Title: A lot of talk about kinky clothing…
Author: Peter Martin
Source: Smash Hits
Publish date: November 24 1983

A lot of talk about kinky clothing, tigers, moon landings and strange happenings in the Court of Nero. What are these people on about? Peter Martin finds out.

Sex and leather seem to go hand in glove with the image of Liverpool’s latest ‘hot’ property, Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It’s no surprise to see the five lads clad only in skimpy plastic undies and little else.

“I know it totally detracts from the music,” explains lead singer Holly, “but there’s loads of competition and you’ve got to hit hard. Anyway, we’re not doing anything Hot Gossip didn’t do years ago.”

Like Gary Numan they “got the image from Mad Max 2, but we got it first. God, everybody’s doin’ it now — I believe even Bucks Fizz are givin’ it much bondage lately!”

This extreme image is actively encouraged by their record company, Zang Tuum Tumb, co-owned by house producer Trevor Horn (of ABC fame). Formed exactly a year ago, they were signed up after a prestige appearance on The Tube. Then they were backed up by The Leatherpets — a couple of females in kinky garb who, with alarming regularity, were tied up onstage. They’ve since been replaced by a drag queen duo made up of Juicy Lucy and Mark Time.

“But you shouldn’t take all this too seriously. It should make people laugh — the people it outrages are the ones we’re laughing at.”

In fact, the video for their debut single “Relax” — “a hard dancefloor number” — sounds pretty funny. In involves this “virginal character” Frankie, played by our hero Holly, who takes up the story. “I get lured into this Court Of Nero by this bit fat man we got from the Ugly Agency (a place where you can hire ‘unusual’ looking people — great for weddings, church fetes and office parties, ring 01-67… sorry) and there’s all these characters in leather and bondage and Frankie’s in a suit and he won’t salute him. So Nero gets really freaked out and feeds him to the tiger — daughter of the Esso one — which gets dropped on me over and over again and it really did me ‘ead in. Anyway I befriend it in the end. That’s Frankie. That’s the story of the vid.”

So what does Holly hope to get from all this grand image building?

“Success. Look, I’ll got to the end of the earth to be a success. It took Culture Club three or four goes before they had a hit. If we don’t do it with ‘Relax’ we’ll do it with the next one ‘Two Tribes’ or the one after that, ‘Welcome To The Pleasure Dome’. I’m just dead into having a good time and we want a hit so we can have a better pa-aarty. If you reach for the stars you can always land on the moon.”