Formed in 1992 by arch cynic Luke Haines and girlfriend Alice Readman alongside drummer Glenn Collins and cellist James Banbury, The Auteurs (named for the French movie term denoting both author and director) signed to Virgin offshoot Hut, debuting with the deceptively bright single Showgirl that December.
The single brought a wry arch-Britishness to its story of marrying a stripper that was very rare at the time but would be everywhere a year later.
It scaled the UK independent charts and expectations were high for the debut album.
Haines’ incredibly sharp, intelligent lyrics were heavily influenced by his love of theatre and cinema, briefly making him the king of the studious slacker generation.
The Auteurs fell from grace with Now I’m A Cowboy (1994), their undercooked follow-up, then brought in the unfashionably American Steve Albini to produce After Murder Park (1996).
Haines absent-mindedly whipped up How I Learned To Love The Bootboys (1999) – a hateful riposte to 1970s nostalgia focussing not on Chopper bikes and Spangles, but on tribal warfare, sex pests and vicious conformity (“Join the army or the National Front when you’re 16”, he wheezes on School).
His subsequent erratic career has taken in brief flirtation with retro German terrorist chic care of his Baader-Meinhof project, movie soundtrack work, and even mainstream success with the dark seedy Europop of his Black Box Recorder side project.