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Take two ambitious musicians, mix in a chunk of bitterness, add the end of the punk era and you have the recipe of how it all started….
“Step back to 1978 and crawling from the burning wreckage of the New Hearts, singer Ian Page and guitarist Dave Cairns set about rebuilding their musical world. The New Hearts had chucked in college and signed to CBS when they were just 16 years old, but despite a tour supporting the Jam and two singles (‘Just Another Teenage Anthem’ in 1977 and ‘Plain Jane’ the following year), CBS pulled the plug on the band still three years shy of their five-year deal.”
Legend has it that-despite what the CBS A and R men thought about the acts to be signed-if Maurice Oberstein’s dog, “CHARLIE”, did not wag his tail when you came into his office on signing day-you wouldn’t get signed!
Luckily “CHARLIE” wagged his tail for New Hearts!
“Left with a bitter resentment of an industry they held responsible for the destruction of their first band, the young songwriters channelled this hate and cynicism into something more creative. Sure, the experience had scarred them for life, but hey, with a new band revenge was on the cards – and these boys would never forget!
Page and Cairns spent the immediate aftermath extricating themselves from their New Hearts contracts, whilst setting about writing the songs that were later to become Secret Affair standards – the first of which was ‘Glory Boys’, neatly hallmarked September 1978.
Left Ian and Dave on stage in early new hearts powerpop days. Right A very young Dave Cairns in his New Hearts days
Next up they advertised for ambitious young musicians "who must have a grudge against the music business." Bass-player Dennis Smith, fresh out of Advertising, and drummer Seb Shelton of the Young Bucks decided that they fitted the bill.
“With a rhythm-section finally capable of fusing rock riffs with a Tamla beat, Secret Affair made their first public appearance supporting The Jam at Reading University. And it was at this gig that Secret Affair discovered they weren’t alone.”
“There were mods there and they liked us,” said Ian Page later the same year. “They said: ‘Look, we’re mods, there’s quite a lot of us, and what we’re really looking for – I mean we love The Jam – but we’re looking for a band of our own, because they’re famous already.”
“What we want is a band that’s part of us.”
Directed to a pub in Barking called the Barge Aground, Ian Page went along to check out this burgeoning youth movement.
“And there it was. A sea of suits and parkas and hairstyles. Fuckin’ blew me out!” Page admitted to the NME. “I’d invented this Glory Boys concept, which was my reaction to being told that I wasn’t any good, and if I’m going to be honest the real idea was like a spiv; a suit, a black shirt and a white tie, clothes being very important. I walked in and I thought, ‘they’re all Glory Boys!’ But too late, they were mods. They said ‘We chose mods. We like what they did and now we’re going to make something of our own out of it’. That’s how our following started.”
“Through gigs at venues like the Bridge House Tavern in Canning Town and the Marquee Club, Secret Affair worked hard at developing and growing this following. At the prompting of Dave Cairns, Page dusted off his trumpet and then threw himself wholesale into Glory Boy lifestyle. They might not have been the only band on the block, but Secret Affair stood head and shoulders above their contemporaries – they’d been through it once already though.”
DO YOU KNOW? Ian Page was persuaded to bring his silver cornet along to rehearsals by Dave Cairns and after being persuaded to play- it was decided it was a part of the band they had to keep permanently.
“We used as a foundation what we learnt with the New Hearts,” Page told Melody Maker. “The New Hearts were simultaneous with The Jam, but we were up there learning the ropes. We weren’t good enough but Secret Affair take it farther than The Jam. They were a mod band working in punk and their audience was punk.”
“Page and Cairns never wanted to be a part of the ‘punk elite’. Page, brought up on a diet of his older brother’s Tamla collection, wanted to play something with a bit more of a groove to it.”
“We want to create music you could dance to without losing the… aggression is too rough a word,” Page told Smash Hits. “It’s the commitment.”
“Our music is ordered. A Tamla dance beat with contemporary lyrics and guitar sound.”
This ‘new dance’ style was really put to the test on May 7 with the recording of the ‘Mods Mayday ’79’ concert at the Bridge House. The subsequent album also showcased the talents of Squire, Small Hours, The Mods and Beggar, but it was the contributions from Secret Affair – live versions of their first two singles, plus ‘I’m Not Free (But I’m Cheap)’ – that made the LP a mod milestone. Secret Affair’s success would later help drag the album to a one-week stop at number 75 in the charts, but for now it was back to the live stage. A gig at The Music Machine on May 20 brought the kind of review that was beginning to make Secret Affair one of the hottest tickets in town.
“If you like mods, go and see Secret Affair,” wrote James Parade in Record Mirror. “And if you don’t like mods, go and see Secret Affair.”
“With money borrowed from their music publishers (“on the understanding that if we didn’t return it in 60 days he’d sue us,” said Page) Secret Affair recorded the Cairns composition ‘Time For Action’ and set about releasing it on their own I-Spy label through a deal struck with Arista Records. To promote the single, on August 10 they embarked on the ‘March Of The Mods’ tour with The Purple Hearts and Back To Zero”
At the tail-end of the tour, and with ‘Time For Action’ about to enter the charts, Secret Affair were last minute additions to the bill of ‘Top Of The Pops’ – prompting a Radio One appeal to help track down two missing band members. Ian Page and Dennis Smith, last seen in a white transit van heading for a gig at the Barnsley Civic, were finally located in Doncaster, arriving at the TV studios by helicopter with only a minute to spare. The show went out the next night and, in the days when a ‘Top Of The Pops’ appearance really meant something, kids all over the nation got to see the charismatic Page and his ‘new dance’ vision. Just two nights later – on September 1, 1979 – Secret Affair finally wound-up the 17-date ‘March Of The Mods’ tour in Liverpool. It was the day that ‘Time For Action’ entered the charts.
“With the single peaking at number 13 (selling more than 200,000 copies along the way), Page and Cairns had finally put all of their New Hearts ghosts behind them – and from this point on, Ian Page would court and confound the British music press in equal measures. He was a natural and charismatic frontman, intelligent and arrogant. It was these qualities that made him adored by thousands – and alienated from thousands more. Ian Page was busy getting the band all the headlines that they deserved, but he was also setting himself up to be shot down. “If punk was a question,” he told the NME in November 1979, “then mod is an answer – and some people don’t like the answer!” It turned out that a lot of people didn’t like his answers – but the NME put him on the cover anyway! Love him or loathe him, in 1979 you definitely couldn’t escape him! Ian Page was a star.”-Chris Hunt
And the rest of the band? A live five-piece now with Dave Winthrop on board, did they mind their singer dominating the spotlight?
“None of the band agree with everything he says,” Dave Cairns told Maximum Speed fanzine, “but I don’t think you’d disagree that he is good at talking.”
“And while Ian Page never stopped talking, the music press never tired of talking about Ian Page. And somewhere between the interviews and the front covers and the TV spots and the photo shoots, the band released their second single. But despite the 26-date ‘Dancing In The Street’ Tour (with label-mates Squire as support), ‘Let Your Heart Dance’ entered the charts on November 10 and abruptly stopped climbing at number 32.
Still, with ‘Glory Boys’ hot on its heels, 1979 would surely end with a bang, not a whimper. After all, whatever the critics thought of Ian Page, they surely couldn’t deny the album its deserved critical acclaim. It was more than a eulogy to a gang of east end mods, more than a way-of-life on vinyl. With its searing pop tunes and soaring saxes, its rock riffs and Motown rhythms fusing with Page’s duelling trumpet and two-tone-tonic street poetry, ‘Glory Boys’ was all this and more. It was sharp. It was ambitious. It was cynicism and optimism. It was rock and soul. It was stripped-down-raw and overblown pomp. It was everything!”-Chris Hunt
“Do yourself a favour,” wrote Mike Nicholls in Record Mirror. “No matter how trivial this year’s revival might seem, don’t let it cloud your judgement of a fine modern pop album.”
Secret Affair’s first album truly was a ‘fine modern pop album’, released just as the decade was ending. And although the mod revival was only just off the starting blocks, it had made more enemies than friends – and the press backlash was about to kick in.
DO YOU KNOW? The Movie that inspired the writing of the Glory Boys album was in fact a 1970 film called Performance, directed by Nicholas Roeg, (who incidentally also directed Fahrenheit 451, Don’t Look Now – starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie – and The Man Who fell To Earth – with the legendary performance of David Bowie). Both Ian Page and Dave Cairns were avid film buffs and it was this film that set their creative juices flowing so to speak and helped them write both Only Mad Men Laugh, I’m a Bullet and of course Glory Boys.
Performance starred James Fox, the slick, mod dressed fixer and thug working for a London underground Mob. Fox needing to hide out after the gangland killing of his former childhood friend seeks refuge from Mick Jagger, who plays the part of a reclusive rock-star and becomes Fox’s unwitting Landlord in his freaky 60’s house in Notting Hill. The music was written by Jack Nietzsche. It still remains Ian and Dave’s favourite classics to this day. Ian remembers that they were not the only fans of the film and were often surrounded by other music legends from The Sex Pistols to the Clash on the many occasions they watched the film. Watch out for the classic line “I’m a bullet” in Dave’s favourite scene of the film…
“It would only be the toughest mod bands who would survive 1980. But Secret Affair still had a trick up their sleeve yet – the best song in their repertoire and one that they’d held back from the ‘Glory Boys’ album. A little thing called ‘My World’.
Was there ever an album as unexpected as ‘Behind Closed Doors’? As audacious? As vibrant? As completely the best-thing-you’d-ever-heard? Just when people thought they’d got Secret Affair sussed, worked them out right down to their two-tone tonic smiles, Ian Page would – right out of left-field – magic up something just that bit extra-special. And ‘Behind Closed Doors’ IS just that bit extra-special!
At the end of 1979 Secret Affair should have been fairly pleased with themselves. after the demise of the CBS-signed New Hearts, they had only played their first gig in January 1979 as support to The Jam, but by August they were on the cover of every music magazine in the country and riding high in the charts with ‘Time For Action’, while the critically acclaimed ‘Glory Boys’ became one of the defining albums of the year.
With that kind of attention you could have forgiven the band for a touch of complacency, but even before the release of ‘Glory Boys’, the difficult second album was already front of mind. Having gained notoriety while spearheading the British mod revival, the band were sharp enough to realise they would have to have something pretty impressive up their sleeves to survive the backlash from a music press rather more enamoured with the Two-Tone movement.
After their experiences in the New Hearts, the contempt with which Page and Cairns viewed the music business meant that Secret Affair were on the offensive – in interviews and in the lyrical content of their songs – before anyone had even thought of criticising them. But now the music press were playing catch-up. Secret Affair’s first album had barely reached the shops in early December 1979 when Paul Morley’s biting review of their gig at The Rainbow hit the pages of the NME.”-Chris Hunt
“The thin mod thread that has woven its way through this year’s complex rock development won’t stretch much farther,” he wrote. “As a craze, it was never going to mean that much, despite those who tried to wrap it up as something more. Secret Affair have effectively used it to step through into something else.”
“Secret Affair had always been the most versatile of the new mod bands and they were indeed planning to ‘step through to something else’, but even their most die-hard fans were taken by surprise by the quantum leap in style and approach of ‘My World’. In ‘Glory Boys’ Secret Affair had released the definitive mod album, but with ‘My World’ they had come up with one of THE great pop singles of all time. Exhilarating in its execution, Ian Page took the early Affair stage favourite – it was considered too good to sacrifice on a debut album – and brought his taste for theatrical over-production to the song.
With its orchestral arrangement and seamless soul vocals, ‘My World’ had Ian Page written all over it – but the song actually came from the pen of guitarist Dave Cairns. Through the career of Secret Affair, Page remained the public face of the band, but it was his song writing sparring partner who wrote the biggest hits – and while Cairns’ lyrical prowess may never have reached the audacious complexity of Page at his best, the pure emotional simplicity of ‘My World’ leaves it, to this day, the band’s greatest achievement.
‘My World’ became a radio hit and spent nine weeks on the pop charts, but Arista’s lack of support and failure to either place the record into the right shops or supply the ever-growing demand for the single meant that ‘My World’ reached only number 16. And to make matters worse, Arista itself had been taken over by Ariola Records, who seemed to be totally unaware of the existence of its I-Spy offshoot.”-Chris Hunt
“Since they took over we’ve not been promoted so well,” Page moaned during the single’s promotional campaign. “‘My World’ had sold 110,000 copies before appearing in the charts. I really feel that the carpet has been pulled from under our feet!”
“Secret Affair locked themselves away for the recording of ‘Behind Closed Doors’ – this was where they would flex their musical muscle, show a little bit of what they were really capable of. But even from behind closed studio doors word was leaking out about Page’s grand vision. It all added to the band’s paranoia about the project. Dave Cairns was declining all press interviews, while Dennis Smith readily admitted the band were having to confront their own personal doubts about the ambitious project.”-Chris Hunt
“We thought it could come out bland, like too much of a musician’s indulgence,” Dennis Smith told The Face. Ian Page was more certain but remained worried about whether the leap in style was too great for the record buying public. “There’s a distinct change of approach and I want to see how people like it,” he admitted. “We have been out of the public eye for a few months. The new record will be taken on face value and that could turn everything… very low-key very quickly!”
“To warn of the album’s imminent arrival, ‘Sound Of Confusion’ was released as a single in August 1980, but rather than blazing the trail for ‘Behind Closed Doors’ to follow, it only climbed to number 45 in the charts. Unperturbed, on September 11 Secret Affair embarked on the 22-date ‘Sound Of Confusion’ tour, supported by The Step. The overblown vision for the album was even given its showcase on the tour, with Ian Page dragging out his grand piano for ‘Streetlife Parade’. It was a travelling propaganda show to win over the doubters – and as if by magic, midway through the tour, ‘Behind Closed Doors’ was released.”-Chris Hunt
“From the opening footsteps that introduce ‘What Did You Expect’, to the epic cascade of sounds that end ‘Streetlife Parade’, ‘Behind Closed Doors’ is a magnificent achievement. The outright optimism of ‘My World’ and ‘Live For Today’ are matched by the biting cynicism of ‘I’m A Bullet’ and ‘When The Show Is Over’; and while they might have banked ‘My World’ from the early Affair days, they went back further to their New Hearts past to blow the dust off ‘Only Madmen Laugh’. Ian Page’s complex production and accomplished string arrangements give the songs their life, the resonance of Dennis Smith’s bass playing brings the album an undeniable depth, while Dave Winthrop’s exhilarating sax soars over each song as he is given the freedom to really stamp his identity on the band’s sound.”-Chris Hunt
Secret Affair were extremely proud of the finished album, but well in advance of its release they had already ring-fenced themselves from the critics. “The album title itself indicates the current state of mind in the Affair’s camp: a paranoid desire to offer their goods to the world from behind a protective barrier,” wrote Simon Ludgate in his five-star Record Mirror review. “The irony is that the buffer is totally unnecessary because these songs are perhaps the strongest collection they have had on offer to date.”
‘Behind Closed Doors’ only reached number 48 in the charts, leaving Ian Page ever more bitter with a music industry he blamed. “I don’t think anybody has the ears to hear what I have to say. Rock and roll is a very phony, bullshit industry,” he told Record Mirror. “We created something we believed people could believe in as a dream. The dream’s the only thing that keeps rock going. Rock and roll is basically bullshit and I hate it passionately.”
And mod? How did Page view that as he headed towards the end of 1980? “We are the movement, we’re all that’s left of it,” he said. “We were the only band who could play and the only ones who stayed by our ideals, meant what we said and stayed with it.”
He was right. Secret Affair turned their attentions to America, and when they finally re-appeared with ‘Do You Know’ over a year later, they were all that was left of the new mod. But that’s a story best kept for the re-issue of their last album ‘Business As Usual’.
Just to hear that voice made it all worth while, just to see them play. In the early days Secret Affair may have been inspirational, but at the death they were breathtaking. Ian Page suited-up, black shirt, red tie, holding the mike like it was something precious, that amazing voice whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Dennis Smith stage-right, cradling his Rickenbacker bass waist-high, swinging it from side to side, strutting with it, dancing with it. Dave Cairns prowling the edge of the stage like a man possessed, his deep menacing eyes scanning the crowd, he’d pick you out with a glance and lock hold with a stare that didn’t let up. Dave Winthrop arching his back to squeeze the last drop of soul from his sax. And the rhythm king himself, Paul Bultitude pounding out the big beats for dancemaster Page, the ayatollah of cool!
Yes, on their last tour Secret Affair were breathtaking. On their last album they played like their lives depended on it. In that last year they pulled no punches. And the real crime was that far too few people saw them when they were that good!
Listening to it now, it’s still hard to comprehend how ‘Business As Usual’ has remained the most overlooked and underrated of their albums, as in many ways it is the one that most represents what Secret Affair were all about. Formed in early 1979, Ian Page and Dave Cairns had a vision of fusing rock riffs with Motown beats. In their first year they’d hit the cover of every music magazine in the country and taken ‘Time For Action’ into the top 20. With ‘Glory Boys’ they had released one of the defining albums of the year, but by the middle of 1980 the bubble seemed to have burst. ‘My World’ sold by the bucket load, but the ‘Behind Closed Doors’ album failed to set the charts alive. With ‘Business As Usual’ they wanted to put the record straight. Going back to basics, they planned to go out as they’d come in – they wanted to make people dance. The songs on this collection still rank among their strongest, but its in the collision of rock and dance that ‘Business As Usual’ really hits its mark.
It wasn’t a smooth journey to the third album though. Through the pressurised experience of ‘Behind Closed Doors’ the relationship between Ian Page and Dave Cairns had become strained and they had all-but stopped collaborating as a songwriting partnership. And to make matters worse, drummer Seb Shelton rounded off the ‘Sound Of Confusion’ tour by calmly announcing to a stunned dressing room that he was leaving the band. His decision to quit Secret Affair in favour of the ‘Come On Eileen’ incarnation of Dexy’s Midnight Runners was a big shock, but the band tried to make light of it. “He never drank or smoked and he was always very keen on keeping fit,” said Ian Page, “so I’m sure he’s very happy there.”
Seb’s departure, although a blow, allowed the band to bring in Paul Bultitude as a replacement. Not entirely a stranger to the band, Bultitude had not only played with Dennis Smith in powerpop band Advertising, but as Smith’s cousin he had often travelled the country with Secret Affair. Re-uniting the cousins and bringing Bultitude’s wide musical nous and meaty drumming style to the band would have a significant musical impact in the run up to the third album. But in the meantime there were more pressing matters to think about.
The commercial failure of ‘Behind Closed Doors’ was extremely hard for Secret Affair to accept. Such was the climate towards the band in late 1980 that they felt they had no option but to get away for a while in an attempt to make headway elsewhere in the world. They set their sights high of course – Secret Affair decided that they were going to take on America!
Their releases in the United States were running about a year behind the UK. In September 1980, as ‘Behind Closed Doors’ was due out at home, America was only just getting its head around their debut album. Issued in the States with a different sleeve and with the addition of ‘My World’, the release of ‘Glory Boys’ meant that the band were called upon to make flying promotional visits to the US. They liked it and fancied a bit more, so on March 3, 1981, they kicked of their biggest and longest tour ever with a gig at Cardies in Houston, Texas.
In the UK Secret Affair were deemed to be merely the product of a youth cult, a passing phase, but in America they could be taken at face value. For two-and-a-half months they could just do what they did best – entertain! Driving all-day everyday and playing every night, Secret Affair soon settled into the rhythm of the tour, taking in about 30 American States. It was a hard and gruelling tour but it certainly knocked the band into shape and reminded them of just how good they actually were. It also gave them a reason for staying together!
“One thing that America taught us was that we were able to walk onto a stage without one person in the auditorium knowing who we were and still get a reaction,” Ian Page told the NME. “In Britain we’d been conditioned to believe that we were popular only because we were at the head of a new fashion movement.”
After the final American gig at the Peppermint Lounge in New York, the band then headed to Canada for the final stretch of the trip – and then it was back home. Two months of solid gigging had not only made them a rock-solid live act, but had also given them the confidence to go into the recording studio and perform together as ‘a band’ again! Ian Page and Dave Cairns found themselves closer as a songwriting partnership than at any time since the early days of the band, when they had painstakingly crafted and created the original ‘Glory Boys’ concept. Once again they had a sense of focus. Locking themselves away at Dave’s parents’ house, they set about penning a set of Secret Affair’s strongest songs.
With the American experience still a unifying memory, the band headed out of London to a residential recording studio in Cornwall. The relative commercial failure of ‘Behind Closed Doors’ meant that the budget for their third album had been slashed, but confidence was still high. The songs were strong, the band felt tight – they just wanted to get into the studio and make the kind of music that came naturally!
For two months the band remained in Cornwall, totally immersing themselves in the making of ‘Business As Usual’. Soon afterwards ‘Do You Know’ – their first single in 12 months – was released. Entering the charts on October 17, the single climbed to just number 57. For the first time in their career there wasn’t a queue of music journalists waiting to interview Ian Page, but the strength of their name and reputation at least ensured the single was reviewed and that they got on TV to promote it.
Secret Affair hadn’t played live since returning to the UK in May, but they finally embarked on a mini-tour in December in preparation for the release of ‘Lost In The Night’ the following month. This line-up hadn’t yet played in the UK and they introduced their new set with a series of gigs that included The Electric Ballroom and The Marquee, with Paul Bultitude’s protégés, The Jetset, in support. The gigs were fast and furious, crowded and sweaty, played at 100mph. – everything seemed to be set up for the release of ‘Lost In The Night’, but on its release in early January 1982 it became their first single not to make any impression on the charts. By the time ‘Business As Usual’ was released at the end of the month, the writing seemed to be on the wall for the band.
Giving it one last shot, the band set out to promote the hell out of ‘Business As Usual’, kicking off with a gig at The Venue in Victoria. Ian Page had a vision which he hoped might save the band – to create an all-singing all-dancing Motown-style soul review. He took a step nearer this at The Venue by bringing on a pair of backing vocalists – introduced as ‘The Wealthy Tarts’ – to add a touch of style to ‘Somewhere In The City’ and ‘I Could Be You’. The gig was well received but the lack of any meaningful response to ‘Lost In the Night’ was still painful. “What mystifies me is that people still judge us in terms of two years ago,” Page told the NME. “Obviously we’ve made mistakes but I think it’s time to re-evaluate the band in terms of now.”
This wasn’t quite the arrogant Page of old, it was a singer who more than anything wanted people to listen to an album he regarded as Secret Affair’s finest. But sales weren’t high and the reviews were almost begrudging in their admission that here was a recording of class. In fact Sounds still managed to make a favourable five star review sound like a panning. “One feels that on the old credibility scale Secret Affair hone in somewhere slightly lower than brown sauce,” wrote Dave McCullough. “A refreshingly corrupt and steely efficient harking back to ‘basics’, ‘Business As Usual’ sounds as though it (simply) can’t afford to be crap.”
Melody Maker’s review was closer to the nub of the problem. “I’m surprised that Secret Affair have stayed together long enough to record a third album after their systematic dismembering by the music press,” Carol Clerk confessed. “The last album, brimming as it was with exquisitely tuneful songs, fell by the wayside, a victim of criminal neglect.” This album, she pleaded, “deserves the attention of an all-too apathetic public.”
Secret Affair had hoped to release one last single to turn things around. In ‘One Day In Your Life’ they had easily the best song that the band had written since ‘My World’, but they knew that to do it justice it would have to be re-recorded with a budget that lived up to the song. Arista wouldn’t wear the cost and Secret Affair were deprived of what could have been one more smash hit!
With a short tour around the country playing a mixture of college gigs and clubs, Secret Affair tried to breathe some life into the sales of the album. The live performances were hot, sharper than they’d ever been, but their following was showing definite signs of diminishing. On April 30, 1982, Secret Affair played their last London gig at City University in Islington. There was an air of intimidation in the crowd and afterwards the mood of the band wasn’t good – Page stalking through the corridors cutting a slightly uneasy figure. The band played one last gig, a private May Ball at Cambridge University, and then effectively disintegrated.
You can’t always measure a band by the size of its hits. Sure, Secret Affair had their share of chart smashes, but more important than that, they were a band who meant something to people. After the split the various members of Secret Affair all went on to work on differing musical projects (as indeed they’d had done before the Affair), but nothing ever really amounted to what they had in that rollercoaster three-and-a-half-year spell. Hopefully this series of re-issues will shine a fresh light on the legacy of exhilarating music that they left behind.
Just as a footnote to the Secret Affair story, in May 1999, some 17 years after the band had split up, Ian Page was coaxed onto the stage of The Forum in London to play through those songs once again. That day I was struck by the amount of people who approached him, each with a tale of what he had meant to them, of how much the music that he and Dave Cairns had written so long ago had touched their lives. I was surprised because I didn’t realise that so many other people still felt as passionately about them as I did.
“But Secret Affair were that rare and treasured thing, the kind of band who could change your life. They certainly changed mine. Without Secret Affair I would never have considered writing about music – they were the band who set me off on a career that took me from mod fanzines to national magazines. They inspired me and thousands like me to write, to play, to dance, to get smart. There can be no greater compliment than that.” Chris Hunt
It wasn’t until 2002 that Secret Affair re-emerged for three revival gigs at Bristol Academy, Birmingham and Shepherds Bush…the mods were back! Highlighted on Top of The Pops 2 and featured in Scootering Magazine and The Evening Standard, fans of the band began to surface. This was helped by the fan site www.sohostrut.co.uk set up by Tony Clarke and added to by myself (trACEy) and Dave Porter and others that had been long time fans. 2003… and another gig was on the horizon…THE SCALA KINGS CROSS a night to remember forever….
But the story doesn’t end there. A recent ITV series in the UK (2003) entitled ‘Sounds Of Underground London (S.O.U.L) featured the Mod Revival in one episode. Our very own Ian Page was interviewed, with a clip of the original ‘Time For Action’ video as a bonus. Albeit a brief clip of the past it was enough for a small gathering of new followers to begin to appear as a result.
Still the influence of Secret Affair on the mod scene is still felt by many of our fellow friends and “mod DJ’s” Eddie Piller, Dave Porter and Kev Lock cite Secret Affair tracks in their all time top 20 records ever-(as seen in Scootering magazine issues 2003/2004) Steve Craddock from Ocean Colour Scene appeared at a recent AFFAIR gig and met Ian Page backstage to shake his hand. The band clearly retain their legend status as borne out by the response to this site and recent performances.
Onto 2004, a DVD of the band ‘Live at the Scala’ was released Spring 2004 after the launch of Secret Affair’s double CD Anthology late 2003.