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Lucia Santa Cruz, a glamorous Chilean historian, had got to know Charles three years before when he was an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Back then, she had been working as a research assistant to the Master of his college, Lord Butler.
We didn't have much money, so it was kind of a free holiday. It's maybe overly dramatic to say that over the years he's been to hell and back - though he's certainly been to Hull; that's touring for you - but he is proof that sex and drugs don't necessarily need a rock 'n' roll soundtrack. A partner, a dog, a life divided between London and an apartment in Miami, a life of monogamy (or that's the plan), a life recording new music and singing old songs on tour. But before that he's coming to Edinburgh to appear at the Fringe in a one-man show, Torsten The Bareback Saint, a play with songs that takes in broken-down British resorts - and yes there's a song called Weston-super-Mare - gay saunas and homoeroticism. Readers’ comments: You are personally liable for the content of any comments you upload to this website, so please act responsibly.
"It was all around the south coast and up to Weston-super-Mare and this guy, this old creepy guy was like, 'You can come and sleep in my sleeping bag,' and I was like, 'No, no, no,' because he was old and ugly. Sometimes hit-hungry electropop will do just as well. Bell has already lived through the bullied years, the pop years, the wild years, the addicted years, the frightened years, the sick years, the HIV-positive years, the grieving years. They're possibly a little more, umm, full-on than such Erasure hits as A Little Respect or Victim Of Love. I think we both bring things from what we've been doing back to the table. We do not pre-moderate or monitor readers’ comments appearing on our websites, but we do post-moderate in response to complaints we receive or otherwise when a potential problem comes to our attention.
"I don't know if we have many old lady fans or old ladies go to Edinburgh …" Are you suggesting they shouldn't? I would like them to, but …" He's never been to the Fringe, has acted only once before, some 20 years ago in a show about the Stonewall riots. "You had to wear the Judy tights, leotard, top hat. ' It made me very distrustful from a really early age. I only played with kids younger than me or my older cousins. But I think that gave me a really strong core." He was also, he says, always being caught with his pants down with the boy next door. "I was very close with my mum and I told her I was bisexual. But I was having an affair with my best friend at school and I think he was a bit more ashamed about it so we broke up. I'm going to get pilloried, so I just need to leave.' And that was it." There's a song in Torsten called Boy From The Sauna and it's another song in which Bell can hear echoes of his own life.
I do remember I was fluffing my lines something chronic and I think it was from pure nerves." Bell belongs to an earlier, possibly braver generation of pop stars - openly gay in the 1980s, when homophobia was far more front and centre and indeed legally endorsed (this was the time of Section 28, after all). If he hadn't been there I don't know if I'd have been so brave." Bravery meant appearing on stage in a rubber leotard sweating up a storm and looking like something out of a Tom of Finland cartoon. I think some of the record company PRs were a bit more reticent about it. Erasure were huge in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Then I did try to seduce one guy while he was asleep at my house and he went to school and told everyone so I was kind of blacklisted." Life was sex - or at least the hope of it - and music. He'd spent his teens listening to the B52s, Lene Lovich, Nina Hagen. "In the early Erasure days I would go to a few saunas in America and one of my past boyfriends used to go there all the time. Just the feeling of being on the gay scene in the early days because I was hopeless at cruising. I could never do the eye-to-eye contact thing." Still, he threw himself into gay life in London in all its wild druggy excess. "I think it's to do with confidence," he says, but yes, maybe. "Now I'm in a partnership and I'm determined that I'm going to be monogamous because it reminds me of tours when I've been drunken and trashy and just hooked up with whoever is there in the bar at the end of the night. But me and Steve have said we're looking forward to growing old together. It's amazing to still have your heroes, Debbie Harry being 68 and strutting her stuff. That gives me 20 more years at least." What does he see when he looks in the mirror?
"I couldn't play to save my life," he says, "but two of the guys had dropped out and I was from a family of six children. He'll have been the frontman of synthpop duo Erasure along with Vince Clarke for 30 years come 2015 - I know, that makes me feel old too - and there's a new album and tour later this year. When I look in the mirror I don't know yet if I can look myself right in the eye. " n Torsten The Bareback Saint will be at the Assembly George Square Studios from Tuesday until August 16. Erasure's new album The Violet Flame is released next month.It was the start of a long, torturous romance — torturous because Camilla became a puppet on a string.Andrew was hugely fond of her and she was nominally his girlfriend, spending many weekends with him at his parents’ house near Newbury in Berkshire. And what was particularly hurtful was that — even then — many of them were Camilla’s friends. One night she spotted Andrew’s car parked outside the flat of one of her best friends, so she wrote a rude message in lipstick on the windscreen and let all the air out of his tyres.There was never a tense atmosphere in the couple’s home; no barbed comments or bitter exchanges.Andrew’s affairs were just a fact of life and not something Camilla often spoke about.