Friday, December 30, 2011

"Sex Dwarf" Didn't Get Marc Almond Imprisoned?

I wasn't too surprised to learn that Marc Almond is gay. But after spending some time with Soft Cell, I have to say that "gay" doesn't quite cover it. Marc Almond isn't just gay; the man is flaming like an Olympic torch.

Almond is like that kid in Drama class who simply loves being up on stage. He doesn't care whether you're laughing with him or laughing at him; he just wants your attention.

In his AMG review of Soft Cell's debut album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, William Ruhlmann writes:
At full album length, lyricist Almond's primary preoccupation, only suggested in "Tainted Love," was spelled out; this was a theme album about aberrant sexuality, a tour of a red-light district ... The insistent beats taken at steady dance tempos and the chilling electronic sounds conjured by Ball emphasized Almond's fascination with deviance; it almost seemed as though the album had been designed to be played in topless bars. British listeners saw through Almond's pretense or were amused by him, or both; more puritanical Americans tended to disapprove, which probably limited the group's long-term success stateside.
Count me among the amused. You may have already seen him preening and prancing in the "Tainted Love" video, dressed as a Greek god on Mount Olympus, taunting little girls like the Wicked Witch of the West. In the clip for "Bedsitter," Almond is clearly overjoyed to have discovered that, oh my God, there's a camera on me!

Then there's "What," which was apparently filmed in a Mondrian painting.

Oh, and he was also on Ecstasy:
During 1982, the duo spent most of their time recording and relaxing in New York City, where they met a woman named Cindy Ecstasy whom Almond would later confirm was his drug supplier (it was Cindy Ecstasy who introduced them to the new nightclub drug of the same name). The duo released a second album, a 6-track mini album entitled Non-stop Ecstatic Dancing which contained remixes of older material along with their new hit single "What!". Almond would later admit that the album was recorded and mixed under the influence of ecstasy.[8]
Never underestimate the power of a gay man on Ecstasy. Because nothing can prepare the unsuspecting listener for a pleasant little ditty known as "Sex Dwarf." AMG's Greg Prato writes:
"Sex Dwarf" is a sleazy anthem that features plodding keyboards, aggressive drums, and one of the ugliest vocal performances committed to record. It isn't that Marc Almond has a death metal throat, but instead it's the way he creeps and crawls over the track like a perverted lounge singer.
"Sex Dwarf" is the sound of Marc Almond rolling around in his own sleaze and smearing it all over himself lustily. Apparently there is even "an alternate cut of 'Sex Dwarf' on which singer Marc Almond appears to simulate a female orgasm with his voice." Is that so?

Now, I'm about to post the infamous music video for "Sex Dwarf," but first I want you to simply listen to it. Close your eyes and step inside "Sex Dwarf." You may have to wash yourself afterwards. The thing is, I can understand the female voice whispering "Sexxxx Dwaaaarf," but I still can't quite wrap my head around the peculiar male voice that follows with his own oddly pitched "Sexxxx Dwaaaarf." Is this the actual Sex Dwarf speaking? And just what is a Sex Dwarf, anyway? Is it different from just a regular old dwarf? Don't regular dwarfs have sex?

Ah, but all those questions take a back seat when confronted with the "Sex Dwarf" video, which, according to Wikipedia, "was banned for explicit, S&M-related content." Fortunately, YouTube is here to save the day. I now present, in all its glory, the original music video for Soft Cell's "Sex Dwarf," which features David Ball running around with a chain saw, topless women gyrating awkwardly on the floor, butchered meat being splattered all over the walls, and, obviously, a dwarf. But a word of warning: once you watch the "Sex Dwarf" video, you may never be the same again. [Edit: Surprise, surprise, it's been taken off YouTube. You'll have to hunt for it on the black market.]

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