Marc Almond "wonders how many active years" he has left.

Marc Almond realised how short life is amid the pandemic and bandmate Dave Ball's health troubles

Marc Almond realised how short life is amid the pandemic and bandmate Dave Ball's health troubles

The 'Purple Haze' hitmakers have just returned with their first album in two decades, 'Happiness Not Included' - the follow-up to 2002's 'Cruelty Without Beauty' - and the Soft Cell star says the pandemic and his bandmate Dave Ball, 63, suffering health problems, including a fractured spine, made him realise just "how short life is".

In an interview with The Sun newspaper, he said of Dave's health troubles: “He’s fractured his spine and is recovering.

“He’s been in hospital and had some health problems. Things like this and the pandemic have made us realise how short life is.

“As an artist, when you get older, you look back and re-evaluate life more. Without sounding gloomy, I wonder how many active years I have left in my life, as I’m 65 this year.”

The 64-year-old singer - who himself suffered a brain injury in 2004 - continues to experience long COVID symptoms, including "terrible fatigue", having had the virus three times.

He said: “I get days where I can’t breathe so well and I feel this terrible fatigue that just hits you.

“I’ve had COVID three times now."

The 'Tainted Love' hitmaker admits it takes a lot for him to want to make new Soft Cell music, but without having the new album to write amid the lockdown, he would have "gone mad".

He said: “The one thing I was grateful to lockdown for was being able to make this record. I started writing it because everyone was locked in.

“I would have gone mad if it wasn’t for this album because I like working all the time.”

Marc - who has had a successful solo career - didn't know if he had it in him to pen more tunes for the synth-pop duo, but he couldn't turn down the amazing music Dave sent him.

Noting the differences between his own music and Soft Cell, Marc added: “Soft Cell were great and were influential and opened doors for the kids that were alone in their bedroom with their own thoughts and feelings.

“But I never thought of us as a big band. I have to be in a certain headspace to write Soft Cell songs.

“When I write for myself, it’s more introspective and personal emotions. But when I write for Soft Cell, I’m more the cynic looking at the world with sardonic humour, looking at things that are happening in a very different way.

“And I didn’t know if I could do it, to be honest, so I thought I’d see what Dave sent me.

“Then he sent me some really great music, so I said, ‘Yeah, all right’.”