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Still, Clarke acknowledges his deep appreciation that the gay community has rallied around Bell and has long supported Erasure, even in the commercial down times.
"We never set out to be anything or appeal to a specific audience, but given the stage show and the fact that Andy's always been very upfront and honest about his sexuality, it makes sense," Clarke says, adding with a laugh that he's unfazed by the common assumption he's also gay. "Andy was really the first gay person I ever met or talked to, so it was a whole education for me, him sitting down and explaining exactly how things work. Nothing of it particularly surprised me. I was just really interested in all of it. And it's truly flattering when people come up to us and say stuff like, 'I was a teenager and I was in the closet and I heard this song and it helped me to come out of the closet.' I love that."
As for their brilliantly over-the-top performances, Clarke insists the duo has no intentions of scaling things back anytime soon.
"I guess when Andy's 60 he might tone down his act a little bit, but not before then. But maybe when I'm 60 I'll finally start leaping around."