It became obvious from the very start that these songs would be in a different league, non-compromising, and would tackle any and every issue, from Thatcherism, the Middle East, drugs, and the state of the world in general.
I have an overriding picture in my mind of Dave, sat at the desk, puffing on his pipe, entirely engrossed in the process.
We knew this wasn't a commercial album we were making, but we knew it was where we wanted to go.
For me, the highlight of the sessions was hearing Mal put down the guitar part of Sane Man, and following that with the fretless bass is something I'll never forget. Mal was never fully recognised as the great musician he was.
There were lighter moments too of course, and quite a few bottles of scotch flying around at times. Andy brought Gavin Sutherland to stay up at the studio with us for a week or so, that helped to keep morale high, even though he only brought one jumper to wear. (See the photo below.)
I was concerned about this, after being disappointed with the final mix of The Unexpected Guest, but when I heard the result I was gobsmacked. Everything I'd expected to be taken out was in there, and more. Mike and Julian had obviously put everything into it. I couldn't believe it. It had been cut by Denis (Bilbo) Blackham, and I was thrilled to see "Thanks Wallaby" (Julian), and "Bilbo, Tape One" (Denis), etched into the vinyl. The Plague charted, without the success of Guest, but I didn't really care.
I left the band halfway through recording the next album, British Standard Approved, in 1984, and Mal died a couple of days after it was finished. Here are some photos from that period, from Gav washing his pullover at the studios (I took that one), to some live shots, courtesy of Mike Stone.