Act: Love + Hate – A Compact Introduction To Act UK 2xCD 
Act One – Laughter, Tears & Rage (The Director’s Cut)
- The Third Planet
- Body Electric
- (Theme From) Snobbery & Decay
- Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
- (We Give You Another) Chance
- I Can’t Escape From You
- I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You
- (Theme From) Laughter
- Absolutely Immune
- Under The Nights Of Germany
- A Friendly Warning
- Where Love Lies Bleeding
- Snobbery & Decay
Act Two – Emotional 12″ Versions
- I Can’t Escape From You (Love & Hate)
- Chance (Full Whammy!)
- Winner ’88 (7″)
- Laughter (7″)
- (Theme From) I Can’t Escape From You
- States Of Logic
- Absolutely Immune I
- White Rabbit
- Absolutely Immune II
- (The Naked Civil) Snobbery & Decay
- Dear Life
- Snobbery & Decay (That’s Entertainment!)
- Certified (Instrumental)
ZTT is doing it again.
I was an early adopter of the delightful duo Act, which saw ex-Propaganda chanteuse and personal icon Claudia Brücken teamed with technopop pioneer Thomas Leer for the final flowering of the ZTT label as we knew it. I bought the CDs and CD singles when released, and by the early 90s had obtained all of the singles in their 7″ and 12″ variants… with one exception we’ll get to later. It was a magnificent but doomed project as the record buying public were immediately besotted with the sort of cheapjack house music records that as of 1987, were flooding the UK music marketplace. Like that [snaps fingers], the sort of sophisticated brand of post-modern, melodious synthpop given no-holds-barred ZTT production that Act proffered was tossed out [unceremoniously] on its collective rear onto the trash heap of history. Records with “jack” on the sleeve somewhere proliferated. And I silently wept for the loss of something tangible and real. Even in its theatricality.
By the early 20th century, copies of the CD of “Laughter, Tears + Rage” were changing hands for eyebrow raising amounts of cash. The right people noticed this, and then in 2004, ZTT gifted us with the sort of DLX RM that puts most others fully in the shade. Called “The Anthology” the OOP album got a triple disc release of the sort that would be called a “super deluxe edition” nowadays. Packed with 51 tracks, many previously unreleased, it was a feast for the fans who’d been kindling the dying embers of the last “imperial period” ZTT album before it all went pear-shaped for the label. It contained every single variant possible, then invented some new ones for our pleasure, but the one Act single not in my Record Cell even after 17 years was still not quite here.
The elusive “Chance” single, that was deleted on the day of release due to an uncleared ABBA® sample [only one guess for you…] had both of its B-sides in the “Anthology” set but not its A-side. A previously unreleased “throbbin’ mix” by Trevor Horn appeared instead as a ringer for the missing “12/1” version. Okay. I get it. ABBA® will crush you if you sample their music. I still bought a copy, and I was happy about it. Even though the “Winner ’88” 7″ mix B-side was still missing from the set.
<flash forward 11 years>
This time the Salvo/ZTT imprint have revisited the Act brand, now that “The Anthology” is OOP on CD and changes hands for [sound familiar?] three figures. ZTT maven Paul Morley has re-compiled a “director’s cut” of “Laughter, Tears + Rage” as disc one with many intriguing substitutions and re-sequencings. The ZTT fanatic in me will gladly buy this. But on Disc two, a collection of mixes to accompany the now-reconfigured album, are two tracks that push this exercise really into the black for me. Even above my sick, ZTT/Brücken compulsions. Firstly, the “Winner ’88” 7″ mix is finally here, and curator Ian Peel has unearthed another unreleased 12″ mix of “Chance [Full Whammy!]” from the hand of Trevor Horn with which to tempt us. Buy now at popular prices, kids. In 12 years this will be $80 or more. Count on it.
But that still doesn’t put a 7″ or 12″ of “Chance” in my Record Cell, does it? I have on occasion seen evidence of a copy of The Associates “Country Boy” CD single for sale [though long gone by the time I clicked through several hours after the disc popped up in my Discogs feed while I was sleeping]. It cost hundreds of dollars that I didn’t have. I’ve never seen these records.
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