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Secret Affair

Secret Affair formed in East London in 1978 and were one of the stars of the late 70’s Mod Revival movement,  receiving early exposure by supporting The Jam in England.

Their first single, Time For Action, was the perfect youth anthem for the time and certainly one the most memorable and successful of the movement.

Ian Page was both a charismatic frontman and a superb singer – and together with guitarist David Cairns, he was also a talented songwriter.

Fresh from their days in The New Hearts, the pair recruited drummer Seb Shelton (ex-Young Bucks) and bassist Dennis Smith (ex-Advertising), together with occasional saxophonist Dave Winthrop (ex-The Mooch and Supertramp).

At the height of Secret Affair’s mod popularity, Ian Page was often lauded as the spokesman for his generation. In an interview with the NME at the time he said;

“The size of the movement is now in its thousands, and it’s growing all the time. We’ve just sold 33,000 copies of Let Your Heart Dance and it’s number 29 in your chart. We have the ability to change things. That’s what the ‘action’ is in Time For Action. You have the power to do something simply by being yourself.”

“I started off calling this mod thing ‘Glory Boys’ which took away all the idea of it being a revival, but we lost that battle.”

“Flower Power? It won’t come back. I don’t think we’re in for a sequence of revivals, just as I don’t think mod is a revival. But I have no doubt that someone will try to do it. It would be better than punk because it was all anti-violence. But I still hate it because it’s apathetic”

Secret Affair headlined the ‘March Of The Mods’ Tour in the summer of 1979, teaming up with the Purple Hearts and Back To Zero to tour around the UK.


They interrupted the tour to perform Time For Action on Top Of The Pops with Ian Page and bassist Dennis Smith flying down from Doncaster to London by helicopter to make the filming.

The band released its first album, Glory Boys, late in 1979 on their own label, I-Spy, distributed by Arista in the UK and Sire in the USA.

Both the album and their subsequent singles charted but by the time 1980s Behind Closed Doors was released, the mod revival was dissolving and they were too firmly rooted in the movement to change their arrogant stance.

The band began to break up when drummer Seb Shelton left in 1980. He reappeared later in Dexys Midnight Runners, while Dennis Smith joined Nik Kershaw’s band.

Secret Affair were probably the mod revival’s most talented offering, but somehow they lost their way.

They held on until 1982, releasing one more album, Business As Usual, to an uninterested public. The members went their separate ways shortly after its release.

Ian Page put together a new band in the late ’90s, simply called The Affair.


Ian Page
Vocals, trumpet, piano, organ
David Cairns
Dennis Smith
Seb Shelton
Dave Winthrop