Secret Affair - So Cool - The Very Best Of Secret Affair (Demon Records) 1

Secret Affair – So Cool – The Very Best Of Secret Affair (Demon Records)

Secret Affair were a force of nature. The band had a handful of hits in the UK between 1979 and 1981, the best known of these undoubtedly ‘Time For Action‘, a ridiculously infectious top 20 smash in 1979, and the almost as big (and arguably even better) ‘My World‘ the following year. I suspect most people would recognise the number 32 hit that was sandwiched between them too – ‘Let Your Heart Dance‘ – if they gave it a spin now.

It’s an unfortunate thing that the term ‘Mod Revival’ became inextricably linked with David Cairns and Ian Page’s brainchild, because, much like the more innovative bands (Pulp, Supergrass etc) that were unceremoniously bundled in with the ‘Britpop’ banner, they were so much more than that.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the original Mod sound, of course, but Secret Affair had a remarkable knack for writing punchy, catchy songs that were equally as appealing to Joe Public as they were to any hardcore fans of the genre. As aficionado Eddie Piller puts it in his sleeve notes here, “While the majority of thrusting Mods were ‘Punks in parkas’, Page and Cairns came from a more soulful perspective” and goes on to point out that Page regularly played the trumpet on stage, not something you would necessarily associate with the Lambretta crowd.

Not only that, but the band was a whole lot more diverse than many of their ilk. Sure, they had shades of The Who about them, at times, less so The Jam, to pick arguably the two most famous examples. Secret Affair were (I keep saying “were”, though I should really be saying “are”, as Cairns and Page still perform) very much a party band. Their main remit was to make sure you danced. And dance we did.

With lyrics that were more based on societal observation and internal feeling, rather than the hard-hitting political angst that Weller espoused, Secret Affair had a far-reaching appeal that probably should have seen them conquer the UK on a commercial scale for longer than the two years they spent in the limelight. This two-disc anthology goes some way to proving that, which is also available as a vinyl album curated down to their very best moments. So the invigorating rush of ‘Lost In The Night (Mack The Knife)‘ closes side one, and as if to hammer home the fact that there was more to this band than meets the eye/ear, side two finishes with the stunning ‘When The Show’s Over‘, ostensibly their own ‘Baba O’Riley‘.

Anyway, don’t just take my word for it – this 14-track vinyl edition condenses the group’s material down to their absolute essentials, and if that whets your appetite, you won’t be disappointed by the 34-track CD version! What are you waiting for? Come on, time for action!

Secret Affair play the 100 Club on 30th September. Tickets available here:


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.