Section of a facsimile of Stravinsky’s manuscript for The Rite of Spring, which was published this year to mark the centenary
❚ IF IT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR The Guardian’s front page 100 years after the event, readers of Shapersofthe80s will want to know about it. Here’s a fulsome appreciation by the leading British composer George Benjamin on the pivotal piece of music which was premiered 100 years ago today in Paris by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, why it caused a riot by the audience and became a model for masters who followed…
“ The Rite of Spring was a revolutionary work for a revolutionary time. Its first performance in Paris, exactly 100 years ago, was a key moment in cultural history – a tumultuous scandal. Written on the eve of the first world war and the Russian revolution, the piece is the emblem of an era of great scientific, artistic and intellectual ferment. No composer since can avoid the shadow of this great icon of the 20th century, and score after score by modern masters would be unthinkable without its model… ” / Continued at Guardian Online
“ Lydia Sokolova, one of the dancers said the audience came prepared: “They had got themselves all ready. They didn’t even let the music be played for the overture. As soon as it was known that the conductor was there, the uproar began,” she said in an interview recorded in 1965… ” / Continued at BBC Online
Igor Stravinsky on The Rite: “The 8-notes chord is new, but the accents are even more new … Give it 100 years”
❏ Robert Craft, now aged 89, the composer’s American confidant, wrote this immaculate summary of Stravinsky for 1000 Makers of Music (Sunday Times 1997): “ In 1913, The Rite of Spring changed the rhythmic language of music: it is an epicentre of 20th-century modernism. Stravinsky’s music range widely, from the exaltation of Symphony of Psalms to the farcical fun of Renard, from the tenderness of Pulcinella, the deeply felt love-music of The Rake’s Progress to the grace of Apollo. The music is lyrical both in dramatic forms (Oedipus Rex) and purely instrumental (the violin-piano Dithyramb), and all of it dances as it sings. The ludic element (Circus Polka) is considerable, but much less so than the religious (Mass) and the humanist (Petrushka). Stravinsky’s influence is alive and immeasurable. He once said: “Music is the best means we have for digesting time.”
Steve Norman snapped by Neil Matthews for Flexipop! The location is Parliament Hill lido in north London in 1981. In the caption fit Steve Norman reports: “I love scuba diving. Funnily enough, I’ve never caught one yet.”
❚ A GREAT MUSICAL PARTNERSHIP lands on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza tomorrow. Fresh from their pop-up jam sessions at the Cannes film fest, two former 80s Blitz Kids – Spandau Ballet’s sax-percussionist Steve Norman plus Visage drummer and club deejay Rusty Egan – continue their working holiday in the sun. Getaway hedonists can catch their storming double act
at the Nassau Beach Club on Playa D’en Bossa, fortnightly on Mondays until September.
It’s a trick they’ve been pulling at smart parties and corporate events ever since Spandau asked Egan to introduce their Reformation reunion tour performances at London’s O2 in 2009. There, as a warm-up before the show, the deejay reminded audiences of the synth soundtrack to the New Romantic era – electronic Blitz Club classics by The Normal, Gina X, Kraftwerk and the like. The chemistry was apt: Egan was co-founder of the original 80s Blitz club-night, while Spandau Ballet emerged from its members in 1979 as the house band who put the rhythms of the new decade into the charts.
After the Reformation tour, Norman and Egan teamed up to develop a deejay-led set enhanced with live saxophone, percussion and any other instruments the versatile Steve laid his hands on.
May 28 update: no sign of first-night nerves as Steve makes friends at Nassau Beach Club. Photograph from Kitita Pastrana (centre)
On the phone from Cannes this week Steve said: “We’re playing soulful deep house, four on the floor. With me vibing on top of Rusty’s music, it gives an audience something to focus on. It’s always nice to see somebody hit hell out of the bongos!”
For Steve this kind of bongo-bashing started in 1988. “My mate Deuce Barter said I should come down to his Passion club in Maidenhead and meet Joe Becket. We went head to head in a battle of the bongos playing live over house music and we hit it off. On the strength of that battle I asked Joe if he would like to join Spandau Ballet on the 1989-90 tour. He was gobsmacked.” Later, Joe Bongo was to become the regular percussionist in Steve’s band Cloudfish after Spandau split.
In 1993 Steve made his home in Ibiza and during 12 years there he introduced his idea of improvising live with the deejay at a club residency in San Antonio. “It was an extension of my antics with Spandau. I’m the one who moved around the stage. I’d climb up on a speaker with my sax, flying by seat of my pants, feeling very exposed up there, so I’d pull out all the stops.”
These days, though billing themselves as Electronic Beach Club, Steve insists the musical collaboration with Egan is “definitely not to be lumped in with the retro movement”. EBC have moved on from 80s sounds to contemporary club music, interspersed with current mixes of classic tracks.
He says: “I do play Spandau mixes. In an uptempo version of True by Deep Mind I just lay down the sax and Rusty drops in the Oakenfold mix and I switch to heavy percussion. We also do Fade to Grey mixed up with Magic Fly. That’s his little nod to the original Visage.”
Last autumn, Steve scoped out the Nassau Beach Club during his first visit to Ibiza in four years and he’s basing himself there with Rusty for the summer. “It’s my second home, where I left a little piece of me. It’s where my son Jack was brought up and daughter Lara was born and I struggle to accept I’m not still there. I’m trying to convince Mrs Preston Norman to come out and drag herself away from the dog and cat at our cottage in Hampshire.
Nassau Beach Club
“What’s new on Ibiza is this idea of beach clubs. I remember when the Blue Marlin was just a few tables and chairs on the sand, now it’s become a nightclub on the beach. These places are springing up all over the island. After chilling out by day, people are ready to go for it by night. At the Nassau Club there’s a stage area on the beach where Rusty plays a set 5-8pm, with me raising the tempo.”
Creatively, the Norman-Egan team want to make more music together. Steve says: “I’ve done a sax track on Rusty’s album project and we still hope to do a track together.” On July 18 Steve will be a “gun for hire” joining an all-star supergroup called Holy Holy at the massive Latitude Festival in Suffolk, when London’s ICA presents Bowiefest, a celebration of the Ziggy/Aladdin year of 1973. The line-up so far features Clem Burke of Blondie, James Stevenson of Generation X, Gary Stondage of Big Audio Dynamite, Traci Hunter and Maggi Ronson on BVs.
Speculation grows around another reunion by Spandau Ballet. What can be confirmed is the epic documentary film by Scott Millaney, Soul Boys of the Western World, due out next spring. Steve promises his own exclusive discovery. “I found an old home movie from 1977 made by my dad on Standard 8. You see us pre-Spandau all performing up the road from Tony’s for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations – at a street party.” Busking, obviously!
THIS SUMMER’S SUN-AND-SEA SOUNDS
Rusty Egan in action with his Traktor Scratch Pro
❏ Hot from Rusty Egan on his Lilo: “I’m playing chilled beach mixes and remixes of classic tracks like True by Deep Mind, and electro pop such as Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work (Echoes Remix), some cool house with Grass Is Greener’s Start Again, and Lewis Lastella’s remixes of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy The Silence and New Order’s Blue Monday.”
Kate Bush remixed above, Depeche Mode remixed below
+++ ➢ Footnote to the top pic – In Dec 1980 Flexipop! was launched as a plastic 7-inch disc with an overexcitable magazine attached. It was invented by music journalists Tim Lott and his business partner at the time, Barry Cain. It made the career of “Smudger” Neil Matthews, one-third of the official New Romantic photography contingent (along with Graham Smith and Shapersofthe80s), and his pix were exhumed late last year in archive form at a Flexipop Facebook page.
Canvas-Club on the beach opposite Carlton Cannes hotel
❚ IN CANNES FOR THE FILM FESTIVAL TONIGHT? So are former 80s Blitz Kids, club deejay Rusty Egan and Spandau Ballet’s sax-percussionist Steve Norman, and you can catch their storming double act at the pop-up Canvas-Club on the beach opposite Carlton Cannes hotel, on the Croisette May 17–19… Then the pair move off to Ibiza where they perform fortnightly at the Nassau Beach Club on Playa D’en Bossa from May to Sept.
STEVE NORMAN RINGS IN TO REPORT:
“ Our first night was pretty relaxed. Cannes during the film festival feels fantastic. There are full-on business meetings day and night in the Canvas-Club where we’re jamming. The last time I was here was 2009 when Spandau announced we were going to make a film (and that is due out next year). But there was a completely different vibe at the Midem music festival where people do deals all day then let themselves go at night. For the film business it’s all deals. They’re not a club crowd, so we adapt accordingly.
“ Rusty is brilliant at gauging the audience’s mood, making a seamless transition from dinner table to dancefloor. He warmed up the dinner session lifting the pace gradually, then I rocked up about 10pm vibing on top of his music to kick things off into a Latin fury. We play a soulful mix of house music, quite funky but definitely not retro. Next we’re off to Ibiza – my second home, where I left a little piece of me – and we’re appearing fortnightly on Mondays at Nassau Beach Club from May 27 through till September. These places are springing up all over. It used to be a beach bar and has mushroomed into a nightclub on the sand. People will be chilling by day, then going for it by night. ”
Rusty and Steve: discs, drums, percussion and sax!
❚ TO COMMEMORATE THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY of the web being made available free to all, the international physics laboratory CERN has recreated the world’s first website and posted it today, at its original address and this is it – http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html The home page provided an explanation of what the world wide web was, and how to use a browser and set up a web server.
The British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee proposed an information management system in 1989 and had a working version of the web in Dec 1990. The first website built was at CERN within the borders of France and went online on August 6, 1991, but by 1993 some user groups were positioning themselves to try to monopolise the web as a commercial platform. So on April 30, 1993, CERN announced that the world wide web would be free to anyone, with no fees due.
The web’s first home page: click on the image to visit the site at CERN
➢ The World Wide Web Became Free 20 Years Ago Today – By Mark Fischetti, senior editor at Scientific American: “ You and I can access billions of web pages, post blogs, write code for our own killer apps – in short, do anything we want on the web – all free! And we’ve enjoyed free reign because 20 years ago, today, web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and his employer, the CERN physics lab in Geneva, published a statement that made the nascent “world wide web” technology available to every person, company and institution without royalty or restriction … ” / Continued online
Tim Berners-Lee at the Olympics opening ceremony (Photo: Getty)
❏ The internet is a global computer system that provides information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardised communication protocols. In contrast, the web is one of the services that runs on the internet. It is a collection of text documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs (addresses), usually accessed through web browsers from web servers. A browser is a so-called “graphical user interface” which simply means an accessible visual entry point into the arcane world of computer coding. Mosaic is the web browser credited with popularising the world wide web and today most popular browsers (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox) retain the characteristics of the original Mosaic.
In July 2012 Tim Berners-Lee was honoured as the “Inventor of the world wide web” during the Olympics opening ceremony in London where he appeared in person, working at a NeXT computer, the model on which he worked at CERN in 1989. He tweeted the message: “This is for everyone.”
The mighty tweet: Tim Berners-Lee’s message to the world at the Olympics
➢ CERN’s original Public Domain document of April 30, 1993: “CERN’s decision to make the web foundations and protocols available on a royalty free basis, and without additional impediments, was crucial to the web’s existence. Without this commitment, the enormous individual and corporate investment in web technology simply would never have happened, and we wouldn’t have the web today.” – Tim Berners-Lee, Director, WWW Consortium
➢ Faster two-thumb typing devised by the Max Planck Institute: “ The research team of Antti Oulasvirta at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics has created a new keyboard called KALQ that enables faster thumb-typing on touchscreen devices. They used computational optimization techniques in conjunction with a model of thumb movement to search among millions of potential layouts before identifying one that yields superior performance. A user study confirmed that, after a short amount of practice, users could type 34% faster than they could with a QWERTY layout… ” / Continued at the Max Planck Institute
MORE INTERESTING THAN MOST PEOPLE’S FANTASIES — THE SWINGING EIGHTIES 1978-1984
They 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)
“The truth about those Blitz club people was more interesting than most people’s fantasies” — Steve Dagger, pop group manager, 1983
➢ 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
Judi at Spandau’s 1981 Sundown show, pictured by Shapersofthe80s
David Bowie spotted Steve Strange, of 1980s group Visage, wearing one of Judith Frankland’s creations, a black wedding dress, and asked if he could use it in his video. Judi says now: “Steve and I became firm friends. The Blitz was the place to be seen. It wasn’t big and could only hold 200 people, but you could never be too outrageous and only the wildly dressed got in. Those who stood around never met anyone… I can’t remember going to *meet* men in the Blitz. In purple, black and white make-up you felt like death anyway.”
NEWS — OLD FACES, NEW MIXES FOR THE 20-TEENS
✱ James Edward Quaintance III, better known to his friends as Jimmy Q, is the leader of the tattooed male model brigade. i-D online captures the Venice Beach born model-skater stalking the streets of East London, where Andrea Vecchiato snaps an almost masonic single shin-show down at ground level. Watch for this fashion forward detail appearing on a street near you
✱ “The latest Trash Fashion issue of Dazed & Confused explodes with new fashion director Robbie Spencer’s Trash & Burn manifesto”
✱ i-D 325 The Time Is Now Issue gives one of its May covers to Sudanese supermodel raised in Kansas City, Grace Bol, here photographed by William Baker. Other options feature 19-year-old American model Lily McMenamy, Xiao Wen Ju and The Great Gatsby
✱ Another happy Hadley-Kemp reunion! As part on the ongoing 30th anniversary True celebrations, Tony and Gary are taking part in a special acoustic show and Q&A session about the album. On June 20 at the BBC Maida Vale Studios in London the duo are performing as part the Radio 4 Mastertapes series. Click link to attend
✱ A new show Sundays at 7pm (BST) on Absolute 80s radio – presented by Matthew Rudd, Forgotten 80s features the best under the radar hits of the decade
✱ The “Face of 68” supergroup guitarist and songwriter Peter Frampton follows his album Thank You Mr Churchill with a rare UK concert at London’s Camden Roundhouse on Nov 5. Tickets at kililive
✱ “If it moves, funk it.” Catch the global webcast weekly, more than 150 shows since the re-launch of Jazz FM in October 2008 — Robbie Vincent’s Essential Rhythms from the pioneering 70s & 80s deejay every Sunday 10am–1pm BST... This Sunday the new George Duke album has the only track completed for a Teena Marie jazz album, plus others from the new Duke album called Dreamweaver ... Retune digital radios in the UK to find National Jazzfm on radio & on TV or listen
live online and later on demand at Jazzfm.com ... Shapersofthe80s tells how Robbie influenced the shape of British musical taste in his 35 years as master of hot cuts
✱ The two big UK Rewind Festivals unite 24 acts at Rewind in Perth (July 26–28) ... and another 24 acts for Rewind at Henley-on-Thames (Aug 16–18)
✱ Remake Remodel claims to be “The Nation’s Saving Grace of Alternative, Rock’n’Roll” — pure indie every Monday at South nightclub, Manchester M2 6DQ ... Every Tuesday Student House pushes cutting-edge house music through South’s renowned Funktion One sound system
✱ Blacklight every Weds, Stonelove every Sat at Factory251 – house, RnB, hiphop, Rock n Roll, Soul and indie disko over three floors designed by Ben Kelly ... At Princess St Manchester, a programme of clubnights and live bands
160,000 VISITS PER YEAR
◆ At Dec 31 WordPress recorded 538,000 views since Shapers of the 80s launched in autumn 2009, then in March 2013 Revolver Maps reported 319,207 visits to Shapers of the 80s during the previous two years in global statistics measuring hits from 199 countries
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
◆ Until Sept 1, New York’s Whitney Museum is showing a video installation entitled The Jugglers (below) by David Hockney, shot by 18 HD video cameras and screened in one mighty panorama... Hockney spent last summer on the country roads of Yorkshire videoing more of the eye-popping series of “cubistic” multi-screen movies that concluded his Royal Academy show in London — and which he proposed to Shapersofthe80s in his 1983 landmark interview when he revealed “Suddenly I see cubism differently, more clearly”. Read it inside, along with his latest adventures on an iPad
◆ 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
Archive — Many publication dates are arbitrary, so click and take pot luck!
CLICK TO SEE WHO’S ONLINE
❖ Welcome to our latest visitors from 198 countries and dependencies — 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 Hammerfest in Norway (70°39′N, 23°40′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 one visitor in Greenland!
KEY PHOTOGRAPHERS ON THE SCENE
My gratitude to the photographers who have generously permitted use of their images at Shapersofthe80s, because who would believe the preposterous story of the Blitz scene without the supporting pictorial evidence? These are the people whose lenses first caught the magic, and more subcultural images from the 1980s can be found at their own online galleries ❂ Neil Matthews ❂ Denis O’Regan ❂ Andy Rosen ❂ Homer Sykes ❂ Virginia Turbett ❂ Special thanks to:
We respect copyright, and are happy to give credit to a photographer’s work and try to seek permission first. If you own images published here and wish them to be removed, simply ask.
Reblogging is theft, so whenever you recycle any picture for your own use, always credit the photographer or artist (living or dead), and seek permission to reproduce it. Their livelihoods (and those of their families) often depend on fair dealing