England Made Me Black Box Recorder Chrysalis Released: July 1998 Highest UK Chart Position: 89 Available on: England Made Me Understand: Luke Haines Hates You. In his previous band, The Auteurs, he railed against the nostalgic reinvention of the 1970s, using the album How I Learned To Love The Bootboys to expose the rotten chipboard soul behind the rose-tinted talk of Spangles, Space Hoppers, and the Bay City Rollers. With Black Box Recorder, he expanded his range to pour scorn over the idea of "Cool Britannia". That there is something about England, something sinister, something that grinds us all down into the ground, making us bitter and twisted, constantly looking back in time to make the monotony of the present day bearable. England Made Us, and no matter what, we cannot escape from its shadow. The cover adorning the single features Lord Lucan; the perfect image for England's past; landed gentry, a member of the class we all supposedly aspire to. Somebody who would have probably been aware of, and possibly even involved in, the plot to overthrow the Labour Government of the 1970s, to prevent us upstarts from ruling and placing the country back in the hands of the benevolent gentlemen of the Conservatives. Lord Lucan, who killed his nanny and fled prosecution when it became clear that there were things even a Lord couldn't get away with. And the song itself? Sarah Nixey's perfectly upper-middle-class English accent speaks softly as she delivers her lecture on what it means to be from England, only singing when the chorus interrupts; a sad lament of "England made me". Instead of offsetting the disturbing lyrics, the school teacher delivery makes them all the more haunting. The first line sets the tone; the spider trapped within the glass. England as sadists, drummed into us even as children. The music that goes along with Nixey's vocals is minimal, reminiscent of a children's ITV show, and like Sarah, only comes to life during the chorus. For the most of the song, it provides a melancholy and ghostly backing; the spectre of England that can't be described using mere words. Only at the end does it open its gaping jaw and swallows everything. Luke Haines Hates You. But he knows it's not your fault. A year into the rule of New Labour, and the sheen still hadn't worn off; 1997 was the first time that Thatcher's children got a chance to vote, and we sent them packing, hoping for a real change. Haines points out that we were just fooling ourselves. England never changes. It changes us instead.