Monday, 5 July 2010

Bare-faced cheeks

Gay popstars are a funny breed. We love them for their outrageous fashions, outspoken interviews and camp sensibilities, but there's something reassuringly asexual about them, which enables them to engage that all important middle-of-the-road audience.

Take Elton John for instance - he might be as camp as a row of tents illuminated by the flickering glow of a Louis XIV candelabra, but no-one ever actually spends a moment contemplating he and David Furnish in sexual congress (at least not if they value their sanity). Likewise, Will Young's endless parade of silly hats means we're much more familiar with what goes on his head than what might go on in his pants.

So what to make of the Scissor Sisters? Frontman Jake Shears is an unashamedly sexual creature - in fact it's hard to listen to one of the group's songs without picking up the scent of a water-based lubricant. He can't even take part in a photoshoot without exposing himself like Jodie Marsh at a premiere.

The group's long-awaited comeback album 'Night Work' was inspired by time that Shears spent trawling around Berlin sex clubs. And he decided to promote the new album by hawking his wares on in a series of revealing pictures (not to mention his 'escort out rate').

The Scissor Sisters want you to know that sex is on their minds - and short of sticking their hands down the jeans of every listener, they couldn't be more obvious about it. The new album's cover is a classic picture by Robert Mapplethorpe, the legendary photographer who found an imaginative solution for storing bullwhips and may have inadvertently invented the 'push and grip' tea-towel holder.

The photo in question depicts the impossibly pert buttocks of ballet dancer Peter Reed as they attempt to devour a pair of stretchy 1980s disco pants. The picture is so near the knuckle (halfway to the wrist, in fact) that facebook has banned the album's PR campaign in Italy and Spain.

Elsewhere, the band has been running a rather canny competition, inviting fans to submit their own alternative artwork for others to vote on. The end result being a database of images boasting more arseholes than Jeremy Kyle's guest list.

It's just a shame that a group which prides itself on artistic expression should choose such an iconic image for their album cover, only to invite anyone with an iPhone and a mirror to create their own version. I'm sure they'd turn their nose up at the record label insisting on karaoke versions of all 12 tracks tagged onto the end of the album's playlist.

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