Anne Clark was born in Croydon, South London on May 14th 1960 to an Irish mother and Scottish father. Leaving school at sixteen she went off looking for a more exciting and active education. Already having an occasional job at Croydon's independent record store and label Bonaparte's it was obvious music was going to become a major part of her life.
Apart from music and a voracious appetite for books Anne had to make a living, and the desire and need for communication and some kind of understanding of not only the world around but the world inside and beyond led her to take a job as a care assistant at a psychiatric hospital just outside London (the same hospital David Bowie's brother was a patient at for many years). Today Anne still regards this as one of the most challenging and rewarding periods of her life and at some time in the future would like to get involved in similar kind of work again...
"except there are no longer any hospitals left for those people who are the most vulnerable and desperate in our society. They've just been put out on the streets and left to fend for themselves."
Around this time - 1976/77 - Punk Rock was exploding throughout London and the rest of the country. Suddenly everyone was playing in bands or writing or dancing or painting - basically just expressing themselves. In a society that was pinned together by an archaic and soul-numbing class system, bands, ballet, books - everything - was being ripped to shreds and put back together with safety pins! It didn't matter if you hadn't been trained or educated in these things, expression was what counted. All this is history now but Punk's influence trickles on and through still.
Next door to Bonaparte's was The Warehouse Theatre. Constantly under threat of closure due to lack of finances, for a year and a half Anne went to them with the idea of putting on acts that were emerging from the New Wave of music, comedy, dance and theatre. At first terrified and abhorred at the prospect of having leather-clad, spitting Punks in their theatre, they eventually conceded and gave Anne the theatre one night a week. There was no spitting, but the theatre pulled in crowds eager to see acts such as Paul Weller, Linton Kwesi-Johnson, French and Saunders, The Durutti Column, Carter USM, Ben Watt (Everything But The Girl), Billy Childish etc, etc.
All this time Anne was writing and experimenting with music and had made her debut live performance at Richard Strange's Cabaret Futura in London along with Depeche Mode. She was also co-editing Paul Weller's Riot Stories publishing company - set up to publish young unknown writers' work. The outcome of this was that establishment publisher Faber in London issued an anthology of young writers' work called Hard Lines, which went on to be reprinted three times.
A number of television programmes for the BBC also came about and she also wrote a script/film for Channel 4 television featuring her own material as well as contributions from Patrik Fitzgerald and The Durutti Column.
By this time Anne had already met her first songwriting partners Croydon band A Cruel Memory. Her first album The Sitting Room was released in September 1982. Dominic Appleton from A Cruel Memory later went on to become a member of This Mortal Coil and Breathless. During her time at the Warehouse Theatre Anne also met David Harrow, her co-writer on Changing Places (1983), Joined Up Writing (1985) and Hopeless Cases (1987). Anne and David's fascination with keyboards, synths and sampling led them to create sounds and write songs that were to provide a blueprint for the electronic and techno movements of the 80's and 90's. Titles such as Sleeper in Metropolis and Our Darkness becoming classics.
Never wishing to put limits on her means of expression however, Anne also collaborated with musicians from all kinds of backgrounds. Vini Reilly (Durutti Column) co-wrote half of the Changing Places album with Anne. ~ Phillip Ewing, 80s Retro Music