January 25, 2021
Continuing our series on the artists who had a formative influence on our music writers, Luke Turner relives the naughty, nocturnal, decadent thrills of sex à la SuedeRead more from The fandom that made me seriesI was late to the Suede party, only getting into the band when they released snotty pop cracker Trash in 1996. There’s nothing like a convert to make a true zealot, and at 17, that I very much was. Received wisdom at the time said that the band were doomed without recently departed guitarist and musical magician Bernard Butler. I didn’t agree. I loved Trash, and while eagerly awaiting new album Coming Up, bought their second record Dog Man Star from Woolworths during a rainy family holiday in Falmouth, Cornwall. I spent the rest of the trip poring over the CD booklet, staring at its cover of a naked man lying in front of a window, and obsessively reading the extravagant lyrics of sex and love and jealousy. Holiday over and reunited with my CD player, Dog Man Star and Suede took me over, and changed everything.
Suede: how the androgynous indie pioneers gave me pride in my bisexuality
Thanks to them, my drab teenage existence in a tedious London satellite town started to make sense. Brett Anderson sang my life for me: the sense of frustration and not fitting in with the noxious lad culture of the time. I dreamed of ending up in London (and ideally in bed) with the androgynous beings who populated Suede’s videos and record sleeves. Even though Anderson’s sexual orientation remained obscure (he was unfairly pilloried for saying he was “a bisexual man who’d never had a homosexual experience”), there was enough slipperiness in Suede’s attitude, aesthetic and lyricism that for the first time, my bisexuality felt like something to be proud of, rather than a cause of shame. Sex à la Suede was naughty, nocturnal, decadent – a place of turmoil but also self-realisation and pride.
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