40 years in music


As previously confirmed, award-winning songwriter and performer Jo Callis will perform a selection of Human League tracks this weekend to mark 40 years of making music. The show will also include a celebration of his time with The Rezillos and the launch of his latest band FingerHalo’s single One For The Angels. Tickets are on sale now.

Callis, Jobadiah William: Confidential Govt File No 1951-64/65 666JWC (extract).

In the olden days of World War II, the Special Operations Executive gave the green light for a plan to recruit a small unit of misfits – the type of persons who were likely to be more of a danger to themselves than the enemy – to infiltrate occupied Europe behind enemy lines, and distract, confuse or terrify Nazi High Command by performing a new Top Secret genre of martial beat music. The plan was named Operation Ungodly Racket by Winston Churchill himself. 

Due to security leaks which riddled British Military Intelligence at the time, Jerry got wind of the plan and therefore it had to be shelved. Yet, while Himmler considered the operation as merely taking the piss, Adolf Hitler was reputedly so disturbed and terrified by the concept that he immediately shot himself and his mistress Eva Braun. She had been listening to gramophone and magnetic tape recordings from Ungodly Racket which had been bootlegged by the Abwehr (German Military Intelligence) and whose last words reputedly were: “I am quite liking ze one about ze babies making ze sculptures though,” before Hilter blew her head off. Thus ended Nazi tyranny in Europe and any dreams of “The Thousand Year Reich”.

Declassified in 1976, the plans for Operation Ungodly Racket fell into the hands of a group of seditious anti-establishment art students in Edinburgh, Scotland, where they were repurposed in an effort to subvert the political ambitions of Margaret Thatcher’s hardline and unpopular Conservative Government of the day.

Being a young and naive art student myself at the time, I was soon all-too easily induced into this cell, which called itself The Rezillos. Operations were soon in progress, initially around Scotland, and then escalating to cover much of Great Britain then other territories around the world.

Events, however, were relatively short-lived, with myself in particular attracting the unwanted attention of government agency Criminal Intelligence 5, and shortly thereafter detained by CI5 operatives Raymond Doyle and Willian Bodie (a right pair o’ fannies). The head of CI5, Major George Cowley (ironically a Scot himself) is actually quoted as having said: “Many’s a Callis maks a racket.”

I was subsequently detained at the MOD establishment Porton Down, where I repaired synthesisers and changed guitar strings for The Royal Engineers. After two years I was put on probation for good behaviour and was allowed to pursue a career in the music industry, so long as I “behaved meself”. This did lead to some notable successes – in particular the electronic invasion of America in the early 1980s. And the rest, as they say, is bollocks.

A little more seriously… Forty years ago ago, straight outta art school, we formed The Rezillos. The band, along with the cultural movements of the day, gave me the opportunity to do what I loved most for a livelihood. I wholeheartedly grasped that opportunity – which was very fortunate as I’m fucking useless at just about everything else. God bless punk, the New York Dolls, the Pink Fairies and the Spiders From Mars. And God bless Prince.

As this is a bit of a landmark birthday celebration for me, I would selfishly like to appeal to the other guitar players present to put in a particularly lacklustre and shoddy performance on the night, so as to at least make me look reasonably competent. Jobadiah must ‘ave ‘is scratchin’s. Thank you.

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