Tainted Love Queen!

Is Marc Almond the rampant, wet dream Demon Queen of heterosexual nightmares?

 


A shockingly sexual love bomber, manically devoted to demolishing the cosy, dozy Twin Towers of mediocrity and homemaking? Why, just by hinting at astounding ecstasies, he’s torturing millions of married heterosexuals worldwide, all trapped in their endless, wet-nappy hells, perpetually exiled from orgasms!

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No wonder seething, mass closet-case envy once fueled a vicious, gutter-press lie that Marc was deathly ill from swallowing gallons of spunk. Even if it were humanly possible – which I’d love to attempt! – doesn’t that slur just blatantly expose the secret cravings of a deeply repressed, Little Britain? Truly, it’s far more likely to suggest a constant stream of dubiously-pleasured MPs being emergency stomach-pumped at A&E!

Still, let’s get back to Marc’s earliest, publicly provocative appearance – his 1981, Top of the Pops TV appearance singing ‘Tainted Love’. Sure, Bowie had blatantly mind-fucked the British public big-time years previously, but then furiously back-pedalled on an admission that he’d ‘always been gay’. Marc, however, didn’t need to say a word – his appearance screamed it!

Tiny, wistful, bashfully peeking through smoky, Dusty Springfield–thick eyeliner, Marc was a riveting picture of elfin, existentialist elegance, an alarmingly androgynous torch-singer. And in late 1981, in dreary, mass unemployed England, even the concept of a man singing ‘Tainted Love’ gob-smacked homophobes nationwide! Dear God in pussy-whipped heaven, what had they been missing all their lives?

They soon found out. Non-stop Erotic Cabaret – Marc’s debut, Soft Cell album – unleashed a storm of pin-sharp pop perversions, including the glorious ‘Sex Dwarf’, ‘Seedy Films’ and ‘Secret Life’. And back then – despite the imminent, gender-bender excesses of Boy George and Pete Burns lurking in the wings – Marc had no appreciable, artistic competition.

Remember, way before his future, heroin hell and ultimate musical Renaissance, Boy George stressed how much he preferred tea to sex on endless, granny-friendly chat-shows. Well, he was deliberately building a family-friendly audience by avoiding any hint of controversy, while Pete Burn’s hugely upfront, gay ballsiness horrified straight, timid pop-fans!

Marc, however – much more wisely– never alienated or underestimated his die-hard admirers. Immediately aware of a vast, untapped and deeply appreciative audience for lushly conflicted sexual artistry, he brilliantly raised his lyrical and expressive gifts. As single-minded as the Marquis de Sade tirelessly tonguing a whore’s arsehole, Marc, always, has valued risky pop edginess over predictable pap.

For decades, he’s conducted a non-stop, erotic exploration that’s probed the furthest, possible reaches of passionate torch-songs and eloquent depravity found in Europe’s chanson tradition. Screw any dumb, backdated notion of Marc as a twee, pop-singing pixie – these days, he’s globally respected as an interpretive singer, arguably way beyond Gaga!

You want proof? Me, I’m demanding a rush, DVD release of Marc’s latest triumph, his spectacular July 10th concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall, showcasing 35 years of uncompromising excellence. Backed by a full orchestra and choir from his former hometown Leeds, Marc made slow, furiously tantalising love to his vast, torch-song repertoire. But finally, his unhinged, no-holds-barred ‘Tainted Love’ detonated a spontaneous, capacity-crowd orgasm, with punters uncontrollably swamping the stage!

You want more? Don’t despair – Marc’s mammoth, 10CD retrospective – The Trials of Eyeliner – comes out in October. So, why rely on your incomplete, inevitably drug-fucked impressions of seeing Marc live?  Soon, you can repeatedly pleasure yourselves with Marc’s most brilliant, fabulously obscure rarities in the privacy of your own rooms. Gee, whoever said mental masturbation was dull? Not me!

 

• Got any surgically-urgent theatre news, views or comments? Email [email protected]

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