❚ FOUR YEARS ON, CHARLIE McDONNELL, aged 20 of Bath and London, tells his one millionth subscriber today: “Pretty much all of the closest friends that I have are people that I’ve met on YouTube. All the opportunities I’ve had to do cool things in my life have come from being on this website.” In addition to being the most subscribed YouTuber in the UK (population 62m), his channel has had 34m views, and his “total upload views” (whateva that means) exceed 150m. And guess what? Charlie has now decided to become a popstar too though on the basis of his solo album This Is Me (hear it free at his website) that ain’t gonna happen until his musical best friend Nerimon tells him about Auto-Tune.
“ YOU DID CREATE THE STAGE ON WHICH WE ALL APPEARED ”Header picture of four Blitz Kids is led far left by the Blitz Club greeter Steve Strange, who died suddenly in February. Scroll down for links to our coverage.
From the left come Darla Jane Gilroy, Judi Frankland and Elise Brazier as they appear in David Bowie’s 1980 music video for Ashes to Ashes © 1983 Jones Music under exclusive licence to EMI Records Ltd
MORE INTERESTING THAN MOST PEOPLE’S FANTASIES — THE SWINGING EIGHTIES 1978-1984They didn’t call themselves New Romantics, or the Blitz Kids – but other people did.
“I’d find people at the Blitz who were possible only in my imagination. But they were real” — Stephen Jones, hatmaker, 1983. (Illustration courtesy Iain R Webb, 1983)
“The truth about those Blitz club people was more interesting than most people’s fantasies” — Steve Dagger, pop group manager, 1983
An “invaluable website” — historian Dominic Sandbrook, 2012
➢ THE BLOG POSTS on this front page report topical updates
➢ ROLL OVER THE MENU AT TOP to go deeper into the past
➢ FOR NEWS & MONTH BY MONTH SEARCH, see the sidebar below
➢ WELCOME to the Swinging 80s
SEARCH our 600 posts or ZOOM DOWN TO THE ARCHIVE INDEX
NEWS — OLD FACES, NEW MIXES FOR THE 20-TEENS✱ Dazed’s summer issue puts New Zealand’s pop prodigy Lorde head to head with the Girls creator Lena Dunham for a second Girls Rule The World issue, also featuring Jessica Lange, Andreja Pejić, Dej Loaf, Hari Nef and Tink ✱ Dazed June Playlist – from Shura’s electric new single to a rework of Tinashe with DeJ Loaf, Lil Mama’s viral, safe-sex hit and an icy track from Arca .............................................................................. ✱ i-D’s May mixtape has new music from Lianne La Havas, French Montana, Disclosure, Slaves, Dornik, Vince Staples, Arca and Yung Lean ✱ Launched as the showcase for the New Romantics movement, i-D magazine celebrates its 35th anniversary issue No 337 with British photographer Alasdair McLellan snapping the hottest faces in fashion, music, art and film. In addition to 18 supermodel cover stars, we meet the rising stars of NY, London and LA, from actor Ezra Miller to songstress Grimes. Pictured: Jourdan Dunn wearing top and trousers Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci .............................................................................. ✱ New summer dates announced: Spandau Ballet’s SBWW live tour continues through Europe and the UK .............................................................................. ✱ After cancelling their US tour because of Boy George’s lack of voice, Culture Club committed professional suicide in a fly-on-the-wall TV documentary. Now they have rescheduled the US tour to start on 17 July and meanwhile have turned to crowd-funding to bring their album Tribes to market. Pre-ordering has been extended for the fourth time, now until the end of June, through PledgeMusic, a direct-to-fan music platform, with the price upped from £12.46 to £15.46 and as yet, still no release date confirmed! As George told the Gender Benders TV show: “I haven’t had a record deal since 1995.” .............................................................................. ✱ Jarvis and The Pulp film is now showing in New Zealand and Mexican cinemas, and from April in France .............................................................................. ✱ Toyah live acoustic dates and festivals continue through the summer .............................................................................. ✱ Powering on through the UK and Europe this summer Peter Hook & The Light perform New Order and Joy Division live .............................................................................. ✱ Thur–Sat: FCK, #FRI251, Factory Saturdays at Factory251 – clubnights, cocktail masterclasses and live bands – EDM, house, garage, hiphop, nu disco, funk, soul and indie over three floors designed by Ben Kelly at Princess St, Manchester M1 7EN .............................................................................. ✱ Remake Remodel claims to be “The Nation’s Saving Grace of Alternative, Rock’n’Roll” — Ruby Lounge M4 1QB every first Saturday monthly during summer
RIP – STEVE STRANGE
◆ On Mi-soul radio on 13 Feb 2015 deejay Rusty Egan paid musical tribute to Steve Strange, his sidekick in founding the legendary Blitz Club, who died the day before: “Music says everything I could ever want to say” ... Catch up at Mixcloud
◆ During Feb 2015, Shapers of the 80s received more than 37,300 visits, its highest monthly total since launching five years ago. These came in response to our coverage of the death of Steve Strange. In the two weeks after we published tributes from Steve's friends among the former Blitz Kids, 25,000 views were counted. These have been record responses to any topic covered here
♫ YESTERDAY’S DEEJAYS STILL GOING STRONG ♫✱ Catch Blitz Club founder Rusty Egan’s deejay sets on the current Spandau tour at Mixcloud (below) and his radio show Electronic Family Tree live on mi-soul.com every Saturday 01:00–03:00 BST ✱ Follow former Wag club director Chris Sullivan’s Suits on Soho Radio every Wednesday 16:00–18:00 BST
FIONA ON ‘REAL’ THEATRE…
Picture by © Alan Davidson
❏ The Blitz Kids outflanked most of the 80s copyists who followed their Bowie-inspired passion for changing their look as often as possible. You’d find the follow-on generation of posers at Studio 21 on Oxford Street or the Batcave, or in a back barrel at Birmingham’s Rum Runner. After the Blitz caravanserai had moved on into the world of work, fashion designer Fiona Dealey said: “You look at these little Bat people with make-up dribbling down their necks and you feel like saying, ‘Sorry darling, not enough loose powder’. The difference was that our make-up was stage slap, Leichner not Factor. The clothes came from a costumier, Charles Fox not Flip. Dressing for the Blitz was real theatre. It wasn’t just another uniform. You felt glamorous.”
30 YEARS SINCE HOCKNEY REVEALED HIS NEW VISION
◆ In 2014 David Hockney abandoned his native Yorkshire countryside to return to Los Angeles where he first made a home aged 27. His love affair with the iPad has given way to charcoal, canvas and paint though he is still in thrall to video and its potential to subvert single-point perspective, as his eye-popping multi-screen movies showed in his Royal Academy show of 2012. He proposed the “cubification” of cinema 30 years ago to Shapersofthe80s in a landmark interview in 1983 when he revealed “Suddenly I see cubism differently, more clearly”. Read it inside, along with his recent adventures. [iPad self-portrait, detail © David Hockney]
Shapers of the 80s “invaluable”
◆ Shapersofthe80s is declared an “invaluable website” by historian Dominic Sandbrook, author of the rich new cultural analysis, Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974–1979. We report how Sandbrook gives generous credit to key influencers on youth culture. His unstuffy combination of high and low life energised the BBC2 series The Seventies aired in 2012
◆ Elsewhere at Shapers of the 80s, telly don Simon Schama succinctly expresses why we should document the “irreverent freedom” that is a special aspect of life in Britain
Sade in a nutshell ♫ ♫✱ After 2010’s Grammy Award winning Soldier Of Love LP, Sade went on to release The Ultimate Collection. The 29 tracks on two CDs included three new numbers, plus a version of Moon & The Sky featuring Jay-Z . . . In 2011 the band won a Grammy award for Best R&B Performance By A Group for the track Soldier Of Love ✱ 2010 — Shapersofthe80s finds comeback Shard comfy as ‘Auntie Sade’ ✱ 1981 — Pix of Sade’s Demob designs during the first Blitz invasion of the US ✱ 1982 — Pix of Sade helping backstage during Steve Strange’s fashion show in Paris
GEORGE O’DOWD SINCE 1979➢ 1980, Three key men in Boy George’s life ➢ 2010, Ex-Blitz Kids give their verdicts on the TV drama Worried About the Boy (pictured) ➢ 1979 — Unbelievable! The voice of sweet reason in George’s TV debut ➢ 2010, Ex-jailbird George takes his first trancey steps on the path to sainthood ➢ June 14, 2011, Boy George celebrates the big Five-0 and tells the world, yes, finally he has “lots of regrets” ...
➢ . . . then Shapersofthe80s reports from the fruit-cakiest party of summer 2011 ➢ 2011, Boy George released Ordinary Alien, The Kinky Roland Files, a CD import on the independent Decode label — his first solo album in more than a decade ➢ 2012, Boy George reunites with Culture Club for New Year’s Day — and a new album
SPANDAU 30 YEARS ON
◆ Tony Hadley at Facebook: “My wife and I are pleased to announce the safe arrival of our beautiful baby daughter born on February 6, 2012” ... But for Spandau, Tony dropped another bombshell on ITV’s Loose Women on May 16
◆ Shapersofthe80s tells the story of Spandau Ballet’s comeback tour after two decades apart — Videos, interviews, free downloads, links and background articles from the 2009-10 Reformation tour ... That’s all folks, possibly for ever
◆ Story behind the making of Spandau’s Olympic Gold, remixed by deejay Paul Oakenfold and turned into a slick vid
DURAN DURAN THEN & NOW✱ 30 years ago the 80s supergroup’s debut single Planet Earth peaked at No 12 in the UK chart . . . Shapersofthe80s tells how Duran’s road to stardom began in the Studio 54 of Birmingham, UK, in 1980 ✱ Catch up on 2011: Highlights of Duran’s round-the-world adventure ... and DD’s delayed return to the UK ... Plus ten killer videos other people made as tributes to Duran’s return to creativity
ESSENTIAL LANDMARK READS➢ Spandau Ballet, the Blitz Kids and the birth of the New Romantics — a brisk history by yours truly of who did what to make stars out of a club houseband, change the rhythm of the UK charts — and ultimately transform the British media ➢ How three wizards met at the same crossroad in time — a brief scene-setter on the forces shaping the Swinging Eighties ➢ 1980, Strange days, strange nights, strange people: at The Blitz a decade dawns ➢ 1980, One week in the private worlds of the new young: London blazes with creativity ➢ 1980, Shapersofthe80s tells how Duran Duran’s road to stardom began in the Studio 54 of Birmingham, UK ➢ 1981, Birth of Duran’s Planet Earth ... when other people’s faith put the Brummies into the charts ➢ 1983, The Making of UK Club Culture — definitive Face cover story by yours truly seen here in the Wham Rap! video ➢ 1976–1984, How creative clubbing started and ended with the 80s ➢ 2010, Comeback Shard comfy as ‘Auntie Sade’ ➢ 2009, Onstage, Spandau’s Hadley and Kemp finally get huggy: a mighty Reformation ➢ 40 years since “I picked on you-oo-oo”! July 6, 1972 saw the seminal pop moment — David Bowie’s first appearance on Top of the Pops as Ziggy Stardust, the day he created the next generation of popstar wannabes ➢ 35 years as master of hot cuts – How legendary funk deejay Robbie Vincent influenced the shape of British musical taste
ESSENTIAL 80s LISTENING ♫ ♫♫ Blitz Club anthem, Visage’s Fade To Grey (Michael Gray remix, 1980/2009)
♫ Bowie’s verdict on the Blitz in 1980, Fashion
♫ The Human League’s too-too early Being Boiled, from 1978 ♫ Spandau’s To Cut a Long Story Short, 1980, recast acoustically for 2010 ♫ Ultravox’s first Top Ten hit Vienna, 1981 ♫ Depeche Mode’s New Life – Essex’s first and finest, 1981 ♫ Blue Rondo’s Klactoveesedstein live on the Oxford Road Show in 1982 ♫ Animal Nightlife’s Native Boy from 1983 ♫ Rusty Egan’s channel at YouTube ♫ Make your own music
JUST DON’T CALL US NEW ROMANTICS . . .✧ ... except of course everybody claims they were the first ✧ Blitz Club co-host and deejay Rusty Egan still causing waves ✧ Follow the adventures of an international deejay at The fabulous World of Princess Julia ✧ Judith “frankly” Frankland at The Swelle Life ✧ Boy George dates and official news ✧ The World of Animal Nightlife ✧ Gary Kemp blogs on his own website ✧ Danilo Monzillo’s exhaustive Blitz Kids compendium ✧ The official line on Duran Duran ✧ New Romantics on video ✧ Landmark pop videos from the 80s and all crucial points before — on the Shapersofthe80s channel at YouTube
Archive — Many publication dates are arbitrary, so click and take pot luck!
CLICK TO SEE WHO’S ONLINE❖ Welcome to our latest visitors from 207 countries and dependencies, recorded at Revolver Maps — not forgetting our visitor in the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina (54°48′S, 68°18′W), only a smidgeon further south than our readers in Río Grande and Punta Arenas... Our northernmost visitor lives at Kjøllefjord in Norway (70°56′N, 27°20′E), a nudge nearer the Pole than others in Finnmark, and at Murmansk in Russia (68°58′N, 33°05′E). A special Hello to our two visitors in Greenland!