Words by Simon Button
Soft Cell’s celebration of their 40th anniversary is the gift that keeps on giving. We’ve had a thorough compilation of all the singles and an exhaustive boxset of remixes, rarities and videos, followed by a mesmerising one-off reunion show at The 02 (which is also out on CD, vinyl, DVD and Blu-ray later in the year).
Now there’s a lavish limited edition hardback book, To Show You I’ve Been There, which chronicles Marc Almond and Dave Ball’s career from their first-ever live performance in the humble common room of Leeds Polytechnic in 1979 to that triumphant show in the vast London arena - a farewell to their tenure as a performing duo though not, as all these side projects show, curators of their own legacy.
Picture-heavy, the book comes with gaudy pink binding that’s very Soft Cell and it features such fabulously camp imagery as the cutlery-crammed ‘Bedsitter’ cover shoot, Almond sporting a cap he’d bought in a New York gay leather shop much to the horror of the record company and the duo posing in prophetic shattered masks for the ‘Art Of Falling Apart’ campaign.
There’s even a still from the never-released ‘Sex Dwarf’ video that proves it wasn’t just an urban myth.
The accompanying commentary is just as colourful, with Marc saying of that leather cap “I minced about and camped it up as much as I possibly could” and Dave remarking “Fucking hell, no one had seen anything like that!” of the fact he was a guy with a synth and a reel-to-reel tape recorder backing a bloke drenched in eyeliner.
It’s a fantastic book and fans had better snap it up quick as the print run is limited to 1,300 copies, all of which come with a four-track vinyl EP that includes a brilliant reworking of early track ‘The Girl With The Patent Leather Face’ that sounds even more seductive and ominous now that Almond’s voice has deepened.
Soft Cell - To Show You I’ve Been There is available through lexermusic.com