Starring It’s A Sin’s Nathaniel Hall, the video uses archival footage from Pride in London 1996
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGES BY PAUL SHARP AND ANDREW PERRY
Want to show your support for World AIDS Day 2021? Look no further! Music icons Erasure and Bronski Beat’s Jimmy Somerville have collaborated on 27000@25: When We Were Boys, a reworked project raising awareness of HIV. Made possible by cross-industry collaboration between Mute Records, Sony Music/ATV, Universal Music and the BBC, the video is available for streaming from 1 December.
Opened and closed by It’s A Sin’s Nathaniel Hall, the video rewinds to Pride in London 1996. Held on Clapham Common, Bronski Beat’s Jimmy Somerville, Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Holly Johnson and Sheila Smith originally performed When We Were Boys to over 160,000 people in what would formulate one of the last huge park Prides. After this historic performance, 27,000 red balloons were unleashed into the sky by CRUSAID in aid of each person living with HIV in the UK.
Following the journey of a young gay man diagnosed with HIV in the 1990s, the video speaks to Nathaniel’s own story, diagnosed with HIV at the age of sixteen. Reworked from original footage with the help of the BBC, these archives remained untouched for twenty-five years, marking a unique collaboration between UK music industry icons. The video voices this important period in LGBTQI history, often the subject of stigmatisation, and aims to educate a new generation on the importance of HIV awareness.
With new footage shot across seven days at many of London’s iconic LGBTQI locations, including Hampstead Heath, The Globe Centre and the iconic Heaven nightclub, the film was shot on a small budget. Director Rob Falconer states: “25 years ago it was tougher for LGBTQI+ people – from across the spectrum of cultural, ethnic and gender diversity – to be as powerfully visible as we are now, especially if HIV+ – and that’s as much a part of the conversation this video has with us from our past, as on continuing HIV stigma today. It shines light back on the HIV/AIDS pandemic of the 80s and 90s, on ignorance, stigma and brutal discrimination, and their often overlooked impact on very young people”.
Erasure’s Andy Bell furthers: “This is absolutely magnificent. Apart from being very close to my heart it is also of historical importance and significance from a worldwide human rights perspective”.
Available in seven languages and with closed captions, stream 27000@25: When We Were Boys from 1 December.
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