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Marc Almond: ‘I’ve had the chance to be subversive in the mainstream’ | Musique Non Stop

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Marc Almond: ‘I’ve had the chance to be subversive in the mainstream’

With a career-spanning 10-album box set coming out, the Soft Cell star reflects on the 80s, Brexit and his fading love affair with London

In the late 1660s, after the Great Fire, building began on land then known to Londoners as Henry VIII’s Royal Park. It used to be fields around there, save for a few cottages. The area was primed to be one of London’s grandest neighbourhoods, one of its future Marylebones or Mayfairs. A few decades later, the Huguenots arrived and built a church. Italians, Greeks and Algerians followed, setting up small businesses, cafes and restaurants. Then came the small theatres and the music halls, the poets and the performers, the prostitutes and the pop stars.

“Soho was this mythical place where anything went on, that collected outsiders, full of people that didn’t really fit in anywhere else.” On a muggy autumn afternoon at the private members’ club Soho House, Marc Almond, here to discuss his new 10-album career retrospective box set, is describing the place that made him who he was in the late 20th century. “A friend of mine, a ballet dancer, lived here in the late 70s, opposite a casino, and there were neons in the windows and the police coming every night arresting people. And I thought: this is where I want to be. This is where I’m meant to be.”

Gay men now have to be chiselled and have a bit of Botox – where does the outsider fit in?

Related: Soho stories: celebrating six decades of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll

I would never have got through an X Factor audition. I’d be one of the quirky ones they’d stick in as a novelty act

I caught sight of myself on TV last year, and thought, ‘Oh dear, I’m not sure how much longer I can do this’

Related: The industry closet: queer pop from Little Richard to Frank Ocean

Related: Jon Savage on song: Soft Cell – Bedsitter

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by Jude Rogers via Electronic music | The Guardian