WELCOME ➤ TO THE SWINGING EIGHTIES

In 1980 a youth movement began reshaping Britain.
Its stars didn’t call themselves New Romantics, or the Blitz Kids – but other people did. This writer’s words and pictures tell the tale


❚ As a decade the 70s spelt doom. British youth culture had been discredited by punk. A monumental recession followed the Labour government’s “winter of discontent”, threatening the prospect of no jobs for years ahead.
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As the last of the Baby Boomers, the so-called Blitz Kids were concerned with much more than music. In 1980 they shook off teenage doubt to express all those talents the later Generation X would have to live up to — leadership, adaptability, negotiating skills, focus. Children of the age of mass TV, these can-doers excelled especially in visual awareness. They were the vanguard for a self-confident new class who were ready to enjoy the personal liberty and social mobility heralded by their parents in the 60s.
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For Britain, the Swinging 80s were a tumultuous period of social change when the young wrested many levers of power away from the over-40s. London became a creative powerhouse and its pop and street fashion the toast of world capitals. All because a vast dance underground had been gagging for a very sociable revolution.
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“From now on, this will become the official history” — verdict of  a former Blitz Kid.
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➢ THE MENU AT TOP leads you into this Aladdin’s Cave.
➢ THE BLOG POSTS on this front page report topical updates which also link to the background pages in the menu.
CLICK HERE to run the anthemic 80s video ♫ ♫ from Spandau Ballet and feel the chant.

electro-pop, synth-pop, bowie, ashes to ashes, Chant No 1, kid creole, blue rondo, animal nightlife,visage, duran,depeche mode, midge ure,ultravox, human league, rich kids, makers, gentry, ABC,soft cell, bolan,vince clarke, haysi, lennon, cleave,wham!, mclaren, mallet, heaven 17, yazoo, foxx, omd, bauhaus, oakey,Martyn Ware,altered images, 20th-century box, westwood, px, axiom, bodymap,willy brown, foundry, sue clowes,demob,seditionaries, acme attractions,ritz, zg,viz,i-D,the face,new sounds new styles,Kornilof, andrew logan, kahn & bell, biddie & eve, toyah,dencil, batcave, barbarella's, croc's

July 2, 1981: Shooting the video for Chant No 1 at Le Beat Route club in Soho, “down, down, pass the Talk of the Town”. Photograph © by Shapersofthe80s


❏ iPAD & TABLET USERS PLEASE NOTE — You are viewing only a very small selection of content from this wide-ranging website on the 1980s, not chosen by the author. To access fuller background features and topical updates please view Shapersofthe80s.com on a desktop computer. ➢ Click here to visit a different random item every time you click

1955–2014 ➤ Frankie Knuckles, the Godfather of House Music, is gone

Frankie Knuckles,house music, tributes, deejay, Chicago,

2012: an Evening with Frankie Knuckles at Smart Bar, Chicago (© Tasya Menaker). His final live deejay set was at Ministry of Sound in London on Saturday. He had been scheduled to return to the UK for shows at Gatecrasher in Birmingham and The Arches in Glasgow later this month


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➢ Today’s tribute to Frankie Knuckles at Rolling Stone,
by Michaelangelo Matos:

Nobody can agree on who invented the blues or birthed rock & roll, but there is no question that house music came from Frankie Knuckles, who died Monday afternoon of as-yet-undisclosed causes at age 59. One of the 80s and 90s’ most prolific house music producers and remixers, Knuckles is, hands down, one of the dozen most important deejays of all time.

 Chicago, Warehouse,clubbing

The Chicago block where the Warehouse stood

At his Chicago clubs the Warehouse (1977-82) and Power Plant (1983-85), Knuckles’ marathon sets, typically featuring his own extended edits of a wide selection of tracks from disco to post-punk, R&B to synth-heavy Eurodisco, laid the groundwork for electronic dance music culture — all of it.

Knuckles made an abundant number of dance classics, including early Jamie Principle collaborations Your Love (1986) and Baby Wants to Ride (1987); Tears (1989), with Satoshi Tomiiee and Robert Owens; The Whistle Song (1991); and his remixes of Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody (1989), Sounds of Blackness’s The Pressure (1992), and Hercules and Love Affair’s Blind (2008) … / Continued at Rolling Stone

August 25, 2004:  declared Frankie Knuckles Day in Chicago by the then-senator Barack Obama

August 25, 2004: declared Frankie Knuckles Day in Chicago by the then-senator Barack Obama

➢ Knuckles, the man I knew, by Clive Morgan in the Daily Telegraph

➢ Priest of the dancefloor, by Alexis Petridis in The Guardian

tom johnston, frankie knuckles, cartoon

VIDEO INTERVIEW IN LONDON 2012

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2014 ➤ At last, Kemp reveals Spandau to tour UK and US in the fall – and tomorrow The World!

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, tour news, UK, US, pop music, Twitter

Gary Kemp scoops Spandau Ballet’s own website on March 15

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Vulcan Gas Company, pop music, Tony Hadley, reunion, concert

Spandau Ballet reunion at SXSW: the band together onstage playing 11 of their classic numbers at the Vulcan Gas Company

❚ HERE ARE THE TWEETS Spandau Ballet fans have all been waiting for, when Gary Kemp scooped even the band’s official website following their reunion performances and film premiere at SXSW in Texas. Yes, a tour is in the offing and it will conquer the world.

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, tour news, UK, US, pop music, Twitter, Irvine Welsh

Gary’s news of a UK tour also emerged on March 15 during interrogation at Twitter by Irvine Welsh, the Scottish author of the 1993 novel, Trainspotting

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, tour news, UK, US, pop music, Twitter,

Two days later, March 17: Tweeter Martin Wood, an English fan from Yorkshire, engages Gary in some banter…

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, tour news, UK, US, pop music, Twitter

… whereupon Gary Kemp announces a second scoop at Twitter. Well done, Martin!

Spandau Ballet , video,Satellite of Love , SXSW

Spandau Ballet on Friday performing Satellite of Love at the Lou Reed Tribute at SXSW … Videograb courtesy Chickrock: click the pic to view her video in new window

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: First review of Soul Boys of the Western World

➢ View March 12 interview for ComingSoon.net with Spandau Ballet plus their film director George Hencken

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2014 ➤ Curtain up on Spandau’s rollercoaster saga of war and peace

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Vulcan Gas Company, pop music, Tony Hadley, concert

Hello America! In Austin, Texas, 28 years after their last vsit, Spandau Ballet return to play live

➢ UPDATE – First official review of SBWW from Mel Brown at Facebook:
I’m a very lucky girl. Got to see the worldwide premiere of Soul Boys of the Western World. Truly amazing. An emotional roller coaster. This film is not just for Spandau fans, it’s for anyone who loves a good story of friends growing up together. Can’t wait for its UK release. Thanks guys! Looking forward to the first US show in 28 years tonight.

❚ AUSTIN, TEXAS, IS SIX HOURS BEHIND THE UK so any minute NOW the curtain is going up on the world premiere of Soul Boys of the Western World. The documentary movie made entirely from vintage footage follows the rise and fall of the five london schoolpals who became one the the world’s half dozen pop supergroups of the 80s. And in two hours’ time we’ll know how much of a tearjerker it turns out to be. Take it away, Tone!

Spandau Ballet, reunion, TV, interview, Soul Boys of the Western World,movie,pop music, SXSW

Spandau Ballet all together on the Austin TV breakfast show: first public reunion since the Reformation tour ended in summer 2010

➢ Tony Hadley on Facebook early today:
A tiring but extremely successful day 2 at SXSW. We spent pretty much the entire day from 7.30am to 6pm doing promotion for the movie. The feedback from all the journalists that interviewed us was fantastic and there will be some reviews online later. In the afternoon we had a couple of hours to head out and check our back-line equipment for today’s show at a rehearsal facility here. In the room next door there was Kanye West and Jay-z rehearsing. 
Last night I had a chance to go and see London Grammar, Imagine Dragons and Coldplay playing at the iTunes Festival here. They all put on a great show.

“ Today is the main Spandau Ballet event…the premiere of Soul Boys of the Western World at the Paramount Theatre at 1400hrs. Very exciting!
 Tonight we play our first show here in the US for 28 years at the Vulcan Gas Company and we are all really looking forward to it. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it went!!

FIRST SNAPS AFTER THE SCREENING

Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Austin, premiere, movie, pop music, George Hencken

After the screening of Soul Boys of the Western World: Spandau invite a Q&A from the Paramount audience… Far left, the film’s director George Hencken

Today’s Tweet from Gary Kemp ‏@garyjkemp
On stage with band and director @georgehencken for Q&A post screening. Thank you @sxsw, it was emotional.

Spandau Ballet, Vulcan Gas Company, concert, pop music, SXSW,Austin

Soundcheck for tonight’s live gig: Spandau onstage together for the first time in almost four years at the Vulcan Gas Company in Austin. Photo by Spandau’s first record producer, Richard James Burgess

Today’s Tweet from Spandau’s film director Henckenstein ‏@georgehencken
Tonight is going to be about this: #SpandauBallet #VulcanGasCompany

 Richard Burgess , Spandau Ballet, Steve Norman, film, Soul Boys of the Western World, premiere,SXSW

Another reunion! Steve Norman meets up with Spandau’s first record producer Richard Burgess today at SXSW

Today’s tweet from Spandau’s first record producer Richard James Burgess
I haven’t seen them in a small room since 1980

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Vulcan Gas Company, pop music, Tony Hadley, concert

After the soundcheck for tonight’s Spandau show: Tony Hadley relaxing as Steve Norman takes the snap

Today’s tweet from Steve Norman ‏@SteveNormanReal
The big man post sound check, pre gig madness @TheTonyHadley #SXSW

Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, SXSW, premiere, movie, pop music

Marquee of the Paramount in Austin, Texas: Soul Boys of the Western World premieres today

➢ Today’s SXSW 2014 print interview with Spandau Ballet and their film director George Hencken

➢ Click to view the trailer of Soul Boys of the Western World

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Spandau confirms live reunion gig in Texas – for a tiny elite!

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➤ Rock god Lovatt exits TV talent show with charisma intact

Jamie Lovatt, rock music

The performance: Jamie Lovatt gives his all on The Voice, March 8 © BBC

❚ THAT’S THE WAY TALENT CONTESTS CRUMBLE. One minute you’re flavour of the week. The next, you’re out. That’s the way Saturday primetime TV crumbles too. The show is called The Voice. It’s not called The Star. So although glam-rocker Jamie Lovatt radiated tons more charisma than the awkward bloke from the pub, Chris Royal, who was wearing his Auntie Mabel’s pinafore under his jacket, the bloke won this week’s vocalists face-off because apparently, according to coach Ricky Wilson, you “can’t learn the kind of emotion he can portray in a song”. (Even while wearing a pinafore and a twat-Kevin baseball cap back to front. In 2014! Per-lease!)

The pair were billed as Emotion vs Power and powerhouse Jamie was sent packing back to his band Romance, whose bookings have suddenly sky-rocketed thanks to his TV appearances, so that can’t be bad. Pop goddess Kylie did bid him goodbye saying: “Everybody’s going to fall in love with you. You already have it all. Run with it.” Fact is, Jamie has all the attitude to be the next Adam Lambert and a better rock voice than the falsetto bloke from the pub, so long as he chooses better rock songs by real rock writers than the Adele number he nobly had to get his vocal cords round on Saturday night.

Click any pic to launch slideshow

After Ricky the coach had passed verdict on which of his two protégés was staying in the contest, he totally bottled out of making eye contact with Jamie in their kissy-huggy moment of parting, and mumbled one of those reality-show platitudes: “Life is made of big decisions. You made a really big decision. I had to make one too.” He did look choked, to be fair for one second, but he did also look like the man who drowns kittens in a sack, and turned away utterly shame-faced. The best bit was Jamie’s flouncy exit during which the other three judges beamed benignly behind him and couldn’t take their eyes off his defiant strut.

Today, Jamie posted this equally defiant new cover of Paul Weller’s Brand New Start, videoed beneath chintz lampshades while perched on a cushion. Two fingers up to suburbia.

➢ Catch up on Saturday’s battle between Chris and Jamie who perform first on The Voice – on BBC iPlayer until April 12

➢ New UK gig dates at the website of Jamie’s band Romance

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: The Voice’s rock god Lovatt surprises Britain and shocks himself

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➤ Life inside the head of Big Frank and Little Frank will make you weep

Chris Sievey, Frank Sidebottom, Domhnall Gleeson,Michael Fassbender,Maggie Gyllenhaal,Lenny Abrahamson,Frank the film,

Frank the film (2014): Fassbender and Gleeson

❚ O.M.G! ANOTHER WACKO TRAILER for a feature film. This is one everyone born North of Macclesfield will want to see – Frank, a fictional story loosely inspired by the brilliant life of eccentric Mancunian musician Chris Sievey, who built a comedy career as Frank Sidebottom, the man in the giant papier-mâché head. He died in 2010 aged only 54.

A young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), finds himself out of his depth when he joins a band that includes the terrifying Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and is led by the enigmatic Frank, played by the Irish actor Michael Fassbender. (Why?) And what goes on inside the giant head? The trailer alone reveals weirdnesses you never knew before. He never takes it off. When bandmates try to force him to remove his head, Frank says: “I have a certificate.” Sob.

Click any pic to launch slideshow


➢ View a rather more heart-warming clip at the website for Frank the film, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, UK release 9 May 2014

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: RIP Big Frank and Little Frank who had a Fantastic Funeral

SIDEBOTTOM’S FIRST TV APPEARANCE (1985)

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