New Year’s Eve 1994/5, the nightclubs, parties and discos of London froze in shock as news of the death of Leigh Bowery swept through the city and then the world. The legendary club freak, aesthete and iconic performance luminary had departed. However the flame of his artistry lives on, not only in his artistic and musical legacy, but in the continuing work of the remaining Minty band members with the reissue of their 1997 album ‘Open Wide’ on 3rd July and the legendary club track ‘Useless Man’ on 30th May – both released in a collaboration between original label Candy Records and The state51 Conspiracy. To mark 25 years since Leigh’s passing Minty re-release the single with a new mix for a new world from Boy George and the long lost ‘Original’ Minty mix. Also a brand new anarchic animated video directed by Richard Torry and Mathew Glamorre themselves.
1992: Minty came together around Leigh to present ‘actions’ on the fringes of music, art, and politics and to explode (sometimes literally) in the face of the growing celebrity culture. The band represented those marginalised through sexuality and delighted to challenge all that which usurps the established order. Word of their live shows spread fast, Leigh was a mainstream figure back then and Minty were becoming notorious for what were considered outrageous and disgraceful performances. At a time just before the internet, scandalous talk and sensational press articles brought the band to the attention of the authorities. The UK’s draconian, indecency and public licensing laws soon led to bans, legal action and police raids. Every show opened with ‘Useless Man’ – an amazing unapologetic, foul mouthed, pro-femme, pro-sex, pro-queer club anthem with lyrics made to shock and a playful homage to a Pepsi Cola ad byline from the 70’s.
Not ones for subtley, the live performances of the track added further blood and gore schlock horror to what was already a controversial song. Richard Torry says: “Leigh and I wanted to write an anthem for the Lesbians at Fist (a hardcore fetish club of the early 90s) – they were at the extreme edge of boundary breaking between sex and gender.” Matthew Glamorre adds “We also needed a soundtrack to the ‘birth’ performance that opened the show so the song became a challenge to the feminist narrative that men were useless as they couldn’t create life.”
The new animated video, directed by Richard and Matthew, revisits those themes 25 years on with a rich montage of still images layered throughout with cultural puns and political dog whistles underscoring their view on sexual, cultural and gender polarisation.
Over the last 25 years ‘Useless Man’ became part of the soundtrack to the underground music and art scene. The Grid mix continues to be played on indie/ alt/ queer dancefloors throughout the world. And now fans can also enjoy the Boy George and Kinky Roland Latex Drips Remix. Check it out: