It was at a school dance back in 1986. I was about 14 or 15-years-old. A couple of weeks before the dance all the girls in class, and the gay boys (I was then very much in the closet) were talking about this song "Oh L'amour" sung by a 'new' band (or rather the first time we heard of them) Erasure. I saw the video one night on TV and this guy in this skimpy outfit with skin like Marilyn Monroe was belting these musical magic. That night at the school dance when "Oh L'amour" played I tried to give my best Andy Bell "Oh L'amour" impression. I failed miserably. Despite me looking like a fool on the dance floor, I loved the track and immediately started to follow the band. Every release. Every 7"and 12". I had to have it. I started reading every story on the band - that was way before the Internet in South Africa and I had to rely on UK music magazines which I bought at the local book shop. I found out that Andy's musical partner is Vince Clarke. Now, the thing with Vince is that I'm a huge Depeche Mode fan, of which Vice was a founding member of, and also a huge fan of Yazoo.
So for me it was like music made in heaven - the incredible Mr Vince Clarke on keyboards and the amazing man with the angelic voice Mr Andy Bell. As South Africa back then in the 80s had the cultural ban against it due to the (loathing) apartheid regime's laws, no band wanted to tour South Africa. I was dreaming that one day, I will see them live. My dream came true in 1997, after the lifting of the cultural ban, when Andy and Vince graced our shores with the Tiny Tour (about the time Cowbow was released). It was a magical evening. I took my youngest sister with me to the show because, like myself, she was also an Erasure fan. So for me to hear that Erasure is releasing FROM MOSCOW TO MARS - AN ERASURE ANTHOLOGY, a 30 year compilation, is the best news ever. According to the Erasure (EIS) Newsletter, the 'From Moscow To Mars' boxset will feature thirteen discs and all manner of extras. One of those discs is a DVD which includes the first DVD release of Erasure's 1989 'Wild!' concert, recorded at The London Arena, previously only available on VHS, and which has been unavailable for a very long time. The concert film is supplemented by previously unreleased behind the scenes footage from the band's own archive, shot backstage at various points during the 'Wild!' tour.
The remaining twelve discs are all audio and broadly speaking they break down as follows: three CDs feature every one of the band's entire singles output (that's 50 singles!); there's a disc of Andy's favourites from across the Erasure catalogue, and a corresponding disc of Vince's choices; you already know there are two discs of your favourite B-sides because the tracks included are the ones that YOU voted there a few months ago in response to this very newsletter; then we have two discs of remixes which is a blend of classic, rare and previously unreleased remixes including brand new remixes especially commissioned for this box set from Martyn Ware, Little Boots, Matt Pop and our very own Vince Clarke; there's one disc which brings together some of the band's favourite live moments from the last thirty years; one disc of rare and previously unreleased tracks which includes demo versions, remixes and alternative versions; and finally one disc which, most appropriately, contains the special Erasure radio documentary 'A Little Respect: 30 Years of Erasure' which was commissioned at the start of the Erasure30 celebrations.
I just hope this will be released in South Africa as well, as I know local Erasure fans will grab this. And let's hope I get to see the band one more time on local ground, South Africa.