Category Archives: North America

2015 ➤ Weird and wonderful new Bowie – his Blackstar man is set to blow our minds

David Bowie, pop music, video, Blackstar, starman, album, Johan Renck

Blackstar: Bowie being messianic and ghoulish

◼ SET ASIDE 10 MINUTES AND HOLD YOUR BREATH. David Bowie’s first video for his January album is titled in plain English Blackstar, though the album itself is titled ★ following the Princely principle of symbols. The video is ghoulish, disturbing, eerie, messianic, ritualistic, jazzy, baffling – and a little mousey. His tale of a starman’s legacy out there in a faraway galaxy is musically immaculately orchestrated and makes compelling viewing and listening. It will have the geeks mining for references in its overwrought and folksy narrative. A momentarily real-world Bowie actually thumbs his nose at us singing “You’re the flash in the pan/ I’m the great I am!” yet the overall gist seems relentlessly morbid and we’re not helped by not being able to catch crucial lyrics, which for a music video is a drawback.

Directed by the Swedish music video maestro Johan Renck and premiered last night on Palladia TV, it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. Natch.

➢ Blackstar is also pre-bookable on vinyl

David Bowie, pop music, video, Blackstar, starman, album, Johan Renck

➢ Nov 23: “We were listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar,” says producer Tony Visconti. “The goal was to avoid rock & roll” – Rolling Stone reveals all about ★ the album

➢ “As a taster for the forthcoming album, it works perfectly” – Alex Petridis reviews the single Blackstar in The Guardian:

The influence of latterday Scott Walker still appears to be making itself felt in the lyrics – they’re elliptical, filled with images of fear and death (“Take your passport and shoes and your sedatives”) and clearly just waiting to be unpicked by the more dedicated Bowiephile – but the music drifts episodically: from an ambient opening to vocals floating mournfully over a jerkily propulsive drum pattern and synthesisers squelching in vaguely acid houseish style to a sax solo to a beautiful, slow middle section with both a lovely melody and electronically-treated backing vocals. . .

David Bowie, pop music, video, Blackstar, starman, album, Johan Renck



1980s ➤ The Ridgers lens lays bare the pursuit of love

The Others, Derek Ridgers, Idea Books, youth culture, nightlife, London, Swinging 80s, Dover Street Market, photography, style,

London 1984: if this is you, come to the party! Photo © Derek Ridgers

◼ IF THIS PHOTO SHOWS YOU perfecting the horizontal jig in a London club in 1984, you’ll find yourselves immortalised in the latest book by photographer Derek Ridgers, titled The Others. The collection captures young love in all its clubland guises and if you spot yourself in this gallery why not email info [a t] and ask to come to the London launch this Thursday, 19 Nov?

Between 1980 and 1986 Ridgers and his candid lens couldn’t help following the pursuit of romance among the lovers, the loveless, the lonely and the last to leave in nightclubs as disparate as Gossip’s, Planets, Great Wall, Batcave, Feltham Football & Social Club, Flick’s, Lyceum, Le Beat Route, Camden Palace, Taboo and many more.

These snogging couples represent Britain’s many subcultural tribes who expressed distinct affinities in the early 80s through personal style and musical tastes. The book’s foreword says its intriguingly contradictory title describes the “other” clubbers who had enough attitude *not* to get rejected by the greeters on the doors of London’s finest clubs. It would make more sense to call these kids The Chosen Ones. Once inside a club, however, they got their priorities right and relegated posing into second place behind the down-to-earth goal that was really on their minds.

The Ridgers images capture all the fun and frailty and the frissons of exploring your youthful identity among like-minded tribalists in ways the publisher was probably trying to nail: a sense of “otherness” that characterised many subcultures in that austere and intolerant era. Whether brave or tentative, outsiders or players, they were helping shift attitudes in dark and stylish cellars across the land. They re-energised Britain by mobilising the talents in which the young excel: through music, clothes, haircuts and romance.

The Others is priced £35 for 124 pages in a limited edition exclusively available at Dover Street Market London and New York, Ginza and the Comme des Garcons Trading Museum in Paris, as well as Marc Jacobs’ Bookmarc stores in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris and Tokyo. And online from Idea Books.

The Others, Derek Ridgers, Idea Books, youth culture, nightlife, London, Swinging 80s, Dover Street Market, photography, style,

Big hair, 80s-style: Mohican and his captive. Photo © Derek Ridgers


2015 ➤ Another three days inside the head of Shia LaBeouf

film, Shia LaBeouf, Rönkkö, Luke Turner , art,#allmymovies , metamodernism

Dozing off: Shia LaBeouf viewing #allmymovies this week in NYC

film, Shia LaBeouf, Rönkkö, Luke Turner , art,#allmymovies , metamodernism

Click pic to watch Shia viewing #allmymovies

◼ ZZZZZZ!!!!! You may have just missed the latest immersive real-time art project from the compelling marriage of Hollywood and bleeding-edge European art, as manifested by the LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner collaboration.

Shia LaBeouf, the very #Iamsorry Californian film star with artsy pretensions, has just spent three days in New York City inviting fans to sit with him through #allmymovies – or at least, all those he has made in the past two years with the ex-St Martin’s luminaries Nastja Säde Rönkkö (Finland) and Luke Turner (GB) under the banner of metamodernism. (In May Central Saint Martin’s graduates enjoyed the LRT treatment of this year’s highly metamodern BA degree show with a live stream of #introductions in which Shia declared “Something has happened. Beauty is at work”.)

This week’s live stream from NYC finished last night but you can still catch up with Shia’s ordeal at New Hive or take the easier route by viewing individual projects at the LRT campaign website.

film, Shia LaBeouf, Rönkkö, Luke Turner , art,#allmymovies , metamodernism

Sharing a metamodern joke recently: LaBeouf (centre) with Turner and Rönkkö

➢ Update 17 Nov – Best bits from a remarkably dull interview with the artists afterwards:


Several times in the interview, LaBeouf and his collaborators discuss the elitism of the art world. However, as LaBeouf asserts, it’s an attitude prevalent in the film industry, too. “The movie world is just as elitist. I get emails from people in the movie world, people telling me, ‘You gotta maintain mystery.’ But truth will always find its way out there. Sincerity is the new punk rock.”


“Despite battling with those negative feelings beforehand, afterwards it was clear that the effects of the project were entirely positive. “I walked out loving myself,” he says. “Not in some grandiose, ‘You’re fucking awesome’ way, but like (I was) part of a community. You’re a part of this human thing. You’re in this human thing. I’ve always felt as though, ‘I’m just an animal in this human thing. And I’ll play the human game. I’ll wear the human mask.’ But coming out of there, it’s the first time I’ve actually felt part of this – it was very humanising for me. I walked out loving myself.”

➢ Read a handy overview of last winter’s #Iamsorry performance at Dazed online

➢ Oh, the irony: famous pop star also says #Iamsorry


2015 ➤ Pitch now to make a video for Duran’s slinky come-back party single

Pressure Off, Paper Gods, Duran Duran, album, video,UK tour, US tour

Duran reignited for 2015: Roger Taylor drums, John Taylor bass, Nick Rhodes keyboards, Simon Le Bon vocals. (Photograph by Stephanie Pistel)

◼ FILM-MAKERS AND CREATIVE TYPES, Duran Duran are talking to you! Deadline for pitching your treatment to make a new lyric video is Sunday 28 June. When they threw out a free-for-all invitation in 2011, dozens of brilliant music videos resulted from people adapting classic Duran tracks. Now DD are trying something similar for their single Pressure Off, the first from a new album, in another video collaboration with Genero TV – click now to apply.

In September, after a gap of nearly five years, the former house band of the Brummie Rum Runner club’s New Romantic scene launch a new studio album – Paper Gods, their 14th. As part of a recording deal with Warner Bros Records, the album starts the next chapter in the Duran story, and features a host of A-list collaborators who include Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Mr Hudson, Janelle Monáe, John Frusciante, Kiesza and Davide Ross.

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
2011, Ten killer videos made as tributes
to Duran’s return to creativity

Duran Duran,Pressure Off, Janelle Monae,pop music

Pressure Off features Janelle Monáe

“We found a whole new level of inspiration on this album,” says the band’s keyboardist and aesthetic overlord, Nick Rhodes. “We were talking the other day about artists that have been around for a long time – our contemporaries and some older ones, and there’s only a handful of the latter now, still out there playing shows. And we were saying, ‘What albums did they make this far down the line that we own?’ And that was a difficult one.”

DD seem convinced that this album will be one of the most visceral and daring of their career. A senior editor at Yahoo Music has already given Pressure Off a rave review, saying: “The sexy, slinky, all-around groovy party track is the legendary group’s best single in years. . . The remix-ready cut sounds fresh and modern, even as it traffics in D2’s tried-and-true signature sounds: super-Chic chickenscratch guitars, thick ’n’ gooey basslines, sassy soul-sister backup vocals, irresistibly effervescent chants.” Listen now at YouTube and you decide (no prizes for linking the cocktail of images with DD classic hits). Pre-order Duran Duran’s Paper Gods on iTunes and get an instant download of Pressure Off.

➢ Duran Duran 2015 tour dates at their own website – The four-man Duran line-up is set to headline at Bestival, in the UK, in September, and a trickle of European tour dates kicked off this week in Barcelona and The Hague, following up with the US and UK before climaxing in December.

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
1981, Birth of Duran’s Planet Earth — when other people’s faith put the Brummies into the charts


➤ A Duranie showers praise on Spandau’s Soul Boys gig in Los Angeles

Spandau Ballet , Soul Boys of the Western World, US Tour, pop music, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Swinging 80s,

Streaming live: old romantics Spandau Ballet paying the Wiltern, Los Angeles, on Sunday night. Screengrab © Yahoo/Live Nation

➢ VIEW Yahoo’s online stream of Spandau Ballet’s Sunday concert at Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles (initially on a continuous loop but later reduced to clips)

➢ Update 28 Jan: View Spandau Ballet’s number Only When You Leave from Yahoo’s stream of last Sunday’s concert at Wiltern Theatre

Spandau Ballet , Soul Boys of the Western World, US Tour, pop music,
➢ Oh the irony! At the ultimate Duran Duran fansite, Rhonda reviews Spandau Ballet live in Los Angeles 2015

I have to give Spandau credit: they are the real deal. They PLAY… and any backing used is incredibly minimal compared to many other bands. Tony Hadley has a better voice live than nearly any vocalist I’ve ever heard, and I’m sure the Jack he used for toasting the audience does nothing to hurt him, either. I can’t really say enough about Tony’s vocal talent OR the rest of the band. Steve Norman is a sax GOD, not to mention a world-class percussionist, of course Gary and Martin Kemp are the backbone of the band along with John Keeble on drums.

There was something really heartwarming as I watched fans scream with glee as Tony broke into Chant No 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On) or the way the entire audience sang True with the band. . . As we waited in line outside, I halfway listened as the people in back of us talked about the trek they were making to follow the band on their tour across the country, and how they talked about members of the band as though they were old friends. It reminded me so much of the “relationship” Duran fans have with the band. As much as we might be different – Spandau fans and Duran fans – we’re really the same. . . / Continued online at the Daily Duranie

Spandau Ballet,Daily Duranie , Soul Boys of the Western World, John Taylor, Martin Kemp

Duranspan or is it Spanduran? The New Romantics John Taylor and Martin Kemp in 1985