The Thatcher Crisis Years

1980s politics blog from TV historian Tony McMahon

I always thought this was a curiously timed single from XTC.  Nigel was being railroaded in to a job at British Steel where he would be just another human widget on the production line.  Trouble is – the Nigels of Britain were being turfed out of British Steel at this time and would have given their eye teeth to get on to that production line.

So, unless somebody wants to argue the toss, I just thought the point this song seemed to be making was very outdated by 1980.  The problem for youth wasn’t ending up in a dead end job – it was not being able to get a dead end job.

The video reminds me a bit of the front cover of David Bowie’s album ‘Lodger’.   A rather hackneyed message about ‘them’ out to get you.  XTC just haven’t worn well for me, as you might have guessed.  But very evocative of the time.  And the tune is disgustingly catchy – I’m afraid you must watch this at your peril because you’re going to be humming it for the next week.

3 thoughts on “XTC – Making Plans For Nigel

  1. This was one of my fave songs from that era! Colin Moulding said that it was was partly autobiographical. His dad wanted a university future for him and he rebelled. “I know the song tells of a slightly different situation but it all boils down to the same thing – parental domination.”

    PS I demand Buggles coverage, please.

  2. Gerry Morrison says:

    I always took it to mean that Nigel was fucked, along with his future.

    1. Anyone would be fucked with that hairdo.

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