Bedsit land

The strange worlds of Soft Cell

By Patrick Clarke

Bedsit land
Paperback -
  • Price: £12.99
  • ISBN: 9781526173560
  • Publish Date: Sep 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Pre-Order £12.99

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    eBook +
  • Price: £12.99
  • ISBN: 9781526173553
  • Publish Date: Sep 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Pre-Order £12.99

    Delivery Exc. North and South America


    Delivery to North and South America

    Click Here to Buy from Your Preferred Bookseller

    Book Information

    • Format: Paperback
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-7356-0
    • Pages: 256
    • Price: £12.99
    • Published Date: September 2024
    • Series: The British Pop Archive


    A rich and revealing examination of the legendary pop duo Soft Cell.

    Soft Cell are not your average pop band. Marc Almond and Dave Ball may be best known for the string of hits they released in 1981, but the powerful first phase of their collaboration embraced a staggering array of sounds, influences and innovations that would change the face of music to come.

    In Bedsit land, Patrick Clarke plunges into the archives and interviews more than sixty contributors, including the band members themselves, to follow Soft Cell through the many strange and sprawling worlds that shaped their extraordinary career. They lead him from the faded camp glamour of the British seaside to the dizzying thrills of the New York club scene. From transgressive student performance art to the sleaze and squalor of pre-gentrified Soho. From the glitz of British showbiz to the drug-addled chaos of post-Franco Spain.


    'A fascinating psychogeographic exploration of Soft Cell and the worlds that spawned them: Leeds, Soho, New York and the northwest seaside resorts where Almond and Ball grew up. Clarke's expert sifting of witness testimony captures the soul inside the eighties' most brilliantly subversive duo.'
    Cathi Unsworth, author of Season of the Witch: The Book of Goth

    'They used seaside melancholy and art school freedom as base camps, in an age when there was room for unimaginable experimentalism in the charts and, in turn, mainstream TV. For those who only know "Tainted Love", Patrick Clarke's thorough and exciting book repositions Soft Cell as key counter-culturalists, at the very heart of a musical and artistic revolution.'
    Bob Stanley, author of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop

    'A fascinating and energetic dive into the seedy chaos of Soft Cell's short early life, with fresh interviews and insight emphasising how the duo connected the avant-garde and mainstream of both early 1980s England and New York.'
    Luke Turner, author of Out of the Woods: Nature, Sexuality, and Faith in the Forest

    'This book is a wonderful web of all the sticky threads that give Soft Cell their proper context. Clarke's writing is full of empathy for what it's like to be at the mercy of an audience. It positions Soft Cell, rightly in my opinion, as one of the most fearless duos in pop music.'
    Florence Shaw, Dry Cleaning

    'Patrick Clarke's book explores how, more than any other act, Soft Cell came to encapsulate the spirit of eighties libertinism, dirt-smeared glamour and joyous amorality. And, more importantly, how they made artful future pop music and dancefloor classics - music that provided a primer for Pulp, Brit Pop, synth takeover and house music yet to emerge. Detailing a world in transition, Soft Cell were observant and caustic. A perfect combination of British sleaze and exotic cosmopolitanism. A story of muck and glitter in equal measure.'
    Dr Stephen Mallinder, Cabaret Voltaire, Creep Show, Wrangler

    'Patrick Clarke paints a vivid picture of the careening brilliance of Soft Cell, showing how from the beginning the band's mainstream pop success was rooted in a career-threatening embrace of all things unpalatable and underground. Read this book as an antidote to the gentrified music industry of today!'
    Dr Gavin Butt, author of No Machos or Pop Stars: When the Leeds Art Experiment Went Punk

    'A must read for all fans of Soft Cell, synth music, art, fashion, fame or anyone interested in being iconic'
    Blitzed Magazine


    1 Lubbock's Day
    2 The Yorkshire vortex
    3 Memorabilia
    4 Art terrorism
    5 Da dun dun
    6 Top of the Pops
    7 I shook them up and I gave them hell
    8 Soho
    9 We could go out to dinner but we're always on drugs


    Patrick Clarke is a music journalist and live DJ. He is the deputy editor of the Quietus and a freelance contributor to the Guardian, NME, DIY Magazine and many more.

    Bedsit land

    By Patrick Clarke

    Paperback £12.99 / $18.95

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