Dave is half of the duo with Marc Almond known for the iconic 1981 hit Tainted Love. Between them they achieved six top ten singles, three top ten albums and inspired synth acts from The Pet Shop Boys to Years & Years. Their latest album is Happiness Not Included – ironic really given what happened to Dave last year.
“I had a bit of an accident,” he says, putting it mildly. “I had a fall and I fractured my spine and I was in the hospital for about seven months. It was a pretty weird year for me. We had the album out and that was in the charts and the last thing I did was that cameo appearance we had with the Pet Shop Boys.
"The single was doing well and we had records in the charts for the first time in God knows how many years and then I just slipped on some stairs in my flat. I landed badly on my back. I thought I was OK and I tried to move but it was really bad. I had fractured about six ribs and I had fractured my spine. I was in pretty bad way. They whisked me straight into intensive care for about two months and I was in hospital for about seven months. They had to put me into a coma.
“I've had to move flats. I've got a flat which overlooks the Houses of Parliament now. I have got my little studio. I've got my projects. I have got my synth and I have got my keyboard and it's great not being in a basement. I prefer to know what time of day it is. I am on the 24th floor and I can see the Houses of Parliament and this fantastic view.
"But I had to rent a flat with no stairs. It's got an elevator. I've been having a bit of a problem in my legs. You get lots of setbacks. I've been trying to get myself rehabilitated but it really has been an ongoing struggle. It's been a battle. I'm not yet independently mobile. My friend brought an electric wheelchair around for me, but I haven’t used it yet.”
Dave kept his Soft Cell status quiet in hospital: “Most of the nurses wouldn't have known who Soft Cell were, but I didn’t want to be the celebrity patient so I just kept shtum! I'm hoping that I’ll be OK for the Sussex gig. I might be in a wheelchair but that won't really matter. I'm behind the keyboards anyway. But for the moment I'm working on my standing and my walking. The good thing is that it has not affected my mental ability or my keyboard playing!”
As for Soft Cell, whose hits included Tainted Love (number one), Torch (number two), Say Hello, Wave Goodbye and What (both number three) plus a number of top 20 albums between 1981 and 1984, it's difficult to say whether it all seems a long time ago: “It seems like a different phase but being in hospital you get to think about life a lot more.
"It seems like yesterday but that yesterday could be 50 years ago or it could actually be yesterday. When you’ve got a lot of time on your hands especially in hospital, you do think about these things so yes in some ways it feels like it was 43 years ago in other ways it's like it's just happened.”