London with his sprog and wife looking as misanthropic as ever. So there’s hope for us all!


5. WorldbyStorm - January 18, 2009

Great stuff. Cheers for that. I’m glad he’s still so angry, or is it bitter?


6. Wednesday - January 18, 2009

Another great band … the second album’s my favourite btw.

Saw them a couple times on the tour for that album (they were so good I went back the second night!) and was surprised at how angry/bitter he didn’t seem. All smiles on stage.


7. WorldbyStorm - January 18, 2009

I caught him on a less cheery night, he seemed more pensive than angry… but still great…


8. Seán Báite - January 20, 2009

Funny that – I remember runnning into one of your fellow Greendale heads (who was in the same year as me in the College Green Tech) in the salubrious surroundings of Kilbarrack Shopping Centre the week before that Tivoli gig.
When he mentioned it, I put them down as Fall wannabes (though slicker and less Northern). An imagined similarity to Suede was also a strong repellant to me.
Hadn’t given them much of a chance at the time.
Ta for reminding me of them.
Seán an caoire


9. Wednesday - January 21, 2009

Oh yes, forgot to give a nod of approval to the “hideously over-rated Suede” part. Never ever ever understood their massive appeal.

Ever listen to the Bardots? Sort of what Suede might have sounded like if they were actually any good.


10. WorldbyStorm - January 21, 2009

No, but that’s definitely on the list. Thank God someone else feels that way. I sort of somewhat liked the second album, although oddly on rehearing it I could never find the bits I liked. The others, were okay. Never great. And yes, I saw them at the Tivoli too.


11. deadmanonleave - January 23, 2009

I thought I was one of the only people that liked that album…..it almost, but not quite, made me feel guilty for joining the band in chanting obscenities about the Auteurs at Sultans of Ping gigs in the early 90’s.

Cheers for the reminder!


12. Hughie D - February 16, 2009

Good choice. Ironically I was giving HILTLTB a work out on my car stereo today before I came across this thread – inspired by reading the excellent “Bad Vibes”. Love “Asti Spumantie”, “1967” and “Lights out”. It’s a belter of an LP and you can hear the Baader Meinhof-isms he picked up and used with the Auteurs on this LP i.e. the Arabic-style string sweeps. To be honest I don’t think Hanies is capable of writing a bad song – either that or he’s got a very high quality control.

One of the best singer/songwriters of the last 20 years. FACT

FOOTNOTE: “And here is “Some Changes”. A pity that this isn’t available in the album version, but it’s still a cracking track.”

There’s a promo CD of the LP with a sort of DIY Luke Haines interview and four acoustic tracks from the LP including the two above.


13. WorldbyStorm - February 16, 2009

No argument with me there Hughie D…


14. robert schouten - February 25, 2009

And in a way a fut gen picked it up: there’s more than one thing in the music of Duels that reminds of mr haines. And a dutch band called Alaska, of wich i’m – by the way- the pickpockersinger, whoehaha. Good to know there are still people who value Auteurs right. Time for a best of auteurs/haines cd, starting with
This is not entertainment,
never keep a good one down, early years
bailed out
light aircraft on fire
new french girlfriend
valet parking
idiot brother
never work
lenny valentino
how does the magic
future generation
and ten more


15. WorldbyStorm - February 26, 2009

Thanks robert.


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