Secrets. Goddamn secrets are going to be the end of this whole trip. Hushed whispers everywhere -at the diner I overhear quiet conversation between Rob and Ryan, something about a letter. Bates constantly mumbling about the body -"gotta keep it fresh". Cliff steals off on his own secret mission, returning with lunch and a private package wrapped in brown paper. Bates and Sally argue in hushed tones; I think they might fink. Nate hasn?t said a damn thing yet.

Chris and Ryan had a secret, always sneaking into the back of the van and digging around. Chris and Ryan had a secret and it turned out to be guns, passing them out like door prizes at a birthday party. 45's and 30-30's and 12's and numbers, all those numbers and I'm just sitting there ducking below the windows in the corner of the van, waiting for God knows what secret to open itself up like a wound, with a gun in my lap. Chris and Ryan had a secret and it killed a man. That man had a secret too. He just kept laughing, buckled over laughing so he could hardly breathe. I think that was one secret that Ryan couldn't stand, so Ryan's secret killed the man and left his secret stuck. Now I'll be damned if we'll ever make it to the end. Whose secret will come out next? If that was the easiest one to let loose, the one that killed the laughing man, then what will come of the ones still hidden?

I think Ryan wants the secrets. He wanted the laughing man's secret and shot him out of frustration when he realized he would never get it. Now he wants our secrets and has bought us all this head gear; thought transmitters hooked up to the computers on the bus, scanning, searching, probing for our secrets. I won't wear mine, but I keep it just in case. I won't use my gun either, but I keep that just in case too, in case the pressure gets too high and someone comes after my secrets...

I thought of bolting; splitting the scene and not looking back. A few minutes ago I was leaned up with my back to the corner of this rusty old warehouse, watching everyone from across the room with the headset in my pocket and the gun in my lap. Then Rob came over, thundering across the floor, and I thought sure that they had all talked it out over their headsets and decided that it was time to take my secret from me, to extract my secret from me, and that that was what Rob was coming to do now.

He came over, set his giant hand on my head (I was feeling for the trigger) and said "Hey, we need to get this thing painted. You gonna help?" That's when it hit me that we're all safe here, safe with each other because we've got a bigger secret together. We've got a secret that we're all in on and that we've got to keep hidden from the rest of the world. That makes us a team and we can trust each other because we've got no one else to trust. And now we've got to paint over our secret, paint it all in white and keep it hidden, just for us. Just like the man kept his hidden by laughing.

But we got to clear some things up to, between us. So we're gonna stop on top of that big high plateau where everything is exposed and visible and there's nowhere to hide things. We're going to spend the night there and clear things up, cause the secrets can getcha, they can getcha dead.

-the gilded frame-
--Letters from a Savior; Offer for a few--


'Secrets' is also an album by the Human League, released in August 2001. Here is the review I wrote for 'Motion', a website that reviews albums.

Papillon Records

It was inevitable that the Human League would release a record called 'Secrets'. The name fits the knowingly tacky brand of cheap glamour that the band have peddled for the last two decades. Less inevitable was the possibility that 'Secrets' would be any good, especially given that their last two albums - 'Romantic?' and 'Octopus' - contained one good single apiece and lots of filler, and the album before that wasn't even written by them. Surprisingly, then, 'Secrets' is at least as good as their second-best album, 'Hysteria'.

Almost a quarter of a century since 'Being Boiled', Phil Oakey appears to be transforming into a chunkier version of Gary Numan, minus the hair transplants - he has it cut short, instead - whilst the permanent, thick coating of make-up worn by relative newcomers Joanne and Susan mean that they do not appear to have visibly aged since 1981. Odd, then, to discover that Susan Sulley is now Susan Anne Gayle. The music has regained some of the analogue electronics that featured heavily on their first two albums - back when they were Sheffield's answer to DAF, when the group had a projectionist - but there are no obvious concessions to any modern trend or style. The Human League produce their own brand of perfect pop, never letting a passing fad get in the way of a catchy tune or dreadful rhyme. Given that the pop world seems to be going through a cycle of manufactured groups, the deliberately calculated nature of the League's art works equally well as sincere entertainment, and satire. Having said that, there are definite echoes of Dubstar, although given that Dubstar clearly modelled themselves on the League in the first place, that's forgivable.

The old tricks are still there - the girls sing the choruses as if bored, whilst Phil deadpans short phrases over the top in a prototypical rap style which dates all the way back to 'Love Action' from 1981. Like a less rocky, deliberately shallow version of New Order, the League have always skirted a thin line between slickness and shambolism - the cold precision of the production dwarfs the limited vocal and lyrical talents of the people, but the League have charm on their side, and it's easy to forgive their flaws. Their vocals aren't tuneless, they're unconventional, whilst their lyrics - such as the future classic 'You're like the woman out of 'Species', I think I'm going to go to pieces', from 'Love me Madly' - aren't childish, they're child-like.

In between some of the songs are short instrumentals which pass inoffensively without ever developing into anything substantial, but the meat of the album lies in the songs. Lead single 'All I Ever Wanted' starts off in a minor key, before bursting into a shamelessly, brilliantly simple chorus, whilst 'Shameless', 'You'll be Sorry', and 'Reflections' are as good as anything the group have produced since 'Dare'. The verses from 'Nervous' sound uncomfortably similar to those of 'Should I Stay or Should I Go' by the Clash (!), whilst 'The Snake' appears to be a curious cross between the Beatles' 'Magical Mystery Tour' and St Etienne's 'Join our Club'. Not that that's a bad thing, of course.

The only real dog is 'Sin City', a portrait of urban blight, presumably inspired by Frank Miller's famous graphic novels. Rather like 'The Lebanon', it attempts to tackle a big subject sincerely, and fails miserably - the opening lines are "Where did it go wrong? / What happened here? / In a town without pity / Paralysed by our fear", and Public Enemy have nothing to fear (especially given that the chorus is "Sin City aah" repeated eight times).

In summary then, the League are back with an album of pop music as artificial and processed as anything by Steps, but one which it's possible to like without hiding behind irony - it will barely trouble the charts, and they'll never produce a 'Geatest Hits- Volume 2', but the world would be worse off if they were not in it.

Where's John Foxx nowadays?

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