The Age of Consent

The Age of Consent

"This article is about the Bronski Beat album. For the legal concept regarding sexual activity, see Age of consent. For other uses, see Age of consent (disambiguation)."

Infobox Album
Name = The Age of Consent
Type = Album
Artist = Bronski Beat

Released = December, 1984
Recorded =
Genre = Synthpop
New Wave
Length = 61:23
Label = London Records
Producer = Mike Thorne
Reviews =
*Allmusic:Rating|4.5|5 [ link]
*Robert Christgau (C+) [ link]
*"Rolling Stone" Rating|3|5
Last album =
This album = "The Age of Consent"
Next album = "Hundreds and Thousands"
3rd album = Truthdare Doubledare
4th album = Rainbow Nation
Misc = Singles
Name = The Age of Consent
Type = studio
single 1 = Smalltown Boy
single 2 = Why?
single 3 = It Ain't Necessarily So
single 1 date = June, 1984
single 2 date = September, 1984
single 3 date = December, 1984

"The Age of Consent" is a synthpop album by Bronski Beat, Jimmy Somerville, Larry Steinbachek and Steve Bronski, released at the end of 1984 (see 1984 in music) on London Records. The album was produced by Mike Thorne. It was recorded in London and New York City.

The single "Smalltown Boy" was recorded at The Garden studio, London, (this was owned by former Ultravox singer Jon Foxx) and mixed at Maison Rouge studio, London. It was released in June 1984, peaked at number 3 in the UK singles pop charts and is a poetically poignant, soul searching composition addressing homophobia, loneliness and family misunderstanding. It is accompanied by a video of Jimmy Somerville with fellow band member friends Larry Steinbachek and Steve Bronski who, while cruising at a public swimming pool and changing room, are attacked and beaten up by a gang of homophobes, Somerville is returned to his family by the police; he leaves home alone and has a reunion with friends Steinbachek and Bronski, travelling to a new life on a train.

The band had the telephone number of the London Gay Switchboard (telephone support and information for gays and lesbians in central London) etched into the inner groove of the 12" vinyl version.

Additional congas were played by John Folarin. Sleeve cover art was by Gill Whisson.

The follow-up single "Why?" recorded at RPM Studios, NYC and mixed at Townhouse Studio, London, pursued a more energetic musical formula, while the lyrics focussed more centrally and darkly on anti-gay prejudice. The song opened with and featured a questioning vocal by Somerville and the shattering of breaking glass, emulating the character Oskar in Gunther Grass's The Tin Drum. In the novel and film, Oskar screams at an extremely high pitch when he is in danger of not getting his own way, shattering any glass objects in the vicinity. The single made the top 5 in the UK.

The promotional video opens with Steinbachek and Bronski buying artificial bombs and a small statue of Michelangelo's "David" in a mad supermarket. At the checkout, because they are openly gay, the assistant telephones the management to enquire whether they can pay for the items. They are refused. Meanwhile, Jimmy is singing behind a counter of sausages and salamis and, seeing the dilemma in progress, starts complaining to the checkout girl. All three are arrested by "the thought police" and made to appear for trial before a puppet court and senile judge (Jimmy's father in "Smalltown Boy") The band members are sent to a workhouse. From the workhouse Jimmy rises up into the air and confronts "God". The workers revolt, and strip the thought police of authority and clothing. The band members are placed on pedastals, before "God" transforms all three of them into statues of salt for their alleged sins.

Ironically, the thought-police actors who arrest the trio are the swimmer / homophobic gang-leader from the "Smalltown Boy" video and "Martin", a friend of the band whose situation in a gay relationship with a younger man actually inspired the lyrical content of the song.

The video extras were mostly friends of the band; they went on strike during the video shoot, due to the excess labour endured by them in the production.

The "Smalltown Boy" and "Why" videos were directed by Bernard Rose who also directed the videos for Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax" and "Two Tribes".

The song is dedicated to the memory of playwright Drew Griffiths, victim of a homophobic murder in 1984.

The sleeve cover art was by Robert McAuley.

The third single "It Ain't Necessarily So", the George and Ira Gershwin/ DuBose Heyward song (from the opera "Porgy and Bess") in which the authenticity of Biblical tales is questioned, reached the UK Top 20. The track featured Arno Hecht from The Uptown Horns on solo clarinet and the openly gay male choir from London, The Pink Singers. It was recorded at The Garden studio, London and Skyline Studios, NYC

The promotional video featured Jimmy and Larry as inmates in a borstal with Jimmy and "Martin" (the "thought police" actor from "Why?") having a Christmas pie-eating competition which takes place during the Christmas religious service, which Jimmy, of course, wins. Steve plays a closeted prison warden who has a keen eye for one of the other prisoners.

The cover sleeve art was a parody of "The Wizard Of Oz" with Dorothy having the head of the devil.

A further single was released - a medley of "I Feel Love / Johnny Remember Me / Love To Love You Baby" that was a re-recording of the same track on the album. It featured former "Soft Cell" singer Marc Almond sharing vocals with Jimmy Sommerville, and reached the UK top 5. The choir was "The Pink Singers"; cellos were played by Beverly Lauridsen, Jesse Levy and Mark Shuman.

Sleeve cover art was by Gill Whisson.

The song "Heatwave" features the tap dancing rhythms of Caroline O'Connor.

The album ranked #12 in CMJ's "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1985" [CMJ (1/5/04, p.16)] .

The inner sleeve of the album contains the different international ages of consent for males to engage in gay sex, but this was removed from the United States release of the album by MCA Records after sales and radio play were reportedly lower than anticipated because of this little known information.

Track listing

All songs written by Jimmy Somerville, Larry Steinbachek and Steve Bronski except where noted.
# "Why?" – 4:04
# "It Ain't Necessarily So" (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin/DuBose Heyward) – 4:43
# "Screaming" – 4:15
# "No More War" – 3:55
# "Love and Money" – 5:07
# "Smalltown Boy" – 5:02
# "Heatwave" – 2:40
# "Junk" – 4:17
# "Need-a-Man Blues" (Pete Bellotte/Giorgio Moroder) – 4:20
# "I Feel Love"/"Johnny Remember Me" (Pete Bellotte/Giorgio Moroder/Donna Summer/Geoff Goddard – 5:59

CD release additional tracks:
# "Smalltown Boy" (Full 12" version) – 9:04
#Why?" (Full 12" version) – 7:46


"Smalltown Boy"

* UK 7" single (1984) BITE 1
#"Smalltown Boy" - 3:58
#"Memories" - 2:55

* DE 7" single (1984) 820 091-7
#"Smalltown Boy" - 3:58
#"Memories" - 3:00

* FR 7" single (1984) 820 091-7
#"Smalltown Boy" - 5:01
#"Memories" - 3:00

* NE 7" single (1984) 820 091-7
#"Smalltown Boy" - 3:58
#"Memories" - 3:00

* AU 7" single (1984) 820 091-7
#"Smalltown Boy" - 3:58
#"Memories" - 3:00

* UK 12" single (1984) BITEX 1
#"Smalltown Boy" - 9:00
#"Infatuation/Memories" - 7:38

* DE 12" single (1984) 820 996-1
#"Smalltown Boy" - 9:00
#"Infatuation/Memories" - 7:38

* US 12" single (1984) MCA-23521
#"Smalltown Boy" - 9:00
#"Infatuation/Memories" - 7:42

* NE 12" single (1984) 820 996-1
#"Smalltown Boy" - 9:00
#"Infatuation/Memories" - 7:38

* SP 12" single (1984) 9-29 017
#"Smalltown Boy" - 9:00
#"Infatuation/Memories" - 7:38

* CA 12" single (1984) LDSPX 215
#"Smalltown Boy" - 9:00
#"Infatuation/Memories" - 7:38


"It Ain't Necessarily So"

Chart Positions

* "Smalltown Boy", June, 1984, UK chart number 3
* "Why?", September, 1984, UK chart number 6
* "It Ain't Necessarily So", December, 1984, UK chart number 16

Personnel and credits

*Music - Bronski Beat
*Vocals & words - Jimmy Somerville
*Keyboards and percussion - Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbachek
*Cellos - Beverly Lauridsen, Jesse Levy, Mark Shuman
*Choir - The Pink Singers
*Congas - John Folarin
*Horns - Uptown Horns (Cris Cioe (alto sax & solo, "Love And Money"), Arno Hecht (tenor sax and clarinet solo, "It Ain't Necessarily So"), Hollywood Paul (trumpet) and Bob Funk (trombone))
*Tap Dance - Caroline O'Connor
*Recording engineers: Peter Griffiths (London), Carl Beatty (NYC) & Dominick Maita (NYC)
*Mixing engineers - Harvey Goldberg and Julian Mendelsohn ("Why?")
*Recorded at The Garden (London), Skyline (NYC) & RPM (NYC)
*Mixed at Maison Rouge, The Town House and Right Track Recording
*Mastered by Jack Skinner (Sterling Sound, NYC) & Aaron Chackraverty (The Master Room, London)
*Producer - Mike Thorne


* [ Recording and album info]
* [ Chart info]
* [ album info]
* [ CMJ ranking]


* [ Steve Bronski - for band info]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Age Of Consent — est le premier album du groupe britannique Bronski Beat, de genre synthpop, sorti fin 1984. Produit par Mike Thorne, il a été enregistré à Londres et à New York. Le titre de l album fait allusion à la différence d âge de consentement aux rapports …   Wikipédia en Français

  • the age of consent — the age at which a person is considered old enough to agree to have sex or to get married • • • Main Entry: ↑age of consent …   Useful english dictionary

  • (the) age of consent — the age of consent UK US noun the age that you have to be before you can legally agree to have sex Thesaurus: relating or referring to sex and sexual activitysynonym sexual activityhyponym …   Useful english dictionary

  • The Age of Consent — est le premier album du groupe britannique Bronski Beat, de genre synthpop, sorti fin 1984. Produit par Mike Thorne, il a été enregistré à Londres et à New York. Le titre de l album fait allusion à la différence d âge de consentement aux rapports …   Wikipédia en Français

  • the age of consent — UK / US noun the age that you have to be before you can legally agree to have sex …   English dictionary

  • The Age of Consent (book) — The Age of Consent: The Rise of Relativism and the Corruption of Popular Culture is a book by Robert H. Knight published in 1998, with a foreword by Gary Bauer. It criticises modern cultural relatavism, arguing that Relativism is the cultivation… …   Wikipedia

  • British manifestations to lower the age of consent — Since the 1970s, a number of demonstrations have taken place in the UK in favour of lowering the age of consent, either on the grounds of claims for children’s rights, gay liberationism or, more recently, “as a means to avoid unwanted pregnancies …   Wikipedia

  • Age of consent (disambiguation) — Age of consent may refer to the legal concepts of: *Age of consent for sexual activity *Age of consent reform *Marriageable ageIt may also refer to: * Age of Consent (film), a 1969 UK film directed by Michael Powell * Age of Consent (1932 film) * …   Wikipedia

  • age of consent —    The age of consent has been discussed from Plato, through Locke and into contemporary public policy. It covers a variety of different situations, from smoking, taking alcohol and watching X rated movies to legal permission to engage in various …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • Age of consent — Consent Con*sent , n. [Cf. OF. consent.] 1. Agreement in opinion or sentiment; the being of one mind; accord. [1913 Webster] All with one consent began to make excuse. Luke xiv. 18. [1913 Webster] They fell together all, as by consent. Shak.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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