Fairnie’s musical career began with the acoustic gospel duo Fish Co , formed with fellow singer-songwriter Steve Rowles. Together they released the albums Can’t Be Bad in 1975 and Beneath the Laughter in 1978, the latter with a full backing band – now including Fairnie’s wife Bev Sage – that would form the nucleus of their subsequent project Writz.
Writz became a fixture on the post-punk London scene, headlining at major venues including the Marquee Club. Outright commercial success was elusive but 1979 single Night Nurse (produced by 10cc’s Kevin Godley and Lol Creme) was a minor hit and was followed by the album Writz. The band – now Famous Names – played in the Dennis Potter LWT production Cream In My Coffee, before folding in 1981. Many of the band and crew moved on to other musical projects, most notably lighting designer Willie Williams, who went on to become an integral part of the U2 entourage, sound engineer Ken Watts, who is George Michael’s tour director, and monitor engineer John Roden, whose clients now include Paul McCartney.
Fairnie and Sage continued as the Techno Twins , covering Falling In Love Again, which charted in 1982, and releasing Swing Together, a Glenn Miller-meets-Marilyn Monroe pastiche. The album Technostalgia followed, and in 1985, as The Technos, Foreign Land – produced, amongst others, by Anne Dudley of Art of Noise – was issued to critical acclaim but minimal sales. In August 1985, the Technos performed their last-ever live show at the Greenbelt festival, an annual Christian event with which they had been heavily involved from its inception more than a decade earlier. After a three-year hiatus, the Technos’ final album Songs for a Nervous World was released. Parallel to their Technos output, Fairnie and Sage formed the avant-garde performance art collective Casualtease . As well as an album, credited to the Techno Orchestra, there were sporadic outbursts of Casualtease productions throughout the 1980s.