After that, Haines eked out a solo career that has kept the hardcore more than happy as the years tick by. When we heard that Mr Haines was going to make a record called Nine and a Half Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s and early '80s we just had to get on the phone to ask him about it.
So, what's this new album all about?
"Well, it's pretty self-explanatory, really! These songs kept on coming out about wrestlers that I'd seen and loved when I was a kid. I thought I could make a screenplay or a book, but Simon Garfield's written a really great wrestling book and there's probably nothing I could add. It became fairly obvious to do what I actually do, which is to make records. And make a psychedelic wrestling album, that was my calling."
It follows Outsider Music, which was even more conceptual - why are you moving in that direction?
"I can do what I like! That's why. It doesn't matter. I'm at the kind of age where it really doesn't matter a crap whether I record a f**king psychedelic wig-out about horse racing, wrestling or whatever. I feel that I'm very much kind of safe within that world. There's nothing anyone can do to stop me. I will continue to spread my message of psychedelic wrestling."
21st Century Man seemed like your most personal, immediate record for years - were you tempted to take it to a major label?
"No, I wasn't interested in doing that. There's no point in going down that route. I'm not questing for a commercial breakthrough! I don't care. It's of no interest to me. Going on tour's kind of okay but I don't really imagine I'm going to go on tour again. It makes the gigs that I do play better if I don't go on tour."
Watch Luke Haines play '21st Century Man' at Rough Trade East in November 2009 below:
The new album is coming out digitally first - are physical formats on the way out?
"Nah. My stipulation and the record label's stipulation as well was that there had to be a physical release. If it was just digital I don't think I'd do it, because I never wanted to record music to be released just as mp3s. It seems too ephemeral to me. Even if it's only a 30-minute album, I'd like it to be two 12" vinyl EPs, but those days are gone!"
You've said that there's no chance of a Black Box Recorder or Auteurs reunion - has the amazing reception Pulp got last summer changed your mind at all?
"Nah, not at all. I saw Pulp and I thought they were great, but no. Not for me at all. That's why I'm making psychedelic concept albums while they're reforming."
So doing a Billy Corgan/Courtney Love and just using your old bandname is also out of the question?
"I don't think it'll happen, no. I really don't. The Black Box Recorder thing was sort of an experiment to see if we could get back together, and we couldn't! We stopped it before we all fell out. I think that Black Box Recorder left a pretty good back catalogue of three albums and even the last couple of songs we did were really good, so I'm pretty happy about it."
Are you still on good terms?
"Yeah, it's all absolutely fine. I really felt that I didn't want to be in a group when I'm in my 40s because it seemed too strange. My 20-year-old self would have laughed at my 40-year-old self for hiding behind a group name. I just don't think it's dignified in your 40s to be in a rock band.
"It's obviously okay to write psychedelic wrestling albums, that's much more dignified! Sarah [Nixey] and John [Moore] really wanted to do their solo stuff, rather than be a group, so it was better that we called it quits."
Watch Black Box Recorder perform 'The Facts of Life' on Top of the Pops below:
Do you listen to the stuff your ex-Britpop contemporaries are doing now - like Liam or Noel Gallagher?
"Nah. No, I've never heard an Oasis album all the way through. I don't think I've ever heard a Blur album. Maybe the Modern Life one, I remember that was pretty good at the time. But nothing else. It was so off my radar. I was in a weird way meant to be opposed to it but really it had nothing to do with me."
Were you being tongue-in-cheek when you said you liked The X Factor?
"Not really, no. I don't mind that kind of high art and low entertainment. I'm fine with it. I keep on saying it, and I'm not the first person to say it, but it's the stuff in the middle that's the irritation. Anything that's been lauded by The Guardian is probably what would irritate me most."
Some younger musicians hate the show and say it cheapens music - do you think Simon Cowell has a bad effect on pop?
"No more than anyone else, really. You can see him as the Satanic entrepreneur of light entertainment, but there are plenty of others. The music press has long gone along with the myth that somehow the independent labels are noble and are fighting a good fight.
"I think most people who have had any long-term relationships with independent labels would have a good laugh at that. It is the music business - it's full of arseholes, that's all you need to know!"
Lady GaGa seems to be the only modern pop superstar who can cross all boundaries - what do you think of her whole shtick?
"Better off asking Q magazine. They seem to have an enforced smile about Lady GaGa that I don't believe for one minute."
Do you think they're putting it on?
"It's not that anyone's putting it on - it's what it takes to sell a magazine. It's someone who sells records and it's better to pretend you like them! It's all smoke and mirrors. I don't know, it's all somewhat disingenuous."
Watch The Auteurs perform 'The Rubettes' below:
The Channel 4 News culture editor said the Mercury Prize judges were trying to be cool by picking PJ Harvey - what do you think?
"I don't know. I know absolutely f**k all about the Mercury Prize these days. I'm a 43-year-old man in a psychedelic haze about old wrestlers. What the f**k do I care about the Mercury Prize?"
You've got this reputation for being misanthrope, but you seem perfectly amiable! How much of it is you playing a character and how much is it just what people write?
"Obviously a book like Bad Vibes I revved up the misanthrope angle a bit but I do wonder if people actually know what misanthrope means. Misanthrope means to hate everything. Even in Bad Vibes it's clear that I don't hate everything.
"It's just becomes a slightly lazy cliché. I don't go down the road and buy a pint of milk misanthropically in the morning! I might in my time have said some not-so positive words about a few indie bands, but that doesn't actually make me a misanthrope."
Nine and a Half Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s and early '80s is released digitally via Plastic Fantastic on October 10. A physical release follows in November