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Soft Cell singer Marc Almond on growing up gay

One of the men behind the infamous 80s hit Tainted Love speaks out on straight audiences, alcoholic fathers, and bullying
Soft Cell singer Marc Almond has spoken out about growing up gay with an alcoholic father.

Soft Cell singer Marc Almond, the man behind one of the most famous versions of ‘Tainted Love’, has opened up about growing up gay with a drunken father.

In an interview with Beige, Almond says: ‘My early education was a survival course. I was ideal bullying material being intelligent, creative and artistic.

‘My drunken father would come to my class and, in front of everyone, ask the teacher if I was homosexual. It was humiliating.’

Almond said he rebelled by forming obsessive friendships with boys, and not ‘being very subtle about it’.

Probably most well-known for the 80s cover of Gloria Jones’ classic, Almond was not prepared to be catapulted to success.

‘We never intended going into pop music,’ he said. ‘We were an experimental electronic underground band, so being thrust into the limelight on Top of the Pops was scary.

While his band may have been a big part of the 80s music scene, Almond was not a New Romantic.

He said: ‘I had a really straight audience at first, which was very strange and scary.

‘It felt like I was still being stared at in the playground so I formed Marc and the Mambas as a way of moving from pop music and challenging my audience. Are you with me or against me?

‘Some fans departed, but many stayed, including a lot of straight ones, surprisingly unfazed by how homoerotic and subversive my lyrics can be.’

Almond has continued to write music and perform for over 20 years, and featured on the track Last Night I Paid To Close My Eyes last year.

Beige UK is available in print and online now.

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