The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Mercurial Rev: Richard Coles' Favourite Music
Alex Burrows , April 14th, 2021 08:57

Vicar, musician, broadcaster and ex-Communard, The Reverend Richard Coles tells Alex Burrows how music is still important to belief and why parish choirs are the new punk. Portrait by Tim Anderson.


Eurythmics – ‘Love Is A Stranger’
This was the soundtrack to finding my feet in London. A London that was full of possibilities: finding my way into music by making a living and playing in a band. I was receiving my Arts Council grant – otherwise known as supplementary benefit – and living in a rather squalid flat in King’s Cross. Living hand-to-mouth, signing on. If you were a gay man back then, life began in London because you weren’t going to be living much of a gay life in Kettering or Leamington Spa. Coming to London, the promise of love, romance and sex opened up. “Love is a stranger in an open car” – you bet it was! This was before HIV struck. So if you were a gay man in London 1980-1985, it was pretty… erm… entertaining!

I just love it. Also, it has a fantastic video. Annie Lennox was ahead of the game with that look. We think of the 80s now as being a playground of gender-bending, but she was one of the first to do that. Her voice reminds me of Jimmy Somerville. They both have those voices which can be incredibly strong and incredibly vulnerable at the same time. Jimmy and I used to listen to this record a lot when we first became friends. Whenever I hear the song, I think of running around nightclubs in London with Jimmy and our group of friends before all the success came along.