Category Archives: Europe

➤ Toasting the Blitz Kid dynamos who have driven the success of Shapers of the 80s

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Blitz Kids as stars of David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes video in 1980: from the left, Steve Strange, Darla Jane Gilroy, Elise and Judi Frankland. When they got back to London after filming, they all went clubbing. Video © 1983 Jones Music / EMI Records Ltd

❚ SHAPERS OF THE 80S TELLS THE DEFINITIVE STORY of a subcultural revolution in British music and style 30 years ago. Its detonator was a youthful blast of impossible trendiness and its stars didn’t call themselves New Romantics, or the Blitz Kids – but other people did. This site gathers together the eye-witness journalism and photography of one observer who knew a good time when he saw one and was published in the coolest titles of the day.

Now in its fifth year, this site has attracted a total of 722,500 views since its launch, according to year-ending WordPress stats. The figures also identify the 20 most widely read items out of more than 600 posted here. Most of these pieces were first published back in the day, but seven of the Top 20 items reflect the continuing interest expressed through the recent 80s revival. In many ways, London is again displaying all the symptoms of being the world’s most swinging city, as it was in the 60s and the 80s, when there were a galaxy of reasons to hit the town every single night of the week.

THE 20 MOST VIEWED POSTS AT SHAPERS OF THE 80S

1  ➢ The Blitz Kids — 50 crucial nightclubbers who
set the style for a decade

2  ➢ The key men in Boy George’s life, but why has TV changed some of the names? (2010)

3  ➢ Golden rules for keeping Studio 54 ahead of the pack (1981)

4  ➢ 69 Dean Street and the making of UK club culture – birth of the once-weekly party night (1983)

5  ➢ Sorry, girls, but Spandau’s Steve Norman has a secret love — see that ring on his finger? (2011)

The Face, magazine, May 1980, launch, Jerry Dammers, David Bowie, The Cult With No Name, New Romantics

The difference seven months made: In May 1980 The Face launched with Jerry Dammers of the Specials on its cover. By November the new direction was Bowie plus a feature on The Cult With No Name, as the New Romantics were first known

6  ➢ The Face and other power brokers of the fourth estate — a new media language for a new decade (1980)

7  ➢ First Blitz invasion of the US — Spandau Ballet and the Axiom fashion collective take Manhattan by storm (1981)

Blitz club, London 1979, Wilf, Stephen Linard, 2010, Worried About the Boy, Boy George, Daniel Wallace,Douglas Booth

Left, real Blitz Kids – right, the TV version… George’s boyfriend Wilf and fashion student Stephen Linard in 1979 (picture, Andy Rosen)… Daniel Wallace as a Linard lookalike and Douglas Booth as Boy George in Worried About the Boy, 2010 (BBC)

8  ➢ How real did 1980 feel? Ex-Blitz Kids give verdicts on the 2010 TV drama about Boy George’s teen years, Worried About the Boy

9  ➢ Hockney’s new vision of the world — Britain’s favourite artist reveals his insights into cubism (1983)

10  ➢ Paradise Point: live leaders of a new Brit pop blitz (2010)

i-D 1980

Seminal spread in i-D issue one: the straight-up style of photography is established with, at left, one then unknown New Romantic and, right, one punkette. Photographed on the King’s Road by Steve Johnston

11  ➢ ‘i-D counts more than fashion’ — launch of the
street-style bible in 1980

12  ➢ 19 gay kisses in pop videos that made it past the censor

13  ➢ Who’s who in the New London Weekend — key clubs that set the capital swinging (1983)

14  ➢ Aside from the freaks, George, who else came to your 50th birthday party? (2011)

© Shapersofthe80s

Londres est arrivée au Palace, 1982: classic set, nouveaux styles. Pictures © by Shapersofthe80s

15  ➢ Steve Strange takes fashion to the French — six British designers rock Le Palace in Paris (1982)

16  ➢ Posing with a purpose at the Camden Palace — power play among the new non-working class (1983)

17  ➢ Who are the New Romantics? — A mainstream deejay’s guide published by Disco International (1981)

Spandau Ballet, 1980

Houseband of the Blitz club: at the London megaclub Heaven Spandau Ballet play their tenth live date on 29 Dec 1980. From left, Steve Norman, Tony Hadley, Martin Kemp, Gary Kemp, plus John Keeble on drums. © Shapersofthe80s

18  ➢ They said it — landmark quotes about the decade of change by the people who made it happen

19  ➢ Rich List puts George Michael top of the popstars from the un-lucrative 80s (2010)

20  ➢ Comeback Shard comfy as ‘Auntie Sade’ — an enduring star who made 2010 her own

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2013 ➤ Gary Kemp’s video message for posterity on TV this Saturday

Dublin O2, Reformation Tour, Spandau Ballet reunion

Afternoon sound check at Dublin’s O2: Spandau Ballet on stage together in 2009 for the first time in two decades – John Keeble, Steve Norman, Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp. At centre, production manager Lars. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

❚ SONGWRITER GARY KEMP recalls the 2009-10 Reformation Tour by his pioneering New Romantic band Spandau Ballet, to be screened as a 2 hours 30 mins broadcast on Sky Arts this weekend:

The Reformation Tour was a coming back together I never thought would happen. After years of fighting, this tour taught us that being Spandau Ballet is a thing to be proud of. It turned out to be the best and most successful tour we ever did. If there’s one piece of evidence I’d like to leave for posterity it would be this film.

➢ The Reformation Tour 2009, produced by Scott Millaney –
Sky Arts 1 on Saturday November 9 at 9pm GMT
and again on Sunday at 12pm GMT

➢ Full coverage and review by Shapersofthe80s of Spandau’s reunion concert at the O2 arena in Dublin on October 13, 2009, plus more backstage colour from the UK tour

➢ 2010, Shapersofthe80s with Spandau touring overseas:
“so British, so gracious”

Spandau Ballet, Reformation Tour, 2009, Dublin, Gary Kemp, Tony Hadley, reunion

The picture they said could never be taken: a big hug between Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp during the band’s 2009 comeback concert in Dublin, after duetting With the Pride from 1984. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

❏ iPAD, TABLET & MOBILE USERS PLEASE NOTE — You may see only a tiny selection of items from this wide-ranging website about the 1980s, not chosen by the author. To access fuller background features and site index either click on “Standard view” or visit Shapersofthe80s.com on a desktop computer. ➢ Click here to visit a different random item every time you click

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30 years ago ➤ The day Vivienne and Malcolm realised the end was nigh

End of the world: The last public appearance together by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, Oct 17, 1983. As they take the applause for their Paris show, a bitter battle for control of the Worlds End label is raging behind the scenes. Picture © by Shapersofthe80s

End of the world 30 years ago: The last public appearance together by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, Oct 17, 1983. As they take the applause for their Paris show, a bitter battle for control of the Worlds End label is raging behind the scenes. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

➢ My Evening Standard exclusive breaks the news
of a parting of the ways – read it inside Shapersofthe80s

First published in the Evening Standard, Nov 4, 1983

First published in the Evening Standard, Nov 4, 1983

Vivienne Westwood, fashion, retail

Guess who’s still in business today: Vivienne Westwood as triumphant tribal queen in a new portrait posted only this week at Facebook

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2013 ➤ Paris RTW throws up pure anarchy from London in the 80s

fashion, Paris RTW,

Gender neutrality with total control: Pièce d’anarchive at the Paris RTW shows. Photos courtesy Deborah and Priscilla Royer

“The black-and-whiteness, the kilt over drop-crotch leggings, suspenders on oversize checked silk trousers, gender neutrality — shades of Bodymap in the eighties?”

❏ These stunning pix show shades of more than Bodymap in the 80s – shades also of Westwood, Linard and Galliano. Just read the sheer depth and breadth of brilliant vision expressed this week by Deborah and Priscilla Royer’s wittily titled Pièce d’anarchive presentation …

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➢ For stylecom Tim Blanks reports on this sensational RTW collection which could have come straight down the London catwalks 30 years ago!

French art students learn about Jean Pierre Raynaud at school. He was the conceptualist who spent 25 years building his house, only to decide it was too perfect and, in 1993, tear it to bits. Center stage at Deborah and Priscilla Royer’s laser-sharp presentation for Pièce d’anarchive was a major piece by Raynaud: 64 stainless-steel buckets filled with rubble from his demolition job, installed by the artist himself…

The Royers remodeled sporty athleticism, one of the big stories for Spring 2014, with their own knitwear expertise. “Fusing French craftsmanship with street influences,” said Deborah, “less archive, more anarchy”. The black-and-whiteness, the kilt over drop-crotch leggings, suspenders on oversize checked silk trousers, gender neutrality — shades of Bodymap in the eighties? OK, grant the girls that flicker of fashion anarchy, but otherwise, the linear precision of the clothes was less about letting go, more about complete control of the body, with pieces in substantial technical yarns that celebrated the fit form… / Continued at style.com

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➤ Normski sweats it out in Ibiza wishing for a nice cold shower

Electronic Beach Club, Steve Norman, Rusty Egan, Ibiza,

Electronic Beach Club in Ibiza: Rusty Egan and Steve Norman poised to start last Friday’s session. Photograph courtesy El Brasero

❚ THEY WERE DANCING IN THE STREETS OF IBIZA last Friday night to the toe-tapping toons of Steve Norman (saxophonist, guitarist and percussionist with Spandau Ballet) and Rusty Egan (former Visage drummer and deejay at London’s legendary Blitz Club in the 80s). Regular readers of Shapersofthe80s know that Norman-Egan’s storming double act, billed as Electronic Beach Club, have been entertaining sunseekers at the Nassau Beach Club on Playa D’en Bossa, fortnightly since May and they’re in residence until September.

Steve of course made his home on what he calls “this fair, white isle of Ibiza” in the 90s when he introduced the idea of live musical improvisation with the deejay at a club residency in San Antonio. What’s new today is the idea of beach clubs, and he and Rusty are finding themselves in demand across the island. Last Friday saw a huge gay pride street party in Ibiza town when the open-air El Brasero restaurant invited them to entertain the crowds from a first-floor terrace. Their playlist featured a lot of 80s pop and even Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. Naturally, we asked Steve for an update…

❏ Steve Norman writes: “Friday’s street party was fantastic, very emotional. My first proper street gig since The Roots Silver Jubilee set back in 1977. El Brasero is one of a collection of fab little eateries in the Gypsy quarter of Ibiza town. We set up on the terrace overlooking the street with a washing line complete with the family’s Sunday best hung out to dry serving as a backdrop.

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“Rusty surpassed himself with his choice of tunes and I sweated like a trooper on what was a very, very hot August night. But the main protagonists were the crowd, all the people drinking, eating or passers-by who stopped to watch. They all entered into the spirit of the event and the connection was made. For me it was one of my fave gigs ever. And the woman whose washing line it was never did throw water over me as she had threatened to do, should I not live up to her expectations, when what I could’ve done with was a nice cold shower!

“All great with Rusty, he’s a pal. Not driving me nuts anything like he normally does. I am doing gigs without him as he is doing without me but we have something unique together. What go down well are songs that people half recognise. Melody is the key, that’s why I believe the sax resonates so much with audiences. I always try to be singalongy with what I play – as Deuce Barter says, ‘simple phrases that the postman can whistle’. Oh and a deep version of True by Deep Mind normally finishes it off quite nicely.

“I’ll be taking my sax to Sa Trincha at Salinas Beach Friday for a brief session with deejay Franco Moiraghi and again with Franco at Downtown Cipriani when the restaurant turns into a nightclub on Saturday night/Sunday morning… that’s a very decent gig indeed. Rusty’s coming to watch and take the piss!”

HERE THEY ARE IN THE LOCAL PROMO

❏ Una actualización del comerciantes del Barrio / Update: Newly published video by the retailers of the Marina district to capture the Ibiza Orgullosa and the inimitable Norman-Egan double act… “Exito espectacular de la primera edicion de Ibiza Orgullosa, organizada por la asociacion del barrio de la Marina de Ibiza ciudad. Gracias a todos por asistir y disfrutar del evento.”

PS FOR RUSTY FANS – LATEST FRIDAY SESSION

Electricity Club, Mixcloud, Rusty Egan , Mi-Soul Radio, audio, playlist ➢ Listen to last Friday’s Show #19 of Rusty Egan Presents The Electricity Club, now on Mixcloud

“Possibly one of the best shows yet,” he says, this time featuring Giorgio Moroder, Pet Shop Boys, MGMT, Vivien Glass, Vile Electrodes, Margaret Berger, Kid Moxie, Perfume, Marsheaux, BEF, Sin Cos Tan, Mason, Isaac Junkie feat Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory, Kurt Baggaley, OMD, Tenek and more.

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