Some twenty five years ago, I was having an ongoing dispute with this good friend of mine. He had/has great musical taste and knowledge (far exceeding mine in scope and diversity) and he was very much into new sounds, the whole Electro and Dance scene, while I was immersing myself in the resurgence of rock and pop (the alt. country scene, Elliott Smith, Eels, Grandaddy, Ron Sexsmith etc.). My perspective was that "rock music" had ceased to be the central art form it once was and that it was going to last, yes, but as a "niche" for traditionalists like me and that, consequently, its "History" was essentially over, it was not to "progress" anymore. You had to enjoy the genius of the Jayhawks or Elliott Smith without thinking too much about them reinventing the wheel or not. He was ADAMANT that in the contrary, this whole House/Dance thing (and what was called the "french touch") proved progress was still everywhere and that music was as vividly a part of everybody's life as ever. I think we were both right then. Of course, I'm still right now and he had to come around to it a few years down the line… This friendly controversy had roots in our teenage years : he'd been a fan of Indie and new wave when it happened in the eighties, while I was listening to the Beatles, Elton John, Pink Floyd and Supertramp. His two favorite bands were probably New Order and the Smith, the former I can appreciate, the latter I have an allergy of sorts to (something about the drums, the way they're played and recorded – oh, and something about Morrissey too). Long story short (I know it's long, sorry), we had a real aesthetic discord : he loved anything with a synthesizer while I leaned towards (acoustic) guitars, piano and mellotrons. Still, we had many passions in common, and the biggest one was the Kinks, which is easy to understand : all roads lead to Ray, Morrissey road as much as Tweedy road. He was the one introducing me to the 80 Days demos. He said "it's the best thing Ray did after the seventies". I was beyond excited so started to listen (the old cassette version). As soon as I heard the cheap synth everywhere, my world fell down. I thought "ah, so typical!" and was turned off. I probably didn't even listen to it all the way through. A direct result of the notion of "horizon of expectations": I didn't expect "the best Ray Davies" to sound that way at all. And at the same time, it was exactly the (bad) sound I expected from that eighties loving friend… This was not 80 Days, it was "80's days"… So I sat on this music for years. I would try to listen on and off, once every few years or so. Always thinking "the best thing Ray did after the seventies ? Yeah, right…". Had I found this bootleg by myself, I would've gone beyond the demo sound and adored it, but it was obliterated by our dogmatic conversations (one more proof that anything dogmatic is a dead end… boulevard ), so I couldn't hear it for what it really was: indeed, some of the best material Ray'd written after the seventies !! A never ending well of beautiful melodies and whimsical musings, the direct follow up to VGPS and Arthur (and ultimately, the missing link between the latter and Americana). I only started to really appreciate it fully last fall. After I wrote a PM to @mark winstanley so that the thread wouldn't overlook these demos, I thought "I might as well listen seriously now" and sure enough, I was blown away… It tells you a lot about the ways of narcissism : now that it was my turn to introduce it to a friend (and a headmaster one at that!), suddenly I loved it! Anyway, it's a key part of the Ray Davies journey, its very existence casts UK Jive and the band's eighties dynamics under a very revealing light. I suspect this thread will see the first in depth study of this work ever, anywhere. All on board!