Obituary - Pete Burns

Obituary – Pete Burns

On 23rd October 2016, controversial Dead Or Alive founder and frontman Pete Burns passed away suddenly as a result of a cardiac arrest. Sadly, he was a mere 57 years old. Having experienced moderate chart success in 1984 with a cover version of ‘That’s The Way (I Like It)’, Dead Or Alive hit the jackpot the following year with the high-octane disco stomp ‘You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)’ which became the first UK number one for Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Whilst this commercial success was never matched, Burns was rarely out of the public eye thanks in part to his acerbic Scouse wit, his eccentric persona and a media-boggling attitude towards androgyny and gender culminating in his infamous appearance on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006.

However, for all the generous column inches dedicated to him in recent days, my personal recollection of Pete Burns takes me back to the mid 1980’s and a dank, Saturday afternoon just before Christmas. Along with my then girlfriend, the teenage me had decided to visit the Big Smoke to see what the fuss was all about and as we wandered awe-struck around Harrods, we suddenly spotted Pete Burns and two of his band mates approaching the pet department. Not being used to rubbing shoulders with such celebrity, Burns was probably at the height of his fame, we opted to follow the trio around. So it came to pass that the Security in Harrods watched through their CCTV as two young goths slowly and pathetically stalked one of the nations leading pop stars as he petted gerbils, guinea pigs and eyed up bird tables.

By 5pm I found myself stood next to him in the TV department as the two of us anxiously waited for the football scores to appear on the videprinter. Yes, you read that correctly. Pete Burns, me and the BBC videprinter. Upon seeing that Everton had lost he loudly exclaimed “Ahhh shit,” shot me an angry glance and stormed off to find the rest of the band who by now were probably checking out the bedding section.

In an era of great decadence and flamboyance, Pete Burns still managed to stand out a mile. He was unique, he was a star…and that’s the way we liked him (a-ha, a-ha).

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.