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Gay men's choir lands record deal

A gay men's choir which performs hits by the likes of Neil Young and Radiohead has landed a lucrative recording deal with the label behind Lady Gaga.

The 30-strong Brighton & Hove Gay Men's Chorus will release its debut album on October 3 after signing a deal, said to be worth around £1 million.

The choir is working on its repertoire of alternative rock songs in an effort to get away from cliched gay anthems.

Among the choir's repertoire are songs by David Bowie, Ian McCulloch of Echo And The Bunnymen and The Enemy.

The deal with Universal Music - also home to U2 - is thought to be the first major label contract for a gay men's choir.

The group - which features a barman, a baker, a teacher and a travel agent - was formed six years ago by members John Hamilton and Jason Pimblett.

"When we started the chorus, part of what we wanted to do was to help to break down some barriers and misconceptions of what gay people are," said Hamilton. "Rather than being a gay chorus, we're a chorus of men that happen to be gay."

Pimblett, the group's musical director, said: "We wanted to concentrate more on the music and not necessarily be pigeonholed into 'oh you can do that but you can't do that'.

"There was room in Brighton for an organisation of gay men who wanted to sing but didn't necessarily want to do the repertoire which you would normally associate with a gay men's chorus."

Their gigs so far have included a Second World War show with Dame Vera Lynn singing one of her signature tunes, We'll Meet Again, a show at the Foreign Office and functions for civil dignitaries in Brighton. They will also perform at Pride Brighton And Hove on Saturday.

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