Rotterdam Harbour Documentary 1981

This may not be common knowledge, but The Cure once officially contributed music to a documentary about the port of Rotterdam. It could very well be that the band themselves have forgotten about this. The story goes that two Dutchmen working on the film took a boat to England, probably in the winter of 1980/81, and had a meeting at The Cure’s Fiction label offices in London to discuss music for the documentary. For a fair price they bought a tape of new music by The Cure to use.

At that time the band were working on the Faith album. It turned out that the tape for the documentary included songs that later ended up on that album. It is not easy to hear, but my guess is that these are advanced (instrumental) demos. Possibly almost final backing tracks. The songs in question are The Funeral Party (at approx. 5:30), The Drowning Man (at approx. 14:15) and All Cats Are Grey (at approx. 19:00 and 21:20 throughout the end credits). The Drowning Man seems to be in a different key or tempo. But that may have been done by the filmmakers.

As for the documentary itself, it is a kind of promotional film for Rotterdam’s harbour. People in various positions at the port talk about their work. With today’s eyes, it may seem a little strange how this particular music could be relevant to the subject of the documentary. But I think it fits the era well. The documentary was broadcast on Dutch public television. You can watch it (or at least part of it) here.


Primary – Star Club 1981

On March 27th 1981 The Cure’s new 7″ single Primary was released in the Netherlands. It was the first and only single off the upcoming Faith LP. In those days The Cure didn’t do a lot of music chart TV programmes yet. They had only done a mime performance of A Forest for TROS Top 50 in 1980. But that TV show ended later that year.

Star Club was sort of a follow-up programme from the same broadcasting association. It had a slightly broader concept, also presenting current trends, items about films and interviews. Star Club debuted at the beginning of 1981. If I’m right it only lasted one year or maybe even only one season.

Probably sometime during March or (beginning of?) April 1981 The Cure flew in to Holland to do a mime performance of their new single for Star Club. A great recording of that pretty rare performance recently resurfaced on YouTube. It is dated 27 April 1981 but I guess that must be the broadcasting date. You can watch it here. And here you can read more about The Cure’s quick visit in a nice interview Muziek Expres did with the band on the very day of the show.

Circus Tour 1981

Tent2Probably the most exceptional tour The Cure did in the Netherlands, if not ever, is the Circus Tour 1981. Exclusively for the Dutch leg of the Picture Tour promoting the Faith album, The Cure chose a radical alternative to clubs or other concert venues. The band travelled zig-zag through the Netherlands performing their show under a circus tent with a capacity of about 2.000 people. During ten days the tent was being broken down after each gig, driven by trucks to the next town at night and then built up again to be in time for the show the following evening. There has been quite some (local) media attention for this short tour. I thought it would be nice to gather this information to create a sort of tour diary. Below is an attempt to do this. Of course I’m happy to add things if you have more stories, memories, pictures, clippings, anything to share…
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Muziek Expres July 1981

ME1981rpIn July 1981 the Dutch pop magazine Muziek Expres published an interview with The Cure, which was probably taken sometime in April or May 1981. The Cure were on a flying visit to Holland to record a mime TV performance for the new single Primary. I guess this has to be the Star Club performance, which was on YouTube for some years. The interview focuses on the upcoming tour, which was going to be the famous circus tent tour (exclusively for the Netherlands) during the last ten days of June 1981.

Below is the literal English translation of the original Dutch text written by Erik Timmerman.


The experiment of The Cure
If it is up to The Cure, the group will become the Toni Boltini of the pop music. The upcoming European tour is going to take place in a circus tent. The highly honoured audience reads the ins and outs on page…60

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