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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > February 2017 > LET’S TWIST AGAIN



The year is 1988. I’m sitting in my bedroom, in a dingy house in Leeds shared with nine other students, thinking about everything at once: the due date of my next philosophy degree assignment, whether I fancy the woman who showed me and a bunch of (presumably) straight fellow students a book called The Joy Of Lesbian Sex and what my family will say when I come out.

I’ve just come down from the precarious high achieved through boiling stringy magic mushrooms and rediscovered, thank god, that I can’t actually see the world and everyone in it through closed eyelids. I’m tired, awkward and unsure of who I am. Wondering what Thatcher’s anti-gay law, Clause 28 means for me as a maybe-lesbian, I listen to John Peel’s late-night show on Radio 1. Peel introduces a new act with an unusual-sounding name and a sound to match.

A lilting, folky number with an accordion stands out from the blur of pop music produced by current music industry titans, Stock, Aitken & Waterman. Then that voice. Dark and deep, Tanita Tikaram sings about angst-ridden teenage family relationships and I start to feel as though maybe I’m not the only one feeling sad and angry. Good Tradition climbs up the charts, into the top 10 and creeps into my psyche. In the music press straight white dudes grudgingly acknowledge her talent. She acquires the sobriquet “The Bard of Basingstoke”. Her alternative dress sense and otherworldliness speak to me of a young woman who doesn’t play by the rules. I feel like I’ve discovered a new friend. A further track, Twist In My Sobriety, the second of four singles taken from the album Ancient Heart, seals her a legitimate place in pop culture history, selling four million copies. Tanita Tikaram is as surprised as her record label bosses and her plan to study English and American literature at Manchester University is overshadowed by phenomenal commercial success.

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About DIVA Magazine

We are thrilled to have singer-songwriter Tanita Tikaram on our cover this month! For the first time in her thirty year career, she speaks openly about her sexuality in a revealing interview with Jane Czyzselska. Don’t forget to check out our digital issue for behind-the-scenes video footage from our cover shoot, including Tanita telling us her favourite tracks from the new album. Also in this issue… LGBT History Month: Why is our past so white? What was it like to be lesbian or bi when homosexuality was a crime? A fairytale photoshoot with YouTube super-couple Rose and Rosie Heather Peace looks back at the history of women’s football Vicky Beeching finds out if Jesus was a feminist Jane Hill asks what’s stopping us from working out Phyll Opoku-Gyimah urges us to build our movement up, not tear each other down Sophie Ward investigates theatre’s gender revolution and talks to the female actors taking male roles Get your coat! How lesbian dating’s changed through the ages PLUS: Travel, fashion, family and much, much more!