Author: John Aizlewood / Source: No.1 / Published: 1987
Act aren’t an act. Well they are. They’re also a group. Well they’re a duo actually. But they’re an act too. At least they like acting. Though they’re not actors. Confused? It’s all about Act.
Claudia Brucken used to be in Propaganda. Thomas Leer was a solo artist. Propaganda split, Thomas wasn’t having much luck on the hit front. They’d know each other from the day Thomas went to see a Propaganda show.
“I was always an admirer of Thomas’s work,” purrs Claudia. “He liked what I was doing and so we kept in touch.”
“I had concocted the idea for a sound,” continues Tom Scottishly. “It needed a female singer and who better than Claudia? After all, we suit each other so well, and we’re both looking to create something new!”
So far, so good. They beavered away in a darkened studio for a month or six and emerged scratching their eyes, clutching a copy of ‘Snobbery And Decay’, their debut single, and Liberace’s last cover. As things would have it, ‘Snobbery And Decay’ has a heavy Moonlighting influence.
“This is the whole principle of Act, it’s a performance. No one should take it that seriously, it’s Dynasty, glamour, that kind of thing. Those with a lesser developed sense of humour won’t get it,” explains Claudia, chuckling away superiorly.
Bring on the Moonlighting. Thomas: “Our performance and look is pure Moonlighting, the tragedy and the comedy. You’re laughing one minute when David says something funny and cracks the whole office up, and the next minute you’re almost crying. It’s that absurdity we’re attracted to and interested in. It takes a bit of time to get into Moonlighting. I watched the whole of the first series and wasn’t that into it, but by the second I was well away.”
Pray tell about the snobbery.
Everybody secretly fancies the glamorous life don’t they?
“There probably are people who do live that life, the Dynasty life, somewhere, a small minority,” sighs Thomas wistfully. “It’s the perfect life, everything is done for you and you just sit around looking great.”
“You can become blue blooded now. You just buy your title if you’re into that kind of thing,” continues Claudia, a West German incidentally. “The new aristocracy won’t be anything to do with the Royal Family. It’ll be pop stars, film directors, and media people. Anyone in a job who can afford to get rich.”
Er, right. Decay then, people quite fancy roughing it a bit too don’t they?
Thomas ‘Street Cred’ Leer: “I’ve had that quite a lot in my life and sometimes by choice as well, so I know what it’s like. It does have its own kind of glamour about it as well, depravity and so on!”
Claudia’s seen it all too! “I’ve seen quite some things I can tell you! I’ve seen people sniffing glue! We have poverty too in Germany, but there’s less decay because it’s so much cleaner that London. I think I’d prefer the other one, snobbery.
“But the point is, it’s just playing with the idea. Thomas and me are just narrators and snobbery and decay is what we see first time around. The next single will be something else, but it’ll always be part of us and our world.”
On the B-side of the 12” of ‘Snobbery And Decay’, there’s a sterling rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s ‘I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You’. Act’s chance to act on stage, a tribute to the Evita men?
“Well, actually it’s a double edged joke. We both dislike Andrew Lloyd Webber intensely. We wanted to do something from a musical, something that was crap and that we could make great. It also fitted the idea of the package,” smiles Thomas.
All a bit pretentious isn’t it?
Claudia: “Of course.”
Thomas: “‘Pretentious’ is a very bad and misused word, there’s nothing wrong with it. The only criterion is it good or bad? Pretentious is irrelevant.”
ZTT is the record label of Act. Handily Claudia is married to ZTT Big Chief Paul Morley. This means there’s going to be no ‘chats’ in the office like this: Paul Morley: “Er, hello Act. We think you’re crap, you haven’t sold many records, and it’s the Job Centre for you!”
Act: “We’ll sue! We’ll sue!”
Mrs Morley: “Believe it or not, I always wanted to stay on this label. I enjoy Paul’s absurdities and provoking the media. Being married is just a coincidence and people will think otherwise, but I couldn’t care less.”
Thomas: “He certainly would throw us off the label if we weren’t producing the goods. We’d be out on our ears I can tell you! There’s no favouritism toward Claudia.”
So, this is Act. A bit of an Act, a single that’s outrageously good, and no favouritism!
Claudia: “We’re not deep thinkers, we’re not intellectuals, we’re more into enjoying life!”