It’s all there in the opening line: I am angry, I am ill, and I’m as ugly as sin. Welcome to Magazine, a band that is definitely not working the same boring fantasies as your Van Halens, Bostons, Foreigners or any of the other popular outfits of the day. Nah, this was a Dostoyevskian truth, bitter and beautiful. And what a hot band! All the bile and eviscerating energy of punk, but not afraid to be a little sophisticated. Hell, you could even dance to it, annoy the people downstairs, under the floorboards.
It’s 1979 and man, it’s cold out there. Back in the 1950s, they said wine, women and song. Come the 1960s, it was drugs, sex and rock and roll. Now, almost into the 1980s, it’s just, I will drug and fuck you on the permafrost. At least, that’s how the band known as Magazine put it on their second album, Second Hand Daylight, as bleak as it was invigorating, taking all the bile and negation of punk and smartening it up some, getting progressive even.
“Magazine were first pitched to me by a guy from Quintessence Records (before it turned into Zulu). Late 1979, maybe early 1980, he kept making it his business to convince me that Prog Rock was dead, that punk had killed it, that whatever cool, innovative, progressive music the future might hold — it would come from punk and the wreckage it had made of all that had come before. Anyway, he more or less forced Second Hand Daylight on me and, which started strong with Feed the Enemy and never really let up. A plane crash over the border, unconvincing border guards, hunger. No room for doubt. That was a future I could grab onto. And holy sh** — what a bass line!” (Philip Random)
As the story goes, Magazine got formed because Howard Devoto thought the Buzzcocks were already sounding too “old hat”. Which makes My Mind Ain’t So Open a perfect intro to this new sound he had in mind. A little too smart for punk, a little too vicious for pop. The 1980s were still two years away but stakes were already clarifying. They’d be like the 1960s all over again, except this time it would be love and spite, not love and peace.