Category Archives: Media

➤ Glasgow art school fire appeal launched by Edinburgh College of Art

Glasgow School of Art, fire, Charles Rennie Mackintosh,

Yesterday’s fire at Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow School of Art, fire, Charles Rennie Mackintosh,

Yesterday’s fire at Glasgow School of Art: snapped by Tweeter xdxxnx

Glasgow School of Art, fire, Charles Rennie Mackintosh,

Mackintosh was a 28-year-old junior draughtsman when he drew up plans for GSA, recently voted the best building of the past 175 years

➢ Firefighters battled yesterday to rescue Glasgow School of Art from a blaze that engulfed its iconic Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed building:
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service crews are continuing work to fully extinguish the fire and save artworks. The fire service said more than 90% of the structure was viable and they had protected up to 70% of the contents… / See video at BBC News

➢ Saturday update by the GSA media centre:
Bad news first is that we have lost the iconic and unique Mackintosh library. This is an enormous blow and we are understandably devastated… Mackintosh was not famous for working in precious materials. It was his vision that was precious and we are confident that we can recreate what was lost as faithfully as possible.

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➢ GSA fire appeal launched by Edinburgh College of Art:
A report on BBC News at Ten carries footage but no further developments. The windows of the hen run are clearly badly damaged with mullions and transoms destroyed in places, but how badly will the Library have been damaged? … / Continued at GSA website

➢ The Glasgow School of Art photo gallery at Flickr

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➤ 40 years on from Abba, Austria fields a bearded drag artist for Eurovision

Tom Neuwirth, Conchita Wurst, Eurovision , sexuality, drag

Conchita aka Tom: a bearded lady in the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen

❚ THE PRIVATE PERSON TOM NEUWIRTH was born in Austria in 1988 and the art personality Conchita Wurst in 2011, the same year Tom graduated from the Graz School of Fashion. In last night’s second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, the bearded drag performer Conchita won her place to represent Austria in Saturday’s final by singing what could pass gloriously as a Bond theme, Rise Like a Phoenix.

The homophobic backlash could have been predicted from conservative nations such as Ukraine, Belarus and Russia where petitions have urged her removal from the competition. Russian politician Vitaly Milonov called her a “pervert” adding: “It is not normal but a person cannot be punished in Russia for being homosexual, or to live with a dog, with a horse, with a sheep, whatever.”

Ms Wurst answered her critics: “I can only say ‘Thank you for your attention’. If this is only about me and my person, I can live with it. I’m just a singer in a fabulous dress, with great hair and a beard.

“I created this bearded lady to show the world that you can do whatever you want,” she said at a press conference in Copenhagen. Although the German word Wurst routinely means “sausage”, its idiomatic meaning is “irrelevant” so signalling that Conchita’s sexuality is a non-issue. She makes a statement for tolerance and acceptance while 25-year-old Tom’s motto is: “Be the best version of yourself rather than a bad copy of someone else.”

➢ Conchita interviewed by Brendan O’Connor on the Irish Saturday Night Show

➢ Live video meet and greet with Conchita Wurst in Copenhagen: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars. That’s the way I live”

➢ Ich will einen Grammy” – Conchita wird von deutschem Fernsehen auf dem roten Stuhl interviewt: “Ich bin in Kolumbien geboren, am Bogota. Ich wurde genannt meine Grossmutter, Conchita. Und Wurst, bei mein Vater natürlich Alfred Knack von Wurst”

BEFORE: TOM NEUWIRTH …

… AFTER: CONCHITA WURST

HOT UPDATE MAY 10 – CONCHITA WINS!!!

Tom Neuwirth, Conchita Wurst, Eurovision , sexuality

Conchita Wurst victorious: she was second favourite to win going into the contest (PA)

➢ BBC News reports: Austrian drag act Conchita Wurst has been crowned the winner of the 59th Eurovision Song Contest: “The singer, whose real name is Tom Neuwirth, won with the song Rise Like a Phoenix, collecting 290 points. The Netherlands finished second with 238 points, with Sweden in third place with 218 points. Wurst had been the second favourite to win behind Sweden going in to the competition, with many predicting the act could be too divisive among voters. However she was the clear winner, with her victory announced after 34 of the 37 countries had submitted their scores.”

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➤ Mad man dies after skewering the American Dream and bequeathing us Alfred E Neuman

Al Feldstein , Mad magazine, Alfred E Neuman , comics, satire, American Dream,

Al Feldstein in 1972 © Photograph by Jerry Mosey/Associated Press

❚ THE CREATIVE GIANT WHO EDITED America’s most influential satirical magazine has died. From 1956 Al Feldstein took the circulation of Mad from 400,000 to a peak of 2,850,000, and spent 29 years not only making a young generation laugh but fearlessly challenging sacred cows and urging scepticism about the American Dream and its furshlugginer advocates (a not-Yiddish word invented for the purpose). One issue a few years ago contained contributions from ten Pulitzer-winning cartoonists. In creating an American institution, Feldstein paved the way for National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, South Park, The Onion – and for Britain’s Viz magazine, according to its editor Graham Dury, creator of the Fat Slags…

Al Feldstein , Mad magazine, Alfred E Neuman ,

Mad magazine’s trademark, the grinning gap-toothed Alfred E. Neuman created by Feldstein: as an American icon, he is the face of every cover star

➢ The soul of Mad magazine dies at 88 –
by Bruce Weber in the New York Times:

The founding editor, Harvey Kurtzman, established its well-informed irreverence, but Al Feldstein gave Mad its identity as a smart-alecky, sniggering and indisputably clever spitball-shooter of a publication with a scattershot look, dominated by gifted cartoonists of wildly differing styles.

In his second issue, Mr Feldstein seized on a character who had appeared only marginally in the magazine — a freckled, gaptoothed, big-eared, glazed-looking young man — and put his image on the cover, identifying him as a write-in candidate for president campaigning under the slogan “What, me worry?”
At first he went by Mel Haney, Melvin Cowznofski and other names. But when the December 1956 issue, No 30, identified him as Alfred E. Neuman, the name stuck.

He became the magazine’s perennial cover boy, appearing in dozens of guises, including as a joker on a playing card, an ice-skating barrel jumper, a totem on a totem pole, a football player, a yogi, a construction worker, King Kong atop the Empire State Building… Neuman signaled the magazine’s editorial attitude, which fell somewhere between juvenile nose-thumbing at contemporary culture and sophisticated spoofing… / Continued at NYTimes

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➢ He was not a warm and fuzzy guy –
David Colker in the LA Times:

The goofy, cartoon face of Alfred E. Neuman looked out from the cover of Mad magazine for decades in various guises, always with the same message: “What, Me Worry?”

“He looked like a boob, but he had a very interesting philosophy,” said Al Feldstein, who as editor built Mad from near-obscurity in the 1950s into a satirical powerhouse, “meaning no matter how bad things get, if you maintain a sense of humor, you can get through it.” Under Feldstein, who edited Mad from 1956 to 1984, the magazine skewered presidents, the Cold War, the tobacco industry, Madison Avenue advertising, Hollywood and numerous other targets. And its legacy from that time lives on.

“Basically, everyone who was young between 1955 and 1975 read Mad,” comedy writer/producer Bill Oakley said in the book The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. “That’s where your sense of humor came from… / Continued in LA Times

Mad magazine, Alfred E Neuman, Lego issue ➢ Today, Mad is published by DC Entertainment – The latest issue No 526 is the Lego issue (right), after the number one movie in America.

➢ 15 things Mad magazine gave the world:

Comics in the 50s didn’t encourage people to question anything – everything was more about being pleasant and not rocking the boat. Mad came along and started picking holes in the American Dream, suggesting the products Americans were buying were crap, their leaders were clueless and that the people were being treated like dicks. These days everyone’s a cynical bastard, but Mad invented it… / Continued at Anorak online

➢ The UK edition of Mad Magazine, published by Thorpe and Porter, began in 1959 – Over the years there were a number of UK sourced covers and sometimes UK produced interior stories. View a few Mad UK covers from the 1970s with such topics as British Rail, Doctor Who, the Royal Family… even the long-running TV soap opera Coronation Street.

Mad magazine, Alfred E Neuman , comics

Feldstein’s spirit still alive and well in recent issues of Mad

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➤ Another emotional gem on Spandau’s long walk to freedom

Soul Boys of the Western World, interview, Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Austin, premiere, movie, pop music,

Spandau Ballet’s post-gig interview at SXSW in Texas: Steve Norman finds the humour in St John Keeble’s healing homilies

❚ NOT TO BE MISSED! Freshly posted at YouTube is yet another heart-on-sleeve prequel to Spandau Ballet’s promised Reconciliation and Redemption tour. A group interview on video unexpectedly becomes a very moving and positive expression of the band’s solidarity as friends. Famously “sticky moments” from the kamikaze wrecking of the band at the height of its success and the atomic fall-out during the 90s are glancingly referred to in the spirit of mild self-flagellation. The five musicians who defined Britain’s New Romantic movement are discussing Soul Boys of the Western World, their warts-and-all documentary biopic premiered last month at SXSW, the cool new-media festival at Austin in Texas.

“The film is pretty honest and hard for us to watch at times,” says songwriter Gary Kemp. “You can see in the film I was a bit precious.”

“That Kray twin moment [a reference to the Kemps making a feature film about the Krays in 1990]: for me that’s really embarrassing cos me and Gary’s answer is really conceited, but that’s who we were at the time,” says brother and bass player Martin. “The film lets us examine where we went wrong.”

SOUL BOYS SET FOR CANNES

The Spandau Ballet documentary that proved a hit at SXSW in March, is to be screened to buyers at the ➢ Cannes Marché next month, handled by UK sales company Metro International

“We’re human, we didn’t always get it right, we were young kids thrust into the limelight,” says singer Tony Hadley.

“We went through that terrible time facing each other in court at one point,” says instrumentalist Steve Norman. “It was awful. I put my saxophone on the top shelf and didn’t want anything to do with it for about four or five years cos it was symbolic of Spandau.”

Throughout the interview St John of the Drums emerges as the Kentish Town savant with a healing prayer for the sins that destroyed lifelong friendships between the five soulboys. “You can’t be revisionist,” Keeble observes. “It was a major thing when we got back together five years ago. You cannot unknow stuff that’s gone on but I think everyone felt in their hearts that it was now better to focus on the future. The whole world’s still in front of us.”

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➢ Why the trailer for Soul Boys of the Western
World stops you in your tracks

What’s sad from a fan’s perspective is that the live gig in Texas which followed the film’s screening was the first and only time Spandau have played together since their year-long Reformation tour ended in 2010. That comeback tour was a sensational success, just as this gig has proved to be. The video interviewer, writer Lori Majewski, called Spandau a formidable live band: “I was surprised how tight you guys were, how great the live show was!” Entertainment Weekly reported the gig exuding “a rare atmosphere for a very youth-centrict fest, and a truly inspired musical moment – not bad for a bunch of fifty-somethings”.

The documentary has received keen reviews for its sole use of vintage footage and director George Hencken’s intelligent deployment of the band’s hit tunes from the 80s. The SXSW interview also reveals that at the 1985 Live Aid concert Steve Norman shot some under-cover footage backstage where cameras officially weren’t allowed. John Keeble remarks on the amount of original footage in their movie which the band themselves had never seen before – much shot by Martin Kemp as a Super8 enthusiast – while there’s plenty more footage that didn’t make the cut. So come on, lads. Let’s stage a premiere for the Spandau out-takes.

Click on video title above, then scroll to No 7 in the playlist

❏ This meeting of travellers at a crossroads in Austin has all the signs of a mystical resurrection sent from heaven, yet we’re told a Spandau tour is unlikely to happen this side of New Year. How patient must fans be? They had to wait three years for this film to be finished, having evolved naturally from a gifted film-maker recording the Reformation tour.

Two superb books on Spandau have been in preparation for years: one, a smart limited edition photobook, still awaits a strategic publication date to support a career jump-start.

The other was commissioned ten years ago, yes ten, in a wishful gesture of reconciliation while band members roamed the wilderness of solo careers. The showbiz writer Paul Simper was rightly deemed the only person qualified and trusted to capture the fascinating inside story of Spandau Ballet. His manuscript was revised five years ago to boost the Reformation tour, then publication was postponed in order to embrace the selfsame Reformation tour. His gripping text is far more thorough than many rock biogs because of the extraordinary times it describes and the wide-ranging context his research has captured. Currently, Simper is re-retuning his words which could become the book-of-the-film – once the film is given a release date. “Hearing the band talk so eloquently and emotionally gives me new impetus,” he said today. “It’s thrilling to hear them looking to the future.”

For the fans camped at the tiny Oasis of Hope, the road to truth and reconciliation for the band who’ve been pals since schooldays is a long one, as it has been for post-apartheid South Africa, and for Ireland since partition. But y’know, those two were nations with histories riven by British politics. Not a chart-topping pop group. Why doesn’t somebody ask Jerry for his Final Word then we can all get back to the music?

SPANDAU BALLET LIVE AT SXSW 2014

AND AT THE LOU REED TRIBUTE AT SXSW

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Curtain up on Spandau’s rollercoaster saga of war and peace

CHEEKY CHAPPIES: THE WAY THEY WERE IN ’81

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➤ Calling fashionistas for their tales of Spandau Ballet in the New Romantic 80s

Spandau Ballet, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Liverpool Empire, 1982, Diamond Tour, fans,

IS THIS YOU? May 8, 1982: A teenage fan shins the drainpipe at the Liverpool Empire giving access to Spandau Ballet’s dressing room on their first nationwide tour with the Diamond album. Snapped by © Shapersofthe80s

❚ WERE YOU A FAN of Spandau Ballet in the 1980s? Here’s an appeal for your experiences from a reputable documentary film-maker…

We are looking to speak to people who lived through the early years of the band’s success in the 80s for a BBC 4 documentary on the history of music and fashion in post-war Britain.

We are particularly interested in hearing from people who took fashion inspiration from them and the New Romantics scene and may still have some clothing from that period. If you can identify with this and wouldn’t mind speaking to a member of the team about your experiences please contact Lucy Joyner: ljoyner [ a t ] oxfordscientificfilms.tv

Spandau Ballet, Blitz Kids, New Romantics,  1982, Diamond Tour, Martin Kemp, fans, Gary Kemp,Steve Norman, Tony Hadley, Peter Capaldi

Unrivalled adulation in the early 80s: Tony Hadley faces the audience during Spandau Ballet’s Diamond tour of 1982. Photograph by © Shapersofthe80s

DID YOU WITNESS POP HISTORY IN THE MAKING?

❏ Who are the two Liverpool music fans so keen to meet their idols that they shinned the drainpipe at the Empire theatre leading to the dressing room of Spandau Ballet, Britain’s premier New Romantic band of the 80s? After knocking on the window, the girls achieved their goal when bass player Martin Kemp helped them to safety inside.

The year was 1982. Spandau’s seventh single Instinction had put them on Top of the Pops during Easter week and sales were rocketing. The night of May 8, towards the end of Spandau’s first nationwide tour, with stand-up comedian Peter Capaldi in support, has become known as The Return of the Scream. The moment the house lights dimmed, a mighty roar lifted the roof off the Empire, the city’s legendary music venue. It didn’t stop for 75 minutes. The band hadn’t heard anything so intense and were visibly shaken when they came offstage. Guitarist Gary Kemp said in disbelief: “I had to stop playing. I couldn’t hear my own monitor.”

What we had all witnessed was the return of the true teenybop scream, the continuous bellow from the lungs, little heard since the days of the Beatles. Security men and women were clearly caught out by the pandemonium as they wrestled to persuade the screamers back to their seats. One Empire veteran said that night he’d heard nothing like it since the Bay City Rollers in the mid-1970s.

A crowd of at least 500 fans surrounded the stage door afterwards and a shadow had only to fall across a dressing-room window for the scream to start again in the street. Two girls then decided to shin the drainpipe and beat the second-storey window with their handbags until they were let in.

Police with batons eventually arrived and the band managed to escape through the front doors of the theatre, but only after two decoy departures had been staged. Even so, in the murderous dash through the crowd packing the pavement, saxophonist Steve Norman lost a bracelet and singer Tony Hadley a chunk of his scalp. As their coach pulled away, I was stranded on the kerb photographing the mayhem.

Spandau Ballet, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Liverpool Empire, 1982, Diamond Tour, Martin Kemp, fans, Gary Kemp,Steve Norman, Tony Hadley, Peter Capaldi

Inside the Liverpool Empire, May 8, 1982: fans shocked security staff with the roar that greeted Spandau Ballet. Photograph by © Shapersofthe80s

Spandau Ballet, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, ,1980,Scala Cinema, concert,OMM,pop music,
➢ An early Spandau Ballet date at the Scala cinema described above in The Blitz Kids and the birth of the New Romantics – in the Observer Music Magazine 2009

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