Category Archives: London

➤ Remembering Steve Strange: Today’s tweet from Midge Ure

Midge Ure, Rusty Egan, Steve Strange,,anniversary, death, Visage, pop music, Blitz Kids, New Romantics

Click to view original Tweet

❏ To which Rusty Egan, Steve’s partner in the Blitz Club and other landmark ventures that helped create the Swinging 80s, replies:

For 2 years prior to this unfortunate event Steve and I were embroiled in a public feud. Sadly we did not kiss and make up and I like most people was shocked he left us so young. RIP Steve. I have still got a few things I need to do… will sort that biz out later.

Visage, Swinging 80s, pop music, Blitz Kids, New Romantics,Midge Ure, Rusty Egan, Steve Strange, Dave Formula , Billy Currie

Visage 1980, left to right: Midge Ure, Rusty Egan, Steve Strange, Dave Formula and Billy Currie. (Photo © Denis O’Regan)

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
2015, Original Blitz Kids say farewell to Steve Strange – read exclusive tributes to the King of the Posers

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
1980, One week in the private worlds of the new young

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
Catch up on New Romantic landmarks reported here at Shapers of the 80s

➢ Read the story of Spandau Ballet, the Blitz Kids and the birth of the New Romantics at The Observer, by Yours Truly

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➤ A sensational portrait of Bowie as the man who shaped our responses to an age of shattered dreams

David Bowie, genius, pop music, obituary, Major Tom, The Economist, alienation, annihilation, 1970s, Space Oddity, music videos, Apollo 11,

1969: “This is Ground Control to Major Tom / You’ve really made the grade / And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear”

➢ Today’s issue of The Economist pulls out the plum – a superb obituary casting David Bowie as a wonderful epitome of alienation who saw a way through the world’s fears of imminent annihilation:

IN JULY 1969 men walked on the moon, a technological leap all but unthinkable 50 years before. Three years later they abandoned it, and have renounced all return ever since. What boosters saw as the great opening act of the space age turned out to be, in effect, its culmination. Within a few years presidential corruption, economic stagnation, military ignominy and imagined catastrophe had warped post-war America’s previously impervious belief in progress, a belief that had resonance across the then free world. After Apollo, the future would never again be what it used to be.

The Economist, Space Oddity, David Bowie,tributes, David Bowie’s greatest years began nine days before Apollo 11 touched down in the Sea of Tranquillity, with the release of his single Space Oddity; they ended 11 years later, with the single Ashes to Ashes. Over that decade he used imagined futures to turn himself into something contradictory and wonderful — an epitome of alienation with whom the alienated flocked to identify. In doing so, he laid bare one of the key cultural shifts of the 1970s: the giving up of past dreams. . . / Continued online

“In Space Oddity Major Tom, floating in a most peculiar way, had been an isolated spaceman;
by Ashes to Ashes his isolation was a junkie’s”
– The Economist

David Bowie, genius, pop music, obituary, Major Tom, The Economist, alienation, annihilation, 1980s, Ashes to Ashes, music videos,

1980: “Ashes to ashes, funk to funky / We know Major Tom’s a junkie / Strung out in heaven’s high / Hitting an all-time low”

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: “I’m not a rock star” Bowie often said – No, David, you were a messiah

OVER TO YOU, MAJOR TIM:

➢ Update on the first Friday of the new era AD (After David), Britain’s first official astronaut Major Tim Peake takes his first walk outside the International Space Station

International Space Station, NASA, British, astronaut,Union Jack,

2016: The British astronaut Major Tim Peake – sporting the Union Jack on his shoulder – takes his first spacewalk at 2pm today from the International Space Station (NASA Television)

NOT FORGETTING COMMANDER CHRIS HADFIELD


❏ This is the cover version Bowie called “possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created”, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station in 2013.

Today’s hits on mainstream media!

➢ Tim Peake on live NASA Television

➢ David Bowie Breaks Adele’s Vevo record

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➤ “I’m not a rock star” Bowie often said – No, David, you were a messiah

David Bowie, death, obituaries, tributes, rock music, Man Who Fell to Earth, media, videos, films,

A humanoid alien comes to Earth with a mission… What a spooky coincidence that David Bowie played the alien Thomas Jerome Newton in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth

David Bowie, death, obituaries, tributes, rock music, TheTimes, UK, newspapers

Today’s Times: the masks and the man behind them

◼ ALL 10 BRITISH NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS filled their front pages today with the death of David Bowie at 69 – and so did scores of newspapers overseas. The last pop star whose death justified such deification was Jacko in 2009; and the last British pop star to do likewise was John Lennon, in 1980. The Times of London dedicated 18 pages including an outer broadsheet wrapper to honouring Bowie, plus an editorial comment as blessing. The Guardian topped that with 20 pages, plus the most enlightened editorial comment of them all. Not only did this misfit megastar and cultural icon radiate consummate flair as a performer but he displayed “an instinctive affinity with his times”. He had a “way with the zeitgeist”.

All media, notably social media, captured the dominant sentiment of generations of fans suddenly plunged into mourning. Again and again they claimed: He changed my life. . . He taught me how to be myself. . . David was my inspiration. . . David was my tutor. And most could quote their own favourite song lyric expressing their faith: Oh no, love – you’re not alone. . . Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it. . . It’s only for ever, not long at all. . . All you’ve got to do is win. . . We can be heroes just for one day.

David Bowie, death, obituaries, tributes, rock music, front pages,media, newspapers

Blanket coverage: Bowie on all UK front pages… Image updated 14 Jan to include news magazines

‘THE WORLD HAS LOST AN ORIGINAL’ DECLARED THE GUARDIAN, REMINDING US THAT BOWIE’S
MUSIC WAS MERELY HIS MEDIUM

➢ From today’s main editorial in The Guardian:

His obsession was reinventing himself, not changing the world. But even with that inward focus, Bowie proved a mightily disruptive figure.

The cultural revolution known as “the 60s”, even though it largely took place during the 1970s, blended hazy hopes of a collective awakening to a post-materialist future, with a determined emphasis on the right of the individual to realise his or herself. Nobody embodied the second half of that, the only half which was to stick, like David Bowie. Not for him the protest anthems associated with Dylan or Lennon in the right mood, nor the campus class consciousness raising antics of soixante-huitards. No, almost from the beginning, as this singular stone rolled between obscure bands, dance classes and every last pocket of the avant garde, he grabbed at everything from makeup brushes to music-hall standards for the over-riding purpose of defining, and then reinventing and redefining, the boy born David Jones. . . / Continued at Guardian online

➢ The New York Times eulogises his swansong: David Bowie Allowed His Art to Deliver a Final Message

“I’m not a rock star. I’m not in rock and roll,” Bowie often maintained, and when in 1974 Dick Cavett remarked “You seem to me like a working actor” Bowie agreed, “That’s very good”

Yesterday BBC TV arts czar Will Gompertz called Bowie “the Picasso of pop in the way he was able to synthesise ideas of the modern age and make sense of them in beautiful precise pieces of art”. As is all too clear in the following clips of Bowie’s output – as an actor.

1967 — THE IMAGE

1969 — THE MASK

1969 — SPACE ODDITY

1972 — STARMAN

1973 — LIFE ON MARS

1975 — GOLDEN YEARS

1977 — HEROES

1979 — THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD

David Bowie

Click the pic to view the video in a new window – starring David Bowie with Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias


Updated 16 Jan when Saturday Night Live finally released this pristine 1979 recording of the most immaculate performance of TMWSTW by Bowie, Klaus Nomi, Joey Arias, Stacey Hayden on guitar and Jimmy Destri on keyboards, which some say was the night “he transformed live television”. Alas, this has since been marked Private at YouTube for UK viewers, presumably to comply with NBC regional reach

1980 — ASHES TO ASHES

2006 — VITTEL TV COMMERCIAL

➢ BBC London radio: Onetime Blitz Kid Robert Elms dedicated yesterday’s three-hour show to David Bowie with tributes from Gary Kemp, Chris Sullivan and Julien Temple. Online for a month

➢ Vogue online gallery: Bowie’s fashion history in pictures

➢ Update 13 Jan, Daily Mirror – David Bowie has been secretly cremated without family and friends present: The singer told his loved ones he wanted to “go without any fuss” and not have a funeral service or public memorial. A source in New York told the Mirror: “There is no public or private service or a public memorial. There is nothing. . .” / Continued at Mirror online

➢ Update 13 Jan, Rolling Stone – Bowie planned post-Blackstar album, “Thought he had few more months”: About a week before his death, with Blackstar nearing release, David Bowie called his longtime friend and producer Tony Visconti via FaceTime, and told him he wanted to make one more album. In what turned out to have been the final weeks of his life, Bowie wrote and demo-ed five fresh songs, and was anxious to return to the studio one last time. . . / Continued at Rolling Stone online

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Image

➤ David Bowie 8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

Posted on January 11, 2016
David Bowie, dead, BBC News, breaking news,Duncan Jones, pop music

David Bowie, dead, pop music, genius

All-Bowie search here at Shapers of the 80s

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➤ Now David Bowie’s landlady tells her story of the lodger from Mars

David Bowie , Mary Finnigan, book, pop music, biography, Psychedelic Suburbia, 1969, Space Oddity, Beckenham Arts Lab,

David Bowie at home in Beckenham in 1969, where he became the lodger and lover of Mary Finnigan. (Photo by Ray Stevenson/Rex)

◼ AS A STRUGGLING FOLK SINGER David Bowie was 22 years old and living with his parents in south-east London when, by chance, he met journalist Mary Finnigan, eight years his senior, and moved into her flat in Foxgrove Road, Beckenham, where she lived with her two children from an early marriage.

They became lovers and launched a successful folk club which became the iconic Beckenham Arts Lab at The Three Tuns pub (now a Zizzi restaurant) on the High Street. Mary’s new book, Psychedelic Suburbia, offers new insights about Bowie in 1969, the year in which his first single Space Oddity reached the pop charts. Today The Independent runs a fabulously revealing extract:

We do not observe landlady-lodger conventions. I am happy with this arrangement – we share tincture of cannabis and Lucy’s deliveries of high-quality hashish. We share the space, cook and eat together. And a few days after he moves in, David and I sleep together.

The seduction is a work of art and takes me totally by surprise, when I come home one Saturday evening after a shift at The Sunday Times (edited in those days by my friend and journalistic mentor, Harry Evans). Usually I return to a messy kitchen and a sink full of dishes, showing evidence of baked beans, fried egg and tomato ketchup. But on this occasion, interesting cooking smells greet my arrival, the kitchen is clean and tidy, with the table laid for two plus flowers, candles and incense. The kids are fed, washed and tucked up in bed.

After a spliff and a nice dinner, David creates a nest of cushions on the floor of his room. He settles me into it and places speakers close to my ears on each side. Then he plays me a selection of his current favourite musical influences. Some are obscure, others well known – Jacques Brel, for example, and mind-blowing stereo phasing from Jimi Hendrix. . . / Continued at The Independent online

David Bowie , Mary Finnigan, book, pop music, biography, Psychedelic Suburbia, 1969, Space Oddity, Beckenham Arts Lab,

Friend, lover and landlady: Mary Finnigan and her personal new book about living with Bowie

“ Living from hand to mouth, David also does
casual shifts from time to time at Legastat, a copying office in central London ”
– Bowie as a Brook Street temp ?!?!

David Bowie , Mary Finnigan, book, pop music, biography, Psychedelic Suburbia, 1969, Space Oddity, Beckenham Arts Lab,
➢ Psychedelic Suburbia: David Bowie and the Beckenham Arts Lab by Mary Finnigan (£14.95, Jorvik Press) out now

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Weird and wonderful new Bowie – his Blackstar man is set to blow our minds, this Thursday

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