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  • Writer's pictureJO'B

The Songs That Saved My Life #10: Into Tomorrow by The Paul Weller Movement

Updated: Feb 26

In 1989, I got dumped – I was 19 and this was my first proper heartbreak. It's referenced elsewhere on here, so I won't go into details. I was 19 and in reaction to this, I decided to jack in working at NatWest and go to University (a good thing). But I needed another year to save up enough money, so I kept working. I hung out with a more “rock” crowd, seeking to meet new people and primarily because I fancied a couple of the girls (quelle surprise?).


I followed the crowd and became less interested in the indie music I loved. Instead, I threw myself into a love affair with the progressive rock band Marillion (unlikely, but ultimately positive - see Love At First Sight - My First Marillion Gig). Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd followed. Even Phil Collins. I know. I am ashamed. I am standing in the corner, thinking about what happened as I write this.

If you can imagine it, it got worse. I got into some really dodgy rock. Dear lord, I bought a Bruce Dickinson solo album...I mean, why??? And even a Barclay James Harvest cassette – not their early stuff even, but a crap late 80s album. Runrig. I bought a Runrig album. I can barely write that down…


As a teenager, I had gone through a weird fashion transition where I was still wearing a Fila puffer coat, but with Goth leather biker boots. That was due to having no money. But this was way worse. By the time I got to university in 1990, I had a weird mix of indie, pop, prog and terrible rock records, and an even stranger mixed wardrobe of flouncy shirts, leather jacket, suede pixie boots, or Smiths t-shirts and tweed sports jackets...all topped off with bouffant hair. And Karate slippers. Not good times.

It was around about now that Paul Weller was also going through his own little crisis. He had previously left The Jam after six albums and 18 singles. He needed to change, to develop, to grow - the palette of music available to him in The Jam was too limiting. So, he formed The Style Council. I am never sure it's true he couldn't have spread his wings in The Jam, but it was his call and The Style Council clearly did give him space to grow, to experiment. 


Some of that experimentation was fantastic - My Ever-Changing MoodsLong Hot Summer and The Lodgers are just amazing singles. The albums, initially at least, were interesting, diverse, though not always quite as perfect as the singles. Let's be honest, Confessions Of A Pop Group was hard work as albums go.

By 1989, Weller was now an evangelist for deep house. I was working with a guy who was a bit of a mod (and to be honest a bully) called Mark and he went to see them at the Royal Albert Hall. He was stunned by how bad the gig was - all pseudo house music and not the mod genius he was expecting. Polydor rejected their last album (Modernism: A New Decade which eventually saw the light of day in 1998) and that was the end of The Style Council.


Weller had no band and no record label. He went off and licked his wounds, got back to what he knew best and started playing some solo shows, initially as The Paul Weller Movement, playing covers of Small Faces songs and Marvin Gaye - the music of his youth. He played Jam songs for the first time in years, alongside Style Council tracks and new material. He dusted himself down, went back to his roots and released a single in 1991, Into Tomorrow. The latter was amazing, a genuine, thrilling slice of mod, 60s R&B - the best thing he had released in years. It's b-side, Here's A New Thing was more jazzy soul. Deep House was nowhere to be heard. Phew.

I loved it. The 7-inch single was acquired and played to death - Nick and Stevey, my Uni mates even saw him that year at the Easter break in Birmingham (gutted, I would have come up for that I am sure!). I was a little obsessed by it to be honest, but I would have to wait a year for his first solo album. It was worth the wait.


Into Tomorrow arrived at a time when I knew I needed to make some changes myself and whenever I hear it, I think about that time. I lost the terrible bleached blonde bob I had been cultivating for over a year (my dad was about as happy as I ever saw him the day he saw my hair looked ‘normal’ again). I also sold the more awful records I had allowed myself to drift into listening to, with the realisation they were dreadful. Indie rock became my primary love again (though Marillion and Pink Floyd survived the cull for another couple of years, before being ditched in 1994). And I went out and bought some Beatles albums. Revolver became my favourite album. Things were on the up, taste-wise.

Slowly, my wardrobe got better (I picked up some cool, teal-coloured jeans that I lived in and loved). Stripy, mod-ish t-shirts were my going out outfit, along with a collection of indie band t-shirts. Fred Perrys entered my world in 1994 as indie morphed into Britpop. I acquired some nice smart checked shirts, and Ben Shermans. The biker jacket got ditched eventually (actually, my mother gave it away – essentially, an intervention).


Change was needed and change came. I later realised that I had thrown the baby out with the bathwater and Marillion came back into my life in 2000. But this was a period where I ditched the more rock nonsense stuff and lost the more ridiculous elements of my outfits. 


These days, while my music taste is eclectic, it’s not strayed back into anything that is quite clearly crap. I still have a massive soft spot for Marillion, but that love has faded a little over the last few years, their last records being a bit dull to me, at least. My wardrobe is consistent, everything suits everything else I wear (it’s almost exclusively Fred Perry plus Dr Martens, Adidas and Spoke jeans).


And Weller got better too. I mean, he’s always been stylish and would never have considered wearing a purple silk scarf wrapped around his wrist, or argued that Invisible Touch was a good record. But he rediscovered himself. That first solo album had its moments and led to the magnificent Wild Wood and Stanley Road. Whilst there have been a couple of stumbles (Heliocentric is dull, dull, dull…), he continues to make interesting, diverse and ever-changing albums, that still sound like him. He’s 66 this year and his new album (his 28th album - 17 solo, 5 Style Council and 6 Jam albums), out in May is titled 66 – he’s embracing his age, not hiding it.


I am not a Weller-obsessive, but if you need someone to look up to, for a bit of inspiration, he’s a pretty cool, stylish and tasteful geezer, who’s never complacent and is ageing gracefully. Not a bad role-model and I will continue to take occasional inspiration from him (wish I could work out how to pull off a silk scarf like he can). And 33 years on, Into Tomorrow is a corker,


Stay safe, and if you enjoyed this, please subscribe (see link below), x

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