Nude times, high jinks and great music with Jools Holland and Marc Almond

Jools Holland and Marc Almond are almost crying with laughter as they take a trip down memory lane. 

They are reminiscing about the time Holland nearly lost his job after showing Almond in the nude on daytime music TV programme The Tube in the 1980s.

Pic: Mary McCartney

“Marc came on The Tube, and there was an incident where I barged into his dressing room with a camera, which was truly spontaneous, it wasn’t planned like it is these days,” Holland recalls.

“And of course poor Marc was completely unclothed, which caused outrage, there were all sorts of letters of complaints coming in and I was nearly sacked, all because of Marc. 

"Somehow it was all my fault he didn’t have his clothes on!”

Composer and TV presenter extraordinaire, Holland and Soft Cell frontman Almond - both now in their early 60s and with decades in the music industry under their belts - are happy discussing their wilder days in the hedonistic 1980s.

This was an era of real rock and roll antics, before social media took over and before artists hoping to make more than a few quid had to adhere to stricter rules and schedules and contracts.

“We started to become friends once Marc came on tour with us, because you see much more of one another and go through the trials and tribulations, the giddy highs and the lows,” explains Holland of their working relationship, which began at the turn of the century.

When we first met, I was certainly aware of Soft Cell and thought they were great back in the early 80s. We were probably in New York at the same time when Squeeze was there and Soft Cell were there at one point. But we were probably so busy getting off our nut we weren’t really aware of it!

He adds: “It’s a young man’s game, being wild, but if you’ve been fortunate enough to have a history of that sort of thing, and love having boyish fun, it’ll come out once in a while, although it’s much less often.

“We’re more often having some tea and cake than we are anything else.”

Of his earlier days in synthpop duo Soft Cell with musician David Ball, Almond admits: “I’m amazed I actually got through it - everything was always shambolic, and when things are shambolic it’s always terribly stressful and exhausting. 

"You’d be exhausted by being shambolic. And by being unprofessional.”

Almond and Holland have now combined their talents on new album A Lovely Life To Live, which they admit was a long time coming after their many years on the road together.

The album is a mix of covers, including a big band version of Soft Cell’s ‘Tainted Love’ and a haunting rendition of Edith Piaf’s ‘Hymne a L’Amour’, along with a handful of original songs written by the duo.

Having thoroughly enjoyed the process of writing together and officially recording together, along with their current tour that runs until the end of the year, have they at all considered doing it all over again?

“You can’t look ahead,” Almond insists.

“This is a great record, I think. But we’ll probably go our different ways, and then we’ll meet and do another tour together at some point.

“I think you have to just go with the adventure and take things as they come, especially at our time of life,” adds Almond, who chuckles again at his own gloomy take.

“You never know what’s awaiting you around the corner.”

Holland, meanwhile, reveals he is just hoping for a bit of a “knees up” when it all wraps up.

Hopefully he gets his wish, although without a naked Almond this time.

Jools Holland and Marc Almond’s album A Lovely Life To Live is out now


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