League of their own

Eighties electro-pop band The Human League are due to appear in Suffolk. JAMES MARSTON chats to Joanne Catherall.

James Marston

Eighties electro-pop band The Human League are due to appear in Suffolk next week. JAMES MARSTON chats to Joanne Catherall.

IT was back in 1980 that Joanne Catherall and friend Susan Sulley were discovered in a Sheffield nightclub.

Today The Human League is still going strong with a busy summer planned and writing projects under way.

Joanne, now 46, and who still lives in Sheffield, said: “The story is true, I was still at school. We hadn't planned to be entertainers at all. Susan and I had university places lined up and I would have left Sheffield and moved away if we hadn't joined the band.

“I wasn't really interested in entertaining. I loved music but I had absolutely no desire to go in that direction.”

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That meeting with lead vocalist Philip Oakey was nearly 30 years ago.

The distinctive band released a string of hits like Mirror Man, Louise, The Lebanon, Human, Love Action (I Believe In Love), and (Keep Feeling) Fascination - many of which will be performed at High Lodge in Thetford Forest on Thursday, July 9.

Mother-of-one Joanne added: “We'll be doing a set of about an hour or an hour and a quarter of Human League hits. Playing live is much more intense.

“You get an instant reaction and you don't have to do a recording and then see if people like what you have done.

“We always try to do a show in a way so people think they have been to a good party.”

Their million-selling classic single Don't You Want Me brought transatlantic No 1 success and the album from which it was taken, Dare, became an essential part of the record collection for a whole generation of pop fans.

Joanne said she thought the band's enduring popularity was due to its feelgood and popular approach.

She said: “I think we look quite approachable and the music we play is very accessible, it's pop and it's fun.”

The band is currently on the festival circuit and due to play at the high profile V Festival later this summer.

Joanne added: “We are writing some new music and in negotiations for a record deal.”

Peter Rawlinson of the Forestry Commission said, “I am delighted we have secured The Human League as part of this year's live music programme.

“They are the defining act of their genre and with their stack of hits this should provide a real 'friends reunited' night out.”

Tickets are �29.50 and are available from the Forestry Commission box office on 01842 814612 or buy online at www.forestry.gov.uk/music

Are you a fan of The Human League? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Do you have an unfulfilled ambition?

“I'd like to go to Hong Kong. Of all the places we have travelled to we have never been there.”

What have you been up to today?

“I've been to the gym this morning and I've been doing lots of media interviews for the last two hours.”

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

“There have been a lot of highlights. Two or three years ago we headlined at the Hollywood Bowl which was fantastic when you think how long we've been around.”

Do you have a diva demand in the dressing room?

“A dry white wine, or cava or champagne if anyone is feeling flush.”