This limited edition book tells the story of Marc Almond’s career through the power of image.
The hardback volume contains the work of revered music photographers alongside pictures from Almond’s own personal collection. At times you feel like Almond is allowing you into his life on an intimate level.
Almond said the process of the book was, “Bittersweet and yet cathartic”. I found it very touching, poignant and above all interesting.
The images are accompanied by text lifted from conversations with the journalist, Mark Paytress. Almond’s words are the perfect companion to the vivid, thought provoking images.
The book opens with a selection of photographs of Almond as a child under the title of ‘Youth’. Almond says: “In 1964, I was seven. The world was still in black-and-white.”
The reader finds out that Almond was a protected child; well brought up but living quite a lonely existence. We then observe the boy growing into a young man, trying to define his style through a selection of photo booth shots. I love the way that the images are laid out for you to witness Almond’s gradual transition. In the last photo booth shot he is wearing an elaborate hat (influenced by hanging out with legendary hat wearer, Molly Parkin).
One of the most eerie images is probably ‘Motorpsycho Nightmare’ that shows Almond on a deconstructed bike. Even Almond recognises the significance of the image saying: “In most of the others, I’m covered in blood and oil. Me in a motorcycle accident? Spookily prophetic…”
The Immaculate Consumptive (a collaborative cabaret) is captured forever in a photograph. An impromptu photo shoot in Central Park shows a young Nick Cave, cigarette dangling from his hand, next to Almond who stands centre of the picture staring straight into the lens. Almond says: “I only went along with it because Nick was involved. He was so charismatic”.
Marc and the Mambos are chronicled in a wonderful, colourful fashion with Almond admitting that Soft Cell had a limited shelf life and that he would have to: “commit a kind of commercial suicide”.
The pictures also tell the story of Almond’s declining health, due to drug misuse, and his being reborn again by overcoming his demons and finding creativity within himself again.
There is a wonderful section on the work of Pierre et Gilles depicting Almond in “Indian film poster style”. Almond says: “That’s exactly how I like to write and perform songs, too – windswept and heroic”.
Almond’s days in Moscow are captured as is the ‘decline’ of his beloved Soho in a section called ‘Sleaze’.
The last photograph is of Almond staring straight at the camera for The Velvet Trail (his latest album release). There is also a full illustrated discography at the end.
It is obvious throughout this book that Almond gives great thought to the power of image and how his music intertwines with it. Should we expect anything less from an art student?
Marc Almond is available now via First Third Books