By Shane McElligott
I was 14 in 1982 and would while away my Saturdays thumbing through the vinyl at Goodness Records on Streatham High Road. As I did so on this particular Saturday I saw something that would change my life forever. I stood and stared. I was mesmerised. I picked up the record. It was ‘Ghosts’ by Japan. I knew nothing of the band, but the photograph on the picture sleeve spoke to me. I don’t mean it actually spoke to me; I was a pretty strange teenager but not that strange.
The power of an image should not be underestimated. It spoke to my soul. It spoke of isolation. It cried rejection. It sighed regret. It whispered despair. These were all things that I knew a lot about. I was 14, remember? I’d never been affected like this before and I’ve never reacted so strongly to an image since. I bought the record and went straight home to play it. The music was as much a revelation as the photograph. Has there ever been a more perfect marriage of image and music? I don’t think so. That photograph started me on a musical and visual journey that continues to this day.
My life changed that day and I have to thank Steve Jansen for that. Or blame him. Take your pick.