OBE for 'little bit' anti-establishment Marc Almond

Marc Almond has insisted he is still a "little bit" anti-establishment, despite accepting an OBE for services to arts and culture.

The singer, who rose to fame in the 1980s as one half of electric duo Soft Cell, said he felt as though he has been living an "alternative reality" since finding out he was included in the New Year Honours list.

The 60-year-old, who had a string of hits including classic Tainted Love, Say Hello, Wave Goodbye, and Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart, spent a month in a coma after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 2004.

Singer Marc Almond receives an OBE in the New Year Honours (Yui Mok/ PA)
Singer Marc Almond receives an OBE in the New Year Honours (Yui Mok/ PA)

The accident triggered the return of his childhood stammer and he was forced to learn to sing again before returning to the world of music.

He later became a patron of brain trauma charity Headway.

Almond, a self-described "maverick" who has "not always fitted in to the music business", told the Press Association that his anti-establishment streak was outweighed by the honour of being recognised.

"In the early 80s, I probably was still a kind of anti-establishment punk then," he said.

"I'd grown up through all that time, and I still like to think a little bit inside of me is anti-establishment.

"But I think with something like this, it's such a wonderful thing to be recognised - that I have made a bit of a difference - and also it sheds light.

"It's something for all my fans that have been through the journey with me as well."

He admitted he was "totally excited" about receiving his OBE, adding: "I can't really be a rebel any more. I think it's time to leave it to younger people."

Almond, who has campaigned fiercely for tolerance and equality, said his honour topped off a year in which he also celebrated his sixtieth birthday and 40 years in the entertainment industry.

He said: "I keep describing it as like being in an alternative reality, like Doctor Who or something. I've kind of gone into some alternative universe.

"But it's fantastic, I'm absolutely, totally thrilled about it."