Get the Beat back
“My purpose was truth. My emotions, my desires, my hopes, my sexuality, my life. I was fearless and driven by the everyday politic of discrimination. I didn’t set out to be a ‘pop star’. I set out to be a troublemaker.” That’s Bronski Beat singer Jimmy Somerville talking earlier this year about their ground-breaking 1984 album ‘Age of Consent’. It was released against a backdrop of the Tory government’s open hostility to gays that reached its apotheosis with the introduction of Section 28, the notorious clause that stated a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality”. Paul Flynn nails it in the updated sleeve notes on the album: “The Age of Consent is a journeyman record, indivisible from the fight for British gay equality. It is a working-class record, a kitchen sink vignette, a sloganeering button badge, a protest banner at the front of a march and a pair of disco hot-pants rollerblading under the open legs of its enemy”. It’s also still a corking listen and this new version comes with a plethora of remixes, 12”s and rare and unreleased tracks.
Bronski Beat’s Age of Consent is released on 26 October.