Category Archives: Social trends

2014 ➤ Spandau together again as their ‘surprise’ movie is slated for Texas premiere

Spandau Ballet, Botanic Gardens, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, Birmingham.

Kilted leaders of the New Romantics in 1980: Spandau Ballet plus their entourage of Blitz Kids travelled to Birmingham’s Botanic Gardens to play their eighth live date. (Photograph by Shapersofthe80s)

[Updated Feb 12]

❚ WITH A TITLE AS ZEALOUS AS any of their New Romantic songs from 1980, Soul Boys of the Western World is the documentary movie about the time Spandau Ballet became the musical leaders of London’s underground clubland. For two years they were the trendiest creatures on the planet as they reshaped British music and fashion, believe it. The 102-minute biopic is to be premiered on March 12 in the 24 Beats Section of the prestige new-media conference SXSW in Austin, Texas, running March 7–16. To complete the first reunion of the whole band since their 2010 tour ended, singer Tony Hadley will be flying out to join Gary, Martin, John and Steve at the screening.

Fans who imagine they can gate-crash, however, will be seriously stymied by the price of registration for the film programme which increases to $650 the later you book. Before travelling to Austin, Spandau fans are advised to ensure they have secured a ticket. Hints from the Spandau team suggest there may be more news soon.

Spandau Ballet, New York, Underground club, 1981

1981 footage found: Spandau’s first New York performance recovered after this cameraman was traced. Photographed by © Shapersofthe80s

The film contains no present-day pontificating from the band’s famously garrulous entourage of talking heads, only through vintage film footage telling their story as it unfolds. Steve Dagger, Spandau’s manager and its sixth member since the band was created and now the film’s co-producer, is impressed and excited by the extensive research which has been fanatically pursued for the past three years. Initiated by archive producer Kate Griffith, this has turned up many true gems of previously unseen footage even of the landmark “First Blitz invasion of America” with the Axiom fashion collective in 1981 which was located in only the past three months. Offcuts from footage of the band’s followers shot in Le Kilt club for BBC Newsnight were also discovered in a box that remained unopened for 30 years. There are also clips from the band’s home movies.

Songwriter Gary Kemp is over the moon at the painstaking finesse of the production led by Scott Millaney, one of the iconic producers of 80s pop videos. Kemp said last week: “People should be really knocked out by some of the material we’ve discovered.”

Director George Hencken aims to takes audiences through the cultural, political and personal landscapes of Britain as the Swinging 80s burst from the recessionary gloom of the 70s. Soul Boys Of The Western World explores life inside the bubble of global superstardom when British pop music ruled the world. Spandau Ballet themselves believe the film to be “a brutally honest story of how friendships can be won, lost and ultimately regained”.

documentary, film, Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Texas, premiere, pop music, Swinging 80s, London, fashion, nightclubbing, New Romantics, Blitz Kids,

Nomad warriors on the streets of north London, 1981: Spandau Ballet dressed for their Musclebound video. Martin Kemp called his the Mad Monk outfit. (Promotional pic for the documentary film, Soul Boys of the Western World)

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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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➤ Beeb turns Nightlife Andy into Dalston superstar

Andy Polaris,window displays, Christmas, shopping, London,BBC News, video

window displays, Christmas, shopping, London,BBC News, video

SW7 versus E8 – Harvey Nichols’ legendary windows and Oxfam’s in Dalston (© BBC)

❚ WHERE’S THE COOLEST CHARITY SHOP IN THE LAND? Dalston obviously, where the Oxfam shop on Kingsland Road in east London has become a destination thanks to its regular one-day sales of designer garments. Come Christmas, its volunteer Visual Display Manager finds himself in a BBC video head-to-head with the most famous shop windows in the land over at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge. It’s a case of East End boy versus West End twirls and the EastEnder in question is none other than Andy Polaris, former singer with 80s soulsters Animal Nightlife.

The BBC Magazine video shows how the award-winning team at Harvey Nix studies the seasonal fashion trends to arrive at a mood-board of imagery that then inspires their window displays for the all-important festive marketing push. In Dalston, by contrast, Andy turns to what’s currently in stock for inspiration and leads off on a theme of gold for his Christmas windows relying, he says, on “colour, light and perspective” – and a surprise last-minute donation.

Click any pic to launch carousel:


➢ Visit Oxfam Dalston at 514 Kingsland Rd, London E8 4AR, tel 020 7254 5318 (closed Sun)

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➤ The curious high-pressure timeline of Tom Daley’s coming out

Tom Daley,Plymouth, Zeros, gay club

Saturday night out: the Facebook page of Plymouth’s Zeros gay club pictures Tom Daley with their shot girl

❚ QUIZ QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Which of these statements came first?

1 – “Hello, is that The Sun? Would you be interested in a photo of Tom Daley at our local gay club in Plymouth?”

2 – “Hello Tom, Sun newsdesk here. Do you want to tell us what you were doing in Zeros club Plymouth on Saturday night?”

3 – [via Twitter] “Got something I need to say…not been an easy decision to make, hope you can support me! :) ”

❏ On Monday morning at 11 o’clock Britain’s 19-year-old Olympics diver Tom Daley posted his confessional video on YouTube telling the world he was “dating a guy”. The global media coverage has been massive and the video has clocked 6 million views in two days. In it he said: “In an ideal world I wouldn’t be doing this video because it shouldn’t matter. But recently I was misquoted in an interview and it made me feel really angry… Now I feel ready to talk about my relationships.” Throughout the brave five-minute video message, recorded on his own phone, he was understandably nervous, and by the end seemed palpably relieved.

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The interview that had angered him appeared in the Daily Mirror on September 8 when he was quoted denying the suggestion that he was gay.

EIGHT WEEKS PASS – THEN SUDDENLY…

At about 2am this Sunday, Dec 1, Tom Daley visits his hometown gay club Zeros with some friends and is photographed at the club with a shot girl, also described as a “drag artist”. That morning the photograph is published by Zeros nightclub on its Facebook page with the message: “Let’s hope Tom Daley survived meeting our very own J******* last night !!!” (The shot girl later complained about her picture being published).

At 1pm Sunday the first of several Facebookers shares the picture.

At 3pm Sunday Daley tweets “So lucky to have such a supportive mum! I love you!” and he posts a smashing picture of himself with Debbie Daley at Instagram.

Then at about 5pm Sunday Daley makes a special visit to his grandparents nearby in Devon to break his news to them, which they tell the Daily Mail the next day came “out of the blue”.

Early on Monday morning he tells the rest of his family. “I can count the number of people I’ve told on my hand,” he says.

At 11am Monday, Daley goes public with his video on YouTube. It is immediately reported by BBC News and the rest of the media and Daley is soon trending on Twitter.

At 7pm Monday The Sun, Britain’s biggest selling tabloid newspaper, is going to press with the detailed “exclusive” report for Tuesday’s issue revealing the name of the “Pop hunk pal who helped dive star come out”. The new news here claims that Daley was inspired to do so after “developing a close friendship with gay former S Club Juniors idol Aaron Renfree”. Mike Spencer, the gay TV producer of the Only Way is Essex, is reported to be another of Daley’s “close friends”. And a Zeros barman reports that while in the nightclub Tom was “not surprisingly being quite flirty”. Nowhere does The Sun cite Daley as a source of information.

It would have taken some very nifty footwork to pull that lot together had the Sun’s exclusive research been a same-day response to the video as breaking news!

Eight weeks had passed since the Mirror interview angered Tom. Yet suddenly within a single day this weekend our hero decided that he not only felt ready to share his secret with the world, but first had to share it at high speed with his mother, his grandparents, his extended family. Then record and upload. All with immaculate timing. Here was a man with a plan – though it’s hard not to believe pressure was being brought to bear on the teenage sports star to spill the beans. The Sun generously placed an editorial beside its exclusive report hailing Tom for his guts as the “diver who broke the news”.

Tom Daley

Tuesday’s Sun: inside story of his gay connections

Tom Daley

Tuesday’s Sun, Dec 3: photographs from Zeros nightclub where Daley posed with a barman and a shot girl

JUST FANCY THAT !

Tom Daley❏ Dec 4 update: The Sun follows through with a massive second chapter in the Daley outing saga by front-paging the name of Tom’s purported lover “who is almost 20 years his senior”, complete with pictures and quotes from “friends”. All the hallmarks of a major investigation to steamroller a celeb into making a “He’s so brave” confession in advance of publication. What choice did our hero have at the weekend? What better strategy could his management have endorsed?!

Jonathan Ross Show , ITV, Tom Daley, coming out,

Daley tells Wossy: “I’ve never felt anything like it” (on ITV next Saturday)

WOSSY SCOOPS THE TV INTERVIEW

Tom tells Jonathan Ross: “It was love at first sight. I’ve never felt anything like it – and I made the first move. At the end of the night I wrote in his notes with my number and put ‘call me’ with a wink face and then I had a text in the morning.”

“To be honest, everything is all pretty new and I don’t see any point in putting a label on it – gay, bi or straight.”

Tom Daley, coming out, Los Angeles, Lance Black

Sweatshirt day, T-shirt day: budding boyfies Tom and Lance papped in Los Angeles

A MASTERPLAN FALLS INTO PLACE

❏ Dec 5 update: BRILLIANT! The clockwork spins and the teen star sings – on TV, not in The Sun – confirming suspicions that a very sure-footed strategy to “protect the brand” has been executed by Team Daley. Tom, the Olympic Bronze medallist diver, is said to be worth £2m and is tipped to double that sum through sponsorship deals in the near future. At 19 he faces many more years of earning potential which PSG, his Weybridge-based management company, is committed to capitalising on, not putting at risk.

The complete absence of further Sun exclusives today, plus the choice of an interview on the A-List Jonathan Ross Show where again Tom speaks for himself without misrepresentation, plus last night’s exclusively leaked contents of the Ross interview just as the Mirror was going to press all indicate astute Team intelligence at work.

They knew the TV cook Nigella Lawson was going into the witness-box mid-week to account for her troubled marriage and would commandeer all newspaper front pages. They knew Daley was booked in soon for Ross’s TV chatshow and got him bumped up the queue onto this week’s recording. They have been nudged in recent weeks by The Sun to respond to rumours circulating about the boyfriend’s identity.

So in hindsight the Saturday night visit to a Plymouth gay club – accidentally on purpose lifting the lid on Tom’s private life – can be seen as the Brand Daley start-line for a three-day masterplan. He outs himself on Monday morning and comes out of it smiling while all The Sun could do in the wake of his statement was package its unconfirmed rumours for Tuesday’s paper with papped pictures and quotes from unnamed “friends”. Ross’s show wins the trusted follow-up interview because on TV Tom can speak for himself. Inevitably, its content cannot remain secret until the Saturday transmission at 10.45pm on ITV so, as The Sun’s rival tabloid, Wednesday’s Mirror is exclusively gifted advance text of Tom’s Tigger-like romantic revelations on TV, leaving all other papers to rehash them the next day.

Yet a mystery remains. Most curious of all is that in both the UK and the USA neither Tom nor his supposed lover Lance Black have yet to confirm themselves as partners. Throughout the Ross interview Tom talks emotionally about his new lease of life yet does not mention Lance by name, while going into intimate detail of how he, Tom, made the first flirtatious move. At his home off Sunset Boulevard, Lance unceremoniously rebuffs a Mail reporter.

Why are both men staying schtum on this score when Tom is so out and proud? The LA gay grapevine is convinced the pair are lovers, so might there be personal reasons? Rumour suggests that 39-year-old gay activist Lance Black (nobody calls him Dustin in LA) was in a long-term romance with his heart set on marriage when bushy-tailed Tom bounded into his circle. Tom might well have worked powerful magic but who can guess at the repercussions?

Let’s assume the Brand Daley Team will sensibly have reserved yet more fire power, to be released under its own terms when the next chapter unfolds.

Tom Daley, Lance Black, Los Angeles,

Transatlantic romance: “I didn’t know if he was gay,” says Tom

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➤ Who is the foot-stampiest nation of them all?

Twitter13,homepage
➢ BBC News reports: Computer program uses Twitter to ‘map mood of nation’
❏ “BRITISH SCIENTISTS HAVE DEVELOPED a computer program they say can map the mood of the nation using Twitter. Named Emotive, it works by accessing the emotional content of postings on the social networking site. The team, from Loughborough University, say it can scan up to 2,000 tweets a second and rate them for expressions of one of eight human emotions. They claim Emotive could help calm civil unrest and identify early threats to public safety…” / Continued at BBC online

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