Who better ask for some seasonal words of wisdom than Heaven 17 ? After all, Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware were in the original Human League many moons ago. Then they set up their own business corporation B.E.F. And that was before they had the good sense to invest in Glenn Gregory as their singer. For good measure we asked them to bring along their most precious posessions ...

No 1 22Dec1984  - Interview : Ursula Kenny, Pictures : Mike Prior


I brought along the plastic globe as a gift because I liked the idea of giving away the world. The robot is there because kids like them and they're a kind of vision of the future."


"You very soon realise that fame is more of a pain in the arse than a benefit. Obviously it affects the likes of Duran Duran and Wham far more - we can still walk around town without being harassed too much."

"Mind you, we value our independence. We've never sold our souls for rock'n'roll as they say, which is nice."


"We have a joke phrase we bandy about, which is 'remember what it's like to be poor. It's part joke and part truth."

"I had to leave my last flat in Sheffield without paying the rent because I couldn't afford £150. I lost a mammoth American Comic collection in the process, because we had to do a moonlight."

"That wasn't so long ago, and I always remember that there is a chance that things will and up like that again."


"It's a hard thing to come to terms with. We were so naive when we started The League. We didn't understand why our music was good, bad or indifferent. Now I think I understand why people like, or dislike, our music."

"Our latest album requires a certain amount of effort from the listener, which may sound funny coming from a pop group. But the more they put in the more they'll get out."


"I've sussed it actually. It took me along time -about seven years."

"It's very sordid. It's awful. There are a lot of people involved who know very little about it. It makes you sort of gratified when you can get one up on them."

"Also, I thought that when you joined a group you became instantly irresistible to the opposite sex! It's a total fiction of course, and eventually you realise that that sort of thing isn't worth very much anyway."


"I do all my banking and accounts on a computer now so I don't have to mess around with forms or anything. Soon I'll be part I something called The Knowledge Index which links you with 25,000 publications across the world."


"I brought my boots along bemuse I'm hoping that someone will buy me a pair of 18 hole, patent leather, Doc Marten's for Christmas!"

"I also brought my dog Rita because looking after another life gives you a sense of responsibility,"


"I've become more aware of the truth over the years. As opposed to the lies that are bandied about by politicians and the press."

"I just do as much as possible to make my life the kind of life I like to live. I won't bow down to the way people in power want me to live and I believe I'm above the law."


"I was honestly just happy without it. Althought I'm not ridiculously rich now, I used to be so poor that I used to make bread out of flour and water."

"I wasn't unhappy though."


"I'm just beginning to understand the autograph mentality, For a long time I didn't understand - but it's harmless. It's just a way of people introducing themselves."


"I've come to realise that nothing lasts forever. No matter how hard things seem at the time, they are going to get better."

"Take my knee as an example - I got quite depressed about it at one point, but just recently I've been able to walk up and down stairs again."

"I was frightened that I wouldn't be able to. I was limping around for ages. When we visited the British Mused m, it took me half an hour to get down the stairs, I thought 'God I'm never going to be able to walk again'. But it got better."


"I'm lucky in that I've found a true love. (Glenn's married to Sarah.) That's made me grow up."

"I suppose it boils down to respect and care for your partner, other than just using love as an experience for sex."


"I brought along a set of model black musicians. They came from a shop in Cologne and I bought them on one of the many Human League European tours. They're a very precious item."


"People criticise you and say 'Oh aren't you going to change now that you've got some money?' But I don't think money changes you at all. You're still the same person. You still hold the same views. It wouldn't bother me to give it all away, as long as everyone else did, like those with real money."


"Never sign a publishing deal, for one ! Set up your own company."

"When we split from The League we managed ourselves for 18 months and learnt a lot."

"Nowadays we take an interest because we know more about the business. Therefore it's no trouble to check up on what's going on."


"I'm a vegetarian these days. And I've stopped drinking, mainly because I don't enjoy it Jane (his girlfriend) and myself used to run but that went by the wayside in all the disruption when we moved house."

"I took the Kenneth Cooper aerobics book on the road with me, back in the League days. That book is where it all first started, the actual running that is, not all this trendy dancing crap. It actually started as a US Air Force programme. I read it on the road but I didn't actually do anything about it for years!"


"It always hurts, and I don't think that it's something you necessarily get used to. But you come to realise that they (the 'serious' music press) decide, whatever products being put in front of them, that your time has came to be slagged off. You just put up with it really."


"I used to be very sarcastic and hurtful to a lot of people, Then I just changed. I didn't think 'Oh what a bastard I am' or anything, I just used to be very upfront and offensive and I tore strips off people just for the fun of it."

"I don't do that anymore."


"I was interested in computers before music. I was always into science. That's what I was going to do before I got side-tracked."

Some more snippets from this magazine



Martyn Ware, Heaven 17 :

"A guy goes into a cocktail bar and asks for a matabubu.
Bar man: 'What's a matabubu?'
Guy: 'Nothing Yogi!'