The new sex symbols
Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, The Beatles —
Sex and pop have always walked hand in hand. Nowadays it’s Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet that set them screaming and Frankie Goes To Hollywood that raise eyebrows.
This week No.1 talks to Paul Young, Sade, Glenn Gregory, Madonna, Jay Aston of Bucks Fizz, Pete Burns of Dead Or Alive, and Paul Rutherford, Frankie’s dancer and singer.
All these artists have the mysterious gift of sex appeal. Do they exploit it, suffer for it or do their best to forget about it?
Who better than the sex symbols to sum up the state of sex in 1984?
Frankie Goes To Hollywood are the band who made sex scandalous again. With the banning of ‘Relax’ they made the headlines and took over the No.1 spot.
Rather than disguise their homosexuality, singers Holly and Paul Rutherford made no secret of the fact thet they were gay.
Branded by some as dangerous, Frankie are already a household word. Paul Rutherford, Frankie’s ‘macho man’, gives his thoughts on sexual imagery, honesty and fantasy.
Did you expect ‘Relax’ to be banned?
No. It was in the back of everyone’s minds to begin with, but we got away with it for so long. We were quite shocked when it was banned.
How do you see the song?
I think we’re mixed up about it now. People keep telling us what it’s about. Holly, who wrote it, is really adamant that it’s about self-motivation. He wrote it to get us to rehearsals on time.
But it’s ambiguous. It’s definitely using sexual imagery.
Why do you think some people found Frankie Goes To Hollywood threatening?
I didn’t know that they have Frankie are quite honest and quite strong and they stood up for themselves. As a band Frankie are never really embarrassed by anything.
What do you think society’s attitude is to gay sexuality?
I think it’s cooled off immensely now. I don’t think anyone’s really that bothered anymore. There’s much bigger problems around.
Music has helped society accept gay sexuality because of the weird creatures on TV —
What’s the music business attitude to gay sexuality?
When we were first looking for a record contract, no one would touch us.
A lot of the fuss about ‘Relax’ was because of the way we were marketed. I don’t think we were particularly happy with some of it. It made us out to be a bit narrow.
But ZTT like to play the game dangerously, which I think is good for us. They wanted to bring back the dangerous element, like when Elvis Presley shook his hips and people dropped through the floor.
What sort of propositions do you get, and who from?
I spoke to the fan club secretary. the other day and a guy had rung up wanting to meet me and Holly, outside the Wimpey Bar near Piccadilly Circus at 11 o’clock one night! We get quite a lot of lewd photographs. And Holly has this skinhead called Mitch who think’s he’s the be-all and end-all.
What do you think about pornography?
I quite like some of it. I don’t really like crude things. But if it was a nice man…
I don’t think you should censor things. I think if people are offended, it can be because they’re scared of something, or they’ve been taught to be scared of a naked male or female.
Do you see yourself as a sex symbol?
Me? No. From the amount of mail we get, it’s Holly and Nash. Some people have just got no taste!
What do you find sexy?
Richard Gere, Mel Gibson (Mad Max), muscles, black vests, boxer shorts. And sweat.
What do you consider to be a healthy sexual attitude?
Live and let live.
Do you think male sexuality is any different from female sexuaity?
Men don’t have to take the pill. They don’t have the same worries as women, therefore it’s freer.
Has being in Frankie made any difference to your sex life?
No, not at all. I was doing exactly the same thing before.
Is Frankie’s visual image something that came naturally to you?
The leather thing has got blown totally out of proportion. It was Holly and me slightly exaggerated to make it more interesting for people to watch. We didn’t want people going to the bar or the toilet halfway through the set. But it was the clothes that we personally liked.
Do you think society is too permissive, or not permissive enough?
I think it’s a bit permissive, some of it is a bit sick-making. There’s not much thought about it any more. I don’t think people really search for love, it went out of the window and that made it a bit dirty because it lost its romance.
Do you believe in love?
Yeah. Oh most definitely. I think it’s really important. Have I found true love myself? Yeah, I have.
What would you ban?