Not long after we’d moved into together, the Spooky Chick introduced me to the completely shallow & totally fabulous non-stop dancing thrills of Soft Cell. One night browsing the shelves at Figueiredo’s Video Movies (which near as I can tell is still in business), we came across a Soft Cell collection so obscure that today I can’t even find so much as a fill-in-the-blanks listing for it on IMDB.
It should have been a fun show, consisting of nothing but videos from Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret and Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing, with introductions from bandmates Marc Almond and David Ball, who were clearly not sober.
But then they had to go and ruin everything.
Every introduction featured a prolonged tease for the infamous Banned Version of the video to “Sex Dwarf,” which apparently had caused some kind of scandal when I was too young and too much not in Britain to have noticed at the time. The Spooky Chick and I were quite eager (and not entirely sober ourselves) to see “Sex Dwarf,” but we weren’t about to fast-forward and miss anything else along the way.
And then they never showed it. A 90 minute tease, all for nothing. Not to mention a wasted $2.50 rental. Right then and there I swore off of Soft Cell so hard, I might have even recorded over a mix tape or two.
(I hadn’t thought about that infamous Banned Version in 20 years, and so I looked it up earlier. Sure enough, it’s up on YouTube — and “Sex Dwarf” is just as awful and cheap and cheesy and seedy as I’d ever dared to imagine.)
But we’re not here to talk about “Sex Dwarf.” We’re here to talk about the song which made me forgive Marc his transgressions, or at least the one I know of personally. I suspect there are others.
So join with me as we fast forward two or three years, when another girlfriend introduced me to Marc Almond’s solo cover of Jacques Brel’s “Jacky” — which to this day is perhaps the most delightfully flamboyant disco/showtune gay anthem ever recorded.
All was forgiven, and to this day “Jacky” remains on my iPod to play in the car very loudly when I’m all alone and in need of some very bad singing to keep me awake and in my own lane.
I’m not saying it’s good, mind you — just that sometimes it’s totally and wonderfully necessary.