Marc Almond -Manchester Bridgewater Hall 18.10.2022

NCP car parks are shit. There, I’ve said it. And they’re lying wankers. “Oi, mate, park over here, it’s no bother, I’ll look after your car, no probs. Don’t bother with cash, Christ no, just use the NCP app, it’s a piece a piss mate. Drop your car over there, then get off an’ enjoy yor’sen, have a good night, don’t worry abart it. And we’ll be right here when you get back…and when you’re done, just drive off, don’t even bother to pay, you can just apple-pay the fucker later, in fact we’ll take the money out, so chill, we’ll sort it yeah. Sweet”. Yeah reight, sort it my arse. Damn you NCP car parks!!! Damn you all to hell!!!

Anyway, Peter Mark Sinclair, or Marc Almond to his showbiz mates. Marc. Almond. Legend of 80s electronica. Soundtracked my sweet, innocent youngling life he did. A curly-haired head full of dreams, a prepubescent body bubbling over with pre-cum and testosterone. That’s me, not Marc Almond. I kopped my first feel to Tainted Love. Sat in a junior disco at Primrose Valley with a goofy lass called Yvonne. She was nice looking, but unfortunately her teeth were ginormous. I could hardly get past her massive teeth. I’m not toothist by any means, I’ll snog anyone. I mean, some of my best friends are goofy, but snogging her was a nightmare, almost an adrenaline rush. Would we bang teeth, would her teeth gash my soft plump lips, would I snag my half-arsed what’s the point in it 12 year old wannabe ‘tache on her huge incisors. Who knew. I had to pack her in the end. She took it well. Besides, she lived in Gawber and my house was in Mapp’, which may as well have been me in San Francisco and her in New York city in those days. I often think of her…………..whyyyyyyyy, oh why, did she have to lee’eave and…run awaaaaay…oh yeah…and she deffo dint pack me in cos I dint have any pubes. 

Right, back to Marky Marc and the spunky bunch. Legend that he is. Was he gunna be a karaoke warbler and a (forgive me for saying it) Ian Brown over a backing track in Glasgow style yesteryear’s wasted troubadour. Or a magnificent androgynous cabaret chanteuse in a crushed-velvet jacket? Like fuck he was the former, he most definitely was the latter. Marc Almond was Zorro. He was D’antériorités. He was Cape et d’épée. Humongous. Ridiculous. Stupefyingly stupendous. Over two hours of baroque madness with a pinch of sleazy bedroom electronica new wave and synth-pop. New synth-wop if you will. Or synth-wave. How about wave-pop. Or nop. Oh piss off. So, a few classics sucked in and spat out, initially, almost unrecognisable, svelte, stripped down to their beautiful bare bones, then the vocals kicked in, oooooh yeah, there it is, ‘Tainted Love’, oh God yeah, ‘Bedsitter’, classic. The wonderful sneer, the acerbic lyrics. Soft Cell, Jacques Brel, Pet Shop Boys, Gene Pitney, Scott Walker all thrown in for added chutzpah. But his new material, especially from ‘Chaos and a Dancing Star’, were beautiful, epic, spellbinding dark vignettes to love, loss, friendships and…..break-ups. Tindersticks tussling with Antony and the Johnsons maybe. That good. Then, the between song chitty-chat. Taking the piss out of the audience, out of himself, out of people going to the toilet. And there was a lot of people going to the toilet. Understandable considering most of the audience were over 50.  Dicky bladders and diabetes. You know the etiquette, crouch down…s’cuse me…pardon me…sorry…s’cuse me…sorry about this…feeling so bad that your going for a piss is ruining someone’s entire evening. Some people just turn their legs and look annoyed, others stand up, start harrumphing and tutting and basically implying that you’re ruining everyone else’s evening too. Then the singer starts taking the piss. Fuck it, I think I’m gunna start using a catheter when I go to gigs in future cos I must’ve gone about three times myself and I only had a pint an’ half. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, spunky Marc. He wasn’t stand-up comedianesque by any means, he was almost shy and retiring, but once he warmed up and got into the groove, he had tales to tell and we were there mate, in the palm of his little hand, hung on his every word. Actually that’s a nice link that because he told a short anecdote about when he was the name on everyone’s lips, way back when, at the height of Soft Cell-mania, a young Madonna, theeee Madonna, Madonna Louise Ciccone, needed somewhere to crash during a promo jaunt in Londinium, and her agent, flunky, manager et el, were mates with Marc and they asked if Maddy could crash in Marc’s spare flat/writing gaff/hideaway. “Sure”, said Marc, “No problemo”. So Mads and her crew went over for a butchers and drop off their clobber, went in, saw the state of the place, then fucked off. “No taaa Marc, we’ll crash at G.G. Allin’s gaff thanks…”. I mean, imagine the state it must’ve been in. The debauched shit that must’ve gone off in there, Jesus!!! Enough to make a billygoat puke. 

So, back to the gig. I don’t know who the band were, but they were on point too and no mistake. Tight as my arse, and that’s tight. I work out see. Cellos, oboes, flutes, probably harpsichords and glockenspiels, all manner of ridiculous instruments and the wonderful cacophony of noise they created was an absolute joy to behold. And I should know.

So thank you Marc you dirty little pup. On the strength of your performance I’m gunna check out all your solo stuff that I thought was probably shite. Because it’s not, and herein lies an important life lesson. Never think all eighties singer’s post megafame material is shit. Because it’s not. Unless it’s Adam Ant. I’m still gutted about ‘Viva la Rock’, now that was shit.

I preferred the old days before NCP. You used to just pull your car onto some dogshit strewn waste-ground, wait a minute or two before a couple of raggy-lads breeze past and say to you, all cockney like “‘ere mister, look after you car for ya then mister…?”, with the implied threat that if you didn’t say “yeah”, your car would be on house bricks by the time you got back. Why did they always sound cocker’nee an’ all? Maybe it’s me, maybe I just watched too many musicals as a kid…chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher’ee…et cetera. Anyway I’d rather trust a couple of robbing scallywags than I would an NCP app the smart app evil wanker.

I’m Pelican Tangerine and I say hello and wave goodbye.’