Category Archives: TV

➤ Rock god Lovatt exits TV talent show with charisma intact

Jamie Lovatt, rock music

The performance: Jamie Lovatt gives his all on The Voice, March 8 © BBC

❚ THAT’S THE WAY TALENT CONTESTS CRUMBLE. One minute you’re flavour of the week. The next, you’re out. That’s the way Saturday primetime TV crumbles too. The show is called The Voice. It’s not called The Star. So although glam-rocker Jamie Lovatt radiated tons more charisma than the awkward bloke from the pub, Chris Royal, who was wearing his Auntie Mabel’s pinafore under his jacket, the bloke won this week’s vocalists face-off because apparently, according to coach Ricky Wilson, you “can’t learn the kind of emotion he can portray in a song”. (Even while wearing a pinafore and a twat-Kevin baseball cap back to front. In 2014! Per-lease!)

The pair were billed as Emotion vs Power and powerhouse Jamie was sent packing back to his band Romance, whose bookings have suddenly sky-rocketed thanks to his TV appearances, so that can’t be bad. Pop goddess Kylie did bid him goodbye saying: “Everybody’s going to fall in love with you. You already have it all. Run with it.” Fact is, Jamie has all the attitude to be the next Adam Lambert and a better rock voice than the falsetto bloke from the pub, so long as he chooses better rock songs by real rock writers than the Adele number he nobly had to get his vocal cords round on Saturday night.

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After Ricky the coach had passed verdict on which of his two protégés was staying in the contest, he totally bottled out of making eye contact with Jamie in their kissy-huggy moment of parting, and mumbled one of those reality-show platitudes: “Life is made of big decisions. You made a really big decision. I had to make one too.” He did look choked, to be fair for one second, but he did also look like the man who drowns kittens in a sack, and turned away utterly shame-faced. The best bit was Jamie’s flouncy exit during which the other three judges beamed benignly behind him and couldn’t take their eyes off his defiant strut.

Today, Jamie posted this equally defiant new cover of Paul Weller’s Brand New Start, videoed beneath chintz lampshades while perched on a cushion. Two fingers up to suburbia.

➢ Catch up on Saturday’s battle between Chris and Jamie who perform first on The Voice – on BBC iPlayer until April 12

➢ New UK gig dates at the website of Jamie’s band Romance

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: The Voice’s rock god Lovatt surprises Britain and shocks himself

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➤ Warts-and-all revelations now that Spandau want the truth to be known

Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, trailer, SWSW, premiere,biopic, pop music, New Romantics, Blitz Kids,

The defeated Norman, Keeble and Hadley outside the law court 1999: “You can see on our faces Spandau Ballet had just come to an end”

Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, trailer, SWSW, premiere,biopic, pop music, New Romantics, Blitz Kids,Gary Kemp, Tony Hadley

Hell freezes over as an interviewer asks: “Gary, you’ve been referred to as the driving force. What is the input of the others in the group?” Tony Hadley: “Ah-ha-ha!”

❚ WHAT A HAIR-SHIRT OF A TRAILER! Nettlesome would be a good word for the first glimpse we’ve been given this week of Soul Boys of the Western World, the warts-and-all biopic about the rise and fall (and rise again) of Spandau Ballet, which premieres next week at SXSW in Texas. The trailer rattles through the glorious birth pangs of a new fashion-and-music scene in the 80s and screeches to a standstill at the gaping open wound when the band decided in 1989 they really didn’t like each other any more.

➢ Click to view the trailer of
Soul Boys of the Western World

For 20 icy seconds hairs rise on the back of your neck. A direct question in a TV interview blows a hole in Spandau’s credibility – Tony Hadley simply laughs. Before a another interviewer, the Kemp brothers dissemble about their acting ambitions. After a battle over money, three band members leave the law court defeated. And lifelong friendships wither before our eyes. John Keeble said this year: “It’s very honest and very difficult. It’s a film about redemption.” By God, it had better be.

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Spandau confirms live reunion gig in Texas – for a tiny elite!

Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, trailer, SWSW, premiere,biopic, pop music, New Romantics, Blitz Kids,

“These guys talk funny, right?” – Best of friends since their schooldays, Spandau Ballet star on Soul Train in 1985, at the height of their American fame

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➤ The Voice’s rock god Lovatt surprises Britain and shocks himself

Jamie Lovatt

Moment of triumph on The Voice Feb 22: Kylie, Will, Ricky and Tom (in there somewhere), all wanting a piece of Jamie Lovatt. Screengrab © BBC

➢ Watch Jamie’s Voice performance in full plus the judges’ verdicts on BBC iPlayer until April 12 (scroll to 58 minutes)

❚ “I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS GOING to turn round and see this rock god dude!” said Kylie Monogue on The Voice UK on Saturday night. The dude in question had delivered his own steady but highly emotional and emphatically rock reinterpretation of Rozalla’s acid house smash Everybody’s Free to his own twangy Rickenbacker guitar. By his hollering climax the studio audience were on their feet and two of The Voice’s four celebrity coaches had spun their chairs in hopes of recruiting him: superstar Kylie Minogue and Ricky Wilson (“the bloke from Kaiser Chiefs”). Within minutes the dude had opted to join Ricky’s team as its final member, before the BBC TV talent contest’s real battles begin next week.

An hour after transmission he posted on Facebook: “Who saw me then eh? SURPRISE.” Jamie Lovatt, cocky 24-year-old face about Shoreditch where he runs a bar, was back. The frontman for the once glam-goth band Romance, since restyled as tribal “cabaret rockers”, had definitely stolen the show, even though the acts auditioning blind on Saturday were a cut above previous weeks, because most proved to be seasoned performers with terrific voices. This dude also looked like nobody else within miles – an eyeful of androgynous 80s glam, Jamie sported long blond hippy hair and eyeliner, a gold crocheted clingy top, snakeskin trousers and cowboy boots. His style is a fusion of Prince, Billy Idol and the 80s postpunk shamanists Death Cult, though the TV audience was spared his usual stage gambit of performing shirtless.

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For those of us who’ve known Jamie since he deejayed in London’s fashionable Neo Romantic clubs, the fierce TV act was a surprise metamorphosis from the once shy teenager (off-stage!), through the frenetic vocalist onstage with Romance, to this assured showcase cover version bursting with intense feeling which Kylie and the other coaches sensed immediately. Almost 90 seconds into the number, Ricky hit the voting button and six seconds later Kylie followed.

She was full of admiration: “I liked the emotion in your voice. I don’t know if you always sing like that but the fact that you have the ability to sing like that is very moving.”

What set Jamie’s interview apart was the sadness that brimmed within him as he told how Romance’s first lineup had been torpedoed by ill health and their four-album record deal was cancelled when the label dropped the band in 2011. “I lost management, I lost everything.” But not his faith to carry on.

The coaches rallied. Will-i-am said: “As far as getting dropped, guess what? They lost.” And the audience cheered. Tom Jones paid a couple of quiet complements that were evidently heartfelt. Ricky had been there himself: “I know what you’ve been through. I’m in a band… and we lost a record deal.” Lucky Jamie was able to pick which team to join and as he stepped from the stage it was noticeable how all four coaches crowded in for a piece of him. He’d been dignified, determined and, incredibly, said “Thank you” more times than you’d expect from a self-declared “lone wolf” rocker.

Some think a shiny-floor TV talent show might undermine a rock singer’s credibility, but Jamie is a 21st-century man and believes it’s the only way to crack the industry these days. He told The Sun: “People don’t think of someone like Jagger or Jim Morrison going on these shows but if you were to take them at the age they were discovered and have them living now, would that happen?”

Today was spent doing the rounds of the media as a hot TV property. What’s the question they were all asking? Answer: “How did it feel?” Jamie told Shapersofthe80s: “All I can say is it was surreal then, and from all the support I have received, it’s even more surreal now! Absolutely overwhelming, humbling and shocking. I can’t thank everyone enough… Didn’t think this would happen at all. I’m really moved!”

➢ Catch Jamie Lovatt and his new “glam-noir” lineup Romance Mk2 playing live in London during March and April

EVERYBODY’S FREE: BRIEF CLIP FROM THE VOICE

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➤ Happy 92nd to suave Avenger Patrick Macnee

Avengers, tv

Macnee and Hendry as The Avengers in episode one, Hot Snow, 1961: they set out to avenge the death of the fiancée of David Keel, played by Hendry

❚ DANIEL PATRICK MACNEE IS 92 TODAY – congratulations! And the keen nudist and actor best known as TV’s secret agent John Steed was spotted yesterday collecting the mail from from the end of his driveway in La Jolla, Southern California. Suave old Etonian Macnee, who became an American citizen in 1959, came eventually to define the spy series, The Avengers. Yet from its first episode in 1961 – broadcast live in black and white – the show’s initial incarnation was as a gritty cops-and-robbers drama, when Macnee played second fiddle to the uber-cool Ian Hendry, for whom the role of Dr David Keel was created.

As an in-demand star of film and TV, Hendry quit after the first 26 hour-long episodes when industrial action held up production, to star in the film Live Now, Pay Later. Macnee inherited the leading role and the rest is Swinging 60s history. His trenchcoat gave way to bowler, brolly and Pierre Cardin suit. The Avengers ran eight years until 1969, becoming jauntily more tongue-in-cheek and making stars of Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Linda Thorson as Steed’s assistant. Then a brief revival, The New Avengers (1976–77), saw Steed teamed with Joanna Lumley and Gareth Hunt whose careers also went stratospheric.

Handsome, sexy and compassionate, Ian Hendry was one of British television’s first idealised heroes. Health issues cut short his life at the age of 53, his last public appearance being on This Is Your Life, which reunited him with Macnee.

 ➢ 2011, the Quietus republished an interview with Patrick Macnee originally conducted in 1998 in which he said:

“The thing I’m really proud of is that I never carried a gun. I said that I wouldn’t carry one; when they asked me why, I said that I’d just come out of a world war in which I’d seen most of my friends blown to bits. In a way, I was politically correct at that time.”

Dame Diana Rigg, DBE, whose Avengers action woman Emma Peel from 1965 to 1968 proved the generator of a huge fan following, was once described by TV chat-show host Michael Parkinson as “a lustrous beauty”. Her range from comedy to serious drama puts her in the world-class league of respected British thespians. Last year she guested in two other cult TV series, Game of Thrones and Doctor Who, and today she still gives sharp and candid interviews at 75.

Avengers, tv

Diana Rigg and Macnee as The Avengers,1965–68: Emma Peel was equally at home in a Quant mini-skirt, a leather cat-suit or mod-girl outfits styled by John Bates

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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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