Category Archives: Fashion

2014 ➤ Video gems unearthed by the Spandau Ballet biopic premiering at SXSW

Spandau Ballet

Spandau ahoy! Houseband of the New Romantics playing aboard HMS Belfast in 1980. Martin Kemp on bass, Steve Norman on guitar. (Photo by Virginia Turbett)

FEB 12 UPDATE FROM SPANDAU AT FACEBOOK:

Spandau Ballet (Official)
“Awesome Spandau meeting yesterday! 2014 and 2015 are shaping up rather nicely, I would say.”

“Look out for MORE exciting Spandau news coming very soon! This is just the start.”

❚ SEVERAL MOVIE DISCOVERIES have been made by the researchers on Spandau Ballet’s new biopic Soul Boys of the Western World, due to be premiered on March 12 in the USA at SXSW. One is footage of the band’s secret live performance aboard the World-War Two cruiser HMS Belfast. In order to emphasise the newness of their synthesised pop music, the band’s ground rule was never to appear at established rock venues. So for their seventh invitation-only date on July 26, 1980, a glittering horde of Blitz Kids descended on the warship moored in the Thames near the Tower of London.

Spandau Ballet, archive, HMS Belfast,SXSW,Blitz Kids

Precious footage of Spandau’s HMS Belfast gig, 1980: two reels of Super8 exhumed from the vaults by ex-Blitz Kid Nick Jones

Songwriter Gary Kemp says: “There are two pieces of archive that most surprised me. The first was the HMS Belfast performance from 1980. I never knew it existed until last year when our manager Steve Dagger had a vague memory that one of the Blitz Kids, Nick Jones, had a Super 8 camera. (He went on to play in the Latin-tinged dance-band Funkapolitan with Tom Dixon and Kadir Guirey, and today he’s a successful director of commercials.) It was some time before Nick could gain access to his storage and at first found nothing. Then we got sent the pic you see alongside.”

Kemp adds: “The footage is in beautiful Super 8 colour and shows the raw energy of that night inside the hot and steamy ship. It lasts eight minutes, but was enough to evoke the moment when Spandau were THE band of London, elusive, unique, magnificent.”

Petr Capaldi, Spandau Ballet, 1982,

Peter Capaldi at 23: comic support on Spandau’s 1982 Diamond tour. (Photo by Shapersofthe80s)

He adds: “The other archive that revealed itself, 33 years after being filmed, was the entire New York gig that we did in the Underground club in 1981.” This footage emerged after painstaking inquiries only last autumn and Spandau can be seen onstage in all their glory sporting their nomadic serfs garb from the Musclebound video.

Some of us also remember the 23-year-old Scottish stand-up who was invited to support Spandau Ballet on the Diamond tour of the UK in 1982. This was Peter Capaldi who has enjoyed spectacular success in the years since then and was revealed recently as the BBC’s 12th Doctor Who.

Kemp adds: “The new Doctor Who is definitely seen in the film – on a tour bus I believe – which explains his new Tony Hadley style as Doctor Who! Come and see the movie and enjoy our history.”

ENTRY TO SXSW EVENTS CANNOT BE GUARANTEED

❏ Plan before you travel: SXSW is an industry event which charges hefty registration fees, for example, Films-only registration costs $650 for walkups. However the website says if, after delegates with badges and wristbands are seated at film events, any seats remain, “single-admission tickets will be sold for $10 starting 15 minutes before showtime”.

SXSW update after the live gig is announced, Feb 21: “For the music portion of the event, the situation is very similar. There will most likely be tickets for sale at the door but it varies from venue to venue. Tickets may be sold if capacity allows. Our best advice is to get to the venue early or contact them to see if they will be selling tickets at the door and also see how long the wristband/badge lines are to judge if you could even get in.”

➢ 1982, How Spandau put Capaldi on the road to play
the new Doctor Who

➢ Spandau together again as their ‘surprise’ movie is slated for Texas premiere – more on SXSW 2014 at Shapersofthe80s

New Romantics,

Blitz Kids ahoy! A dazzling audience aboard HMS Belfast for Spandau Ballet’s seventh date. (Photo – Getty)

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➤ 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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➤ Essential pop-cultural landmarks reported here at Shapers of the 80s

Andrew Ridgeley,George Michael, Wham Rap, video, Face magazine, Club Culture,

Click pic to open the Wham Rap! video in another window … “Man or mouse” Andrew Ridgeley establishes his clubbing credentials – along with sidekick George Michael – in the opening shots of the Wham! video by reading this very Face cover story on Club Culture that you’re about to read!

THE MOST READ FEATURE ARTICLE AMONG 720,000 VIEWS SINCE THE LAUNCH OF SHAPERS OF THE 80s

➢ 1983, The Making of UK Club Culture — Definitive Face cover story by yours truly seen here in the Wham Rap! video. This account of how London nightlife had become an international magnet was first published as “an upstairs‑downstairs tale of two key nightspots” in The Face No 34 in February 1983. Photography © by Derek Ridgers. Reprinted in The Faber Book of Pop, 1995; and in Night Fever, Boxtree, 1997

69 Dean Street, Soho, club culture, The Face magazine, London, 1980s, clubbing, nightlife,Billys, Gargoyle,Red Studio,Blitz Kids

From The Face, February 1983

THE ORIGINAL HISTORY OF THE BLITZ KIDS

The Observer Music Magazine. Pictures © by Derek Ridgers

The Observer Music Magazine, Oct 4, 2009. Pictures © by Derek Ridgers

➢ Spandau Ballet, the Blitz Kids and the birth of the New Romantics — The much-plundered story originally researched by Shapers of the 80s tells who did what to make stars out of a club houseband, change the rhythm of the UK charts — and ultimately rejuvenate the British media. The obsessive fashionistas behind one small club in London in 1980 went on to dominate the international landscape of pop and fashion, while putting more British acts into the US Billboard charts than the 1960s ever achieved.

EARLY 80s REPORTS REVISITED

➢ How three wizards met at the same crossroad in time — an inside 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

Romance blossoms: Drummer Jon Moss gives George O’Dowd a peck at Planets club in July 1981 way before their band Culture Club existed. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

➢ Three key men in Boy George’s life – In 2010 the BBC turned the pop star’s teens ’n’ twenties into a 90-minute drama of foot-stamping, chair-throwing, cry-baby tantrums over his self-confessed “dysfunctional romances”, all of which he had documented in his eye-wateringly frank 1995 autobiography, Take It Like a Man. Shapers of the 80s summarises George O’Dowd’s stormy lovelife.

➢ Ex-Blitz Kids give their verdicts on the TV drama Worried About the Boy – During and after its broadcast in 2010, this authoritative mixture of opinions on the Boy George story reshaped the accepted clichés about the Blitz Kids.

Chris Sullivan, club-host, deejay, Wag club, Blue Rondo, pop music,We Can Be Heroes, youth culture,

At home in Kentish Town Chris Sullivan chooses the right zootsuit for today’s mood: his wardrobe is legendary, his taste impeccable, and his influence immeasurable. Shapersofthe80s shot this for his first Evening Standard interview in June 1981

➢ 1976–1984, How creative clubbing started and ended with the 80s – “We were all kids,” says Chris Sullivan who would eventually host the Wag, the coolest club in town, for 19 years. “We went out and had a go. Empowerment is what’s important about this story.”

Photocall: Spandau Ballet, Richard Burgess and assorted Blitz Kid designers gather for the press conference before their fashion-and-music shows in New York. Yes that is Sade towards the far right. Photograph © by Shapersofthe80s

➢ 1981, First Blitz invasion of the US – 21 Blitz Kids take Manhattan by storm with a fresh fashion show and the live new sound of London. Eye-witness words and pix by Shapers of the 80s

ROMANTIC REVIVAL OF THE NOUGHTIES

Sade  1983

Wow! Then and now: Sade backstage in August 1983 while still seeking a recording contract and, right, as shot to launch her 2010 album. Vintage picture © by Shapersofthe80s

➢ 2010, Shapers of the 80s finds comeback Shard comfy as ‘Auntie Sade’ – Having wowed the 80s clubbing scene, in 2011 Sade’s band won a Grammy award for Best R&B Performance By A Group.

➢ 2009, Onstage, Spandau Ballet’s Hadley and Kemp finally get huggy in a mighty Reformation – Shapers of the 80s follows the reunion of the band who wrote the new rules for pop in the Swinging 80s.

WE ARE ALL BOWIE’S CHILDREN NOW

David Bowie, Starman, 1972, Top of the Pops, tipping point, BBC

The moment the earth tilted July 6, 1972: During Starman on Top of the Pops, David Bowie drapes his arm around the shoulder of Mick Ronson. Video © BBC

➢ 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

➢ Where to draw a line between glitter and glam – defining what separates the naff blokes in Bacofoil from starmen with pretensions

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2013 ➤ Canvey Gold Miners polish up their dancing shoes

nightclubbing, Canvey Island, soul scene, Gold Mine

Dressing up on Canvey, 1982: Gold Mine girls maintain the high standards set by the club over the past decade. (Photographed by Shapersofthe80s)

Chris Hill, DJ, soul scene, Gold Mine"

Hill: ushered in Age of the Dance

❚ NOVEMBER 9 SEES maverick deejay Chris Hill front the fourth Official Gold Mine Reunion back this year on Canvey Island at The Monico, a stone’s throw away from the site of the nightspot renowned as the birthplace of British jazz-funk.

Other members enlisted from the South-East’s Funk Mafia who ruled at Caister weekenders and the big soul all-dayers will be Jeff Young and Snowboy and ace record-shopkeeper for the rare groove scene, Gary Dennis. The reunion will be echoing to sounds from Donnie Hathaway to Chick Corea, from BT Express to Mastermind. But first, a taste of the Gold Mine’s tenth year as I reported it 31 years ago…

Ten years of the Canvey Island Gold Mine

[First published in The Face, August 1982]

❏ SOME SAY THE whole of today’s style scene has its roots here… The Gold Mine, Canvey Island, has passed into countless legends for the trends it has set and on August 14 manager Stan Barrett pulls a champagne cork to celebrate his club’s tenth birthday.

Mind you, feet have pounded its original sprung maple dancefloor since 1949. Southend and the towns of the Essex style triangle have reared cults since the word was invented, so when in 1972 the Gold Mine began playing what rivals then called “silly music” – My Guy and all those soul sounds – the local hipsters took their cue. It was that wild man among deejays, Chris Hill, who, as the only one south of Lancashire playing soul, put Canvey Island on the map and ushered in the soulful new Age of the Dance.

Gold Mine, Canvey Island, soul scene, reunion, Chris HillThen in 1975, for a reason no more obscure than a simple father to son legacy, came a Glenn Miller Swing revival, which triggered the then unique clubbing fad of nostalgic dressing-up.

Stan Barrett says: “Chris played Singin’ In The Rain one Saturday and of course even kids who couldn’t remember the original knew the words to it. Everyone started being Gene Kelly on the dancefloor, dressing as Gls and Betty Grable. So he played Moonlight Serenade then the Andrews Sisters’ Boogey Woogey – that’s when they all started to jive and to dress up.”

The Sun, the tabloid daily paper which has a remarkably consistent record for picking up trends first, featured the Gold Mine. “Coaches came from Newcastle, Wales, everywhere,” Barrett remembers. The rest is undisputed history for the influence of Essex stylists on emergent London nightlife scene has been visible from the 60s Mod scene to Chaguaramas and the Vortex to the Blitz and beyond.

Gold Mine, nightclubbing, UK, swing

Swing revival 1975: Glenn Miller tunes inspired jiving and GI uniforms at the Gold Mine (courtesy Brian Longman, CanveyIsland.org.uk)

The key to the Gold Mine’s success? Impossible selectivity at the door, which may sound over familiar today. Barrett says: “Nobody too old. And only people into style which means your own style, not Gary Numan’s. It costs you at first but look how it pays off in the end. People have never come to the Gold Mine for a good drink up, always the music and the scene.”

Right now in summer ’82, Essex is a musical ball of confusion with the electronic camp of Depeche Mode and Talk Talk holding sway. Drinking with Talk Talk drummer Lee Harris at the Gold Mine the other night was clubrunner about Southend, Steven Brown, who sports a £100 PW Forte Sixties suit and reckons that psychedelia is still big there, heaven help us. He has also done time with a non-psychedelic local band of jokers called Doodle Sax: “It’s had about 35 people in it at various times but we’re not very serious.” One of them, synthesiser doodler Andy Norton, says the vibes are already about for much heavier rhythms. “Music has to turn much more macho.”

And if there are any visual indicators at the Gold Mine today, they are less fancy, more free. A regular called Andy “from Stanford No Hope” says: “Make up is so out of date, it’s like watching old crows trying to pull. The Gold Mine is much better now that we don’t get all the arty students down.”

nightclubbing, Essex, Gold Mine, 1980s, Stan Barrett

Guardian of the Gold Mine, 1982: manager Stan Barrett and his wife Jayne. (Photographed by Shapersofthe80s)

Nov 11 UPDATE: MOVIN’ AS EVER TO
BRASS CONSTRUCTION

Gold Mine Reunion, video,Canvey Island, nightclubbing, jazz-funk,

Saturday night on Canvey, 2013: shonky screengrab from Trizzles Green Trees’ video at Facebook. Click to view

❏ “Banging best night in ages,” reported Essex Funker Trizzles Green Trees the morning after when she posted this video of the Gold Mine Reunion’s dancefloor heaving to Brass Construction’s 1975 classic Movin’. [Click the pic to run the vid at Facebook.] She added: “We opened the door to the main room and you were just knocked away instantly by the vibe and the atmosphere… everyone was smiling and dancing whether you knew them or not.”

One of the hosts deejay Snowboy Mark called it “a road-block event” at The Monico, Canvey Island. “There were so many old faces there, going way back to the original pre-79 days… Andrea Wingrove-Dunn, Laurence Dunn, Steve Brown, Gary Turner, and pre-76 Gold Miner Molly Brown (she was under age of course!) who loved it more than anyone and stayed right to the end dancing, singing her head off and causing a stir in her immaculate 40s clothing.

“I loved playing Shifting Gears, Inside America, Mary Hartman et al – to me, out and out Gold Mine records for those that were there in the early years.”

➢ Read all the reports at the Gold Mine Reunion Canvey Island page at Facebook

❏ Chris Hill interviewed during a live TV visit to the Gold Mine, Canvey Island, broadcast in 1983 on Channel 4’s weekly pop show The Tube. The club closed in 1989.

❏ Northern Soul fans will recall that their legendary venue the Wigan Casino launched its first soul all-nighter in September 1973 (a year after the Gold Mine).

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➤ Dress UP while Sullivan selects sounds from the 80s at the V&A’s Friday Late

Claire Wilcox ,Chris Sullivan,Club to Catwalk, fashion , 1980s,V&A,exhibition,,London

At the V&A’s opening party for the Club to Catwalk exhibition, Chris Sullivan and its curator Claire Wilcox © Photographed by Shapersofthe80s

❚ EX-ST MARTIN’S AND WAG CLUB HOST Chris Sullivan says: “I’ll be deejay at the V&A again for next Friday’s free event. I’ll be doing a typical 80s club set from Kraftwerk to house with hip hop, rockabilly and mutant disco, to seminal electro and rare groove. It’s an evening of all sorts of shenanigans to do with the Club to Catwalk exhibition.”

The monthly Friday Late on October 25 at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is inspired by the current exhibition Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s, which celebrates the creativity and theatricality of the capital’s dynamic fashion and club scenes. Assistant curator Kate Bethune is running a busy programme of free events, including art and design workshops, art installations, expert talks, performances and deejay sets throughout the gallery.

Club to Catwalk, exhibition, London, Fashion,1980s, V&ADIY fashionistas will discover how to make their own Scarlett Dress (named after Scarlett Cannon, 80s Cha-Cha club hostess and now “key identity” for the exhibition, seen at left) by downloading the dress pattern from the V&A’s website. An example of the toile is being displayed in the Sackler Centre on Friday evening.

Kate reports: “Our free Friday Lates tend to attract upwards of 4,000 visitors and our Club to Catwalk exhibition, London Fashion in the 1980s, continues to prove extremely popular and is averaging 5,000 visitors a week.”

➢ Back to the 80s at the V&A, October 25, 18:30–22:00

Christos Tolera,Axiom, Chris Sullivan, zootsuits, fashion, 1980s, V&A,

Clubbing style 1981: Sullivan’s zootsuits currently pictured in the V&A’s Club to Catwalk 80s fashion exhibition, here strutting the Axiom collective’s runway at Club for Heroes back in the day. Modelled by Solomon Mansoor and Christos Tolera, photographed by © Shapersothe80s

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