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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Sep-18 > NON-STOP EROTIC CABARET

NON-STOP EROTIC CABARET

THRUST INTO THE SPOTLIGHT WITH THEIR UNIQUE TAKE ON A SOUL CLASSIC, SOFT CELL’S DEBUT ALBUM NON-STOP EROTIC CABARET DELVED DEEP INTO DIVE BARS, SEEDY S&M CLUBS AND PORNO CINEMAS, EXPOSING SOHO’S NOCTURNAL ACTIVITIES IN EYE-WATERING DETAIL…

SOFT CELL

NON-STOP EROTIC CABARET CLASSIC ALBUM

As Britain throbbed to the sounds of synth-pop at the dawning of the Eighties, defined by the flamboyance of the New Romantics, the emergence of a pair of no-frills Northerners who had more in common with Sparks than Steve Strange injected the genre with a gritty realism. Romanticising Soho’s murky underbelly, Soft Cell shared its neon-tinged spotlight with the hookers, hustlers and degenerates whose work usually nestled under sex-shop counters, discreetly distributed in brown paper bags.

“We were basically two young lads living in Leeds who suddenly found ourselves in Soho,” Dave Ball told Penny Black Music. “It was more like a curiosity thing – we weren’t actually participating in anything. We would go to places like the Naked City Cinema just to get the vibe of it. We were like sex tourists, but without doing the sex! We were kind of like: ‘Wow! This is really exciting. What’s going on here?’ We just loved the imagery and the sleaziness. It was more an artistic thing than a sexual thing.”

Dave and Marc Almond had met in 1977 while both students at Leeds Polytechnic: Dave was enrolling, Marc was a second-year Fine Art student. He was also a well-known face on Leeds’ performance-art scene, thanks to onstage antics that included stripping naked in front of a full-length mirror and smearing himself with cat food. After overhearing Dave’s work while he was putting a show together, Marc asked if he could use some of the music in the show.

“He used to go past and hear these weird electronic noises that I was messing around with, and one day he came in and asked me if he could use my music when he was doing some of his performance work,” Dave recalls. “That was our next meeting, and how we originally got together. My idea of pop music was very bleepy, minimal songs about Tupperware parties and very mundane things. I was into that whole reality thing of the time, and Marc heard some and said: ‘Can I sing some of them?’ and I said: ‘Yeah. Why not? You’ve got a better voice than me.’ That’s how Soft Cell came about.”

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About Classic Pop

Issue 44 of Classic Pop magazine is on sale now! In the latest issue we speak to Soft Cell's Marc Almond and Dave Ball as they prepare for their farewell gig at the O2 in London and release a career-spanning boxset, Keychains & Snowstorms. We also take a look at their Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret LP in our Classic Album feature. Elsewhere, we have an exclusive interview with the world's biggest record producer, Mark Ronson, catch up with The Proclaimers who return with their politicised new album Angry Cyclist and talk to Level 42's Mark King about his life in pop's funkiest band. This month, we look back on the glory days of house music and Toyah tells us how she brought the punk aesthetic to the pop world. For boombox fans, we take an in-depth look at why cassettes are making a return and we also serve up a buyer's guide to the wonderful Luther Vandross. Our packed reviews section features new albums from Prince, Paul Weller, Lenny Kravitz, Paul Simon and many more while the reissues section includes Pet Shop Boys, the latest David Bowie boxset and Curiosity Killed The Cat. On the gig front, we head to Hyde Park for The Cure's only European show of the year, delve into the latest Let's Rock festival in Shrewsbury and check out gigs by Nick Heyward, Del Amitri and others. Enjoy the issue!