Tag Archives: New Romantics

A Strangely Steve farewell: the funeral video, 2015

◼ HERE IS THE FULL TEXT of the first celebrity eulogy at Steve Strange’s funeral, given by Spandau Ballet sax player, Steve Norman. (An earlier address had been given by ‘Kimbo’, a local friend, who was almost inaudible inside the church.) The audio quality generally was too poor to publish more than the short clip of Steve that you hear in the funeral video, above, created by Shapers of the 80s.

Steve Norman’s voice faltered in the most touching way because he was feeling strong emotions and apparently speaking spontaneously.

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The Steves Strange and Norman: friends to the end

NORMSKI’S SPEECH: ‘HE HELPED SHAPE THE 80S’

In full, he said: “A lot has been said since Steve passed about his contribution to the pop culture and how he helped to shape the 80s. We wished a few more people had said it when he was around. Steve needed that affirmation of how much he was loved.

“He was a very generous man, but first and foremost he was my friend. I’ve known Steve since the 70s. He took myself and Martin Kemp under his wing. We didn’t have any money back then and he took us to all the groovy places in London back in the 70s and early 80s when things weren’t really happening at all, but Steve found out what was going on, took us there and paid for everything and our drinks, whatever we wanted, and we had a great time. And that relationship lasted all throughout his life – we were very close to the end.

“The last time I spoke to Steve was before Christmas and he called up and he was a little distraught and we had a mutual friend he’d fallen out massively with, and Steve was worried I might take the other side. I reminded him of the early days and what he did for myself and how he was always there. He would turn up at my parents’ house for a cup of tea and a chat – he loved people and really needed to connect with people.

“I remember saying to him I love you dearly and he said he loved me. And I put the phone down – and he hadn’t put it down properly and I heard him telling somebody ‘Ah, I love Steve and Steve loves me.’ He was so sensitive. It was a great comfort that I could tell him how much I loved him.

“He was a very sensitive, generous, caring, special human being with a massive heart.”

BOY GEORGE’S POEM FOR STEVE STRANGE

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Steve Strange and Boy George: “first-class show-off, 
fellow freak”. (Photo by Yui Mok)

❏ Even though the service took place in a high Anglican church, George O’Dowd wore his cap throughout. He adjusted the microphone before declaiming= his eulogy which took the form of a poem, saying: “I’ve known Steve some time so I’ve written a few things. . . you might not have heard in a church before.”

Life asked Death
why do people love you but hate me?
Death responded:
because you are a beautiful lie
and I am a painful truth
.

Goodbye Steve,
part-time nemesis, 
rogue, 
glam rocker, 
punk rocker,
new romantic, 
old romantic,
first-class show-off, 
fellow freak,
beautiful gay man, 
seminal pop star,
wrecking ball, 
costume ball, 
masked ball,
futurist, 
fashionista,
Blitz Kid, 
blitzkrieg,
Welshman, 
wild card, 
weirdo,
sister, 
sinner, 
saint,
whirling, 
swirling, 
in your warpaint.

If you pray
all your sins are hooked upon the sky.
Pray and the heathen lie will disappear.
Prayers they hide
the saddest view.
(Believing the Steve Strangest thing,
loving the alien)

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
All on one website – the tidal wave of tributes that
have flooded in for Steve Strange

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➤ Today’s pix from Steve Strange’s funeral

◼ EXCLUSIVE VIDEO FOOTAGE coming soon at Shapersofthe80s.com. . .

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Steve Strange’s funeral, Porthcawl, Wales

Grief was all too evident throughout today’s funeral in Wales for Visage frontman Steve Strange. Here Martin and Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet contemplate lifting the coffin, as pall-bearers. . . Two pop stars made eulogies at the service. As a close friend of Strange, Spandau sax player Steve Norman said: “A lot has been said since Steve passed about the pop culture and how he shaped it in the 80s. We wish a few more people had said it when he was around.”

Steve Norman , Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Martin Kemp , Steve Strange, funeral, Boy George, Wales, Stephen Harrington

Steve Strange’s funeral, Porthcawl, Wales

Here Steve Norman and Martin Kemp help carry Steve Strange’s coffin back to the hearse after his funeral service today. Boy George’s feet can be seen in silver trainers. In his eulogy George, who wore a flat cap throughout the high Anglican church service, described Steve as “a part-time nemesis, new romantic, old romantic, futurist fashionista, Welshman, weirdo, sister, saint and sinner”.

❏ Curious fact: On the funeral’s Order of Service Steve Strange’s real name Stephen Harrington was revealed to be spelt with “ph”. Since our paths first crossed, he had always spelt his own name as Steven with a V. It’ll take a while for us to correct the many mentions of his name here at Shapers of the 80s.

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
All on one website: the tidal wave of tributes that have
flooded in for Steve Strange

FRONT PAGE

➤ Steve Strange’s family ask fans to respect his funeral service

 Steve Strange, Steven Harrington, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, funeral, Wales, Tanya Harrington

Steve Strange in Wales with his sister Tanya

◼ THURSDAY 12 MARCH HAS BEEN SET as the date for Steven Harrington’s funeral, known to most of us as Steve Strange, the singer frontman for the 80s pop group Visage. Plans for the day are now different from earlier reports, as his family have been overwhelmed by the public response to Steve’s sudden death from a heart attack in Egypt. Shapers of the 80s has received more than 21,000 visits since publishing the many moving tributes by Steve’s friends among the original Blitz Kids.

Steve Strange, Steven Harrington, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, funeral, Wales, mother

Steve Strange at home with his mother Gill who is renowned for her cooking

Today, the person coordinating all the arrangements, Steve’s personal assistant and family friend Amanda Lloyd, has asked us to set out the family’s wishes, after rather exaggerated claims by friends were reported at Wales Online and were taken up by other national media.

The family remain shocked by the suddenness of Steve’s death. Amanda says: “It was so unexpected. I miss him terribly. A lot of other people are missing him, he was such a lovely guy.”

She admits the flamboyant side of Steve would probably be pretty pleased with all the attention the past fortnight has generated but she stresses that Steve’s family hope the church service won’t become a media event. It is intended to be an intimate celebration of his life for his family and for Steve’s close personal friends, such as musicians Martin and Gary Kemp and Steve Norman, who wish to attend. Essentially, invitation-only friends will be name-checked on the door. (Amanda asks Steve’s friends who wish to attend to contact her in advance directly or via Shapers of the 80s.)

“Steve’s family hope the church service
won’t become a media event”

A loudspeaker relay outside the church will enable members of the public to follow the service and those who wish to gather there are asked to respect the solemnity of the occasion – which might be a hard ask for some crazier members of Steve’s following! One highlight, Amanda says, will be the award-winning Bridgend male voice choir singing in both Welsh and English.

 Steve Strange, Steven Harrington, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, funeral, Porthcawl, wake, Hi Tide Inn

Hi Tide Inn: venue for the wake

The free event that is open to the public follows in mid- afternoon at the huge Hi Tide Inn on the sea-front at Porthcawl. Members of Steve’s current band will be playing the music of Visage as a tribute, while screens will show his life on film. Amanda says: “Steve would have wanted his fans to enjoy a celebration of his life.” But let’s all remember that the occasion is a wake after all, and to respect the privacy of a family in mourning and of the close friends who are being invited into a secure area at the inn.

A larger event in tribute to Steve is likely to follow in central London around the time of his birthday in May, but details have not yet been confirmed.

FUNERAL SERVICE FOR
STEVEN JOHN HARRINGTON 1959–2015

Thursday 12 March 2015
12.30pm at All Saints Church, Victoria Avenue, Porthcawl CF36 3HE, Wales

THE WAKE

3pm at Hi Tide Inn, Mackworth Road, Porthcawl CF36 5BT, Wales
(tel 01656 782432)


Previously at Shapersofthe80s

➢ Nowt so Strange as Steven John Harrington,
28 May 1959–12 Feb 2015

➢ Steve Strange RIP: the great provocateur who led from the front and inspired a generation

➢ 1982, Read how London’s leading club host flies off to Paris with six British designers who helped create his image

➢ 1983, At Strange & Egan’s Camden Palace
a silly hat and a calculated look might be the best career move you’ve ever made

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2015 ➤ TV doc pits Boy George versus the rest in Culture Club reunion

Boy George, Mikey Craig, Roy Hay, Jon Moss, Culture Club, documentary, TV, Mike Nicholls, reunion, album, New Romantics

Culture Club 2015 style: fractious and bickering, as ever

◼ IN THE EARLY 1980s, Culture Club fronted by the gender-bending Boy George was one of the six British supergroups which dominated pop charts around the world. They won a Brit Award and a Grammy, notched up ten top 40 hits and sold 50 million records before they disbanded in 1986 after George fell victim to drug addiction. A brief reunion around the millennium yielded a tour and an album that didn’t even make the top 40.

Since then temperamental George invested time as a club deejay and in 2009 served time as a jailbird for “falsely imprisoning” and beating a male escort with a metal chain. Other attempted band reunions proved abortive, until the past year when a new album titled Tribes was written though it seemingly cannot be released until funds have been raised through a crowd-sourcing website. This year the deadline for pre-orders was extended to the end of March. And you thought George was millionaire pop royalty living on his royalty stream! Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Meanwhile, 21 putative tour dates for Culture Club in the UK and US had been cancelled because, according to George, a polyp was found on one of his vocal chords. No mention was made of the state of advance ticket sales. So far so bad.

On Friday 6 March BBC4 is scheduled to screen a documentary titled Boy George and Culture Club: Karma to Calamity. Director Mike Nicholls was given unique access and witnessed a fractious band reunion in George’s London home to write new material. From then on, all is chaos (and parental guidance is advised throughout). Under George’s headstrong leadership, tensions from their past emerged and faultlines developed further when the band spent two weeks together in Spain. Relations became even more strained when George and the band signed to separate managers. If these business partners pitched for Dragons’ Den using this film, they’d be sent back to busking on the streets.

George O'Dowd, culture Club, pop music

George quoted at the Culture Club website

BBC publicity says the hour-long film turns over “the band’s troubled past, examining the themes of success, fame and ego”, which means this is likely to be one for diehard fans only. OK, and voyeurs who want the inside track on the always frought love affair between George and drummer Jon Moss, who today is happily married. In one revealing scene online, Jon himself says: “I fell I love with him, he happened to be a man. We were instantly attracted to each other. It was very exciting.” Guitarist Roy Hay adds the reality check: “I just wanted to be in a band and have fun. I ended up in a ******* homosexual drama. The fighting was the problem.” So much for the glamour of life in pop’s fast lane.

❏ After an hour of tedious on-screen bickering, the closing captions read:
The tour needs to be rescheduled but the different managers can’t reach an agreement. Since the cancellation of the tour, George and the band are no longer speaking to each other. [Apart from George] the other band members have declined to be interviewed. The album release is on hold.

➢ View the Culture Club documentary on BBC iPlayer for the next week; or a selection of clips. (Parental guidance advised)

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Romance blossoms: Drummer Jon Moss gives George a peck at Planets club in July 1981 way before Culture Club existed. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
2010, Ex-jailbird George takes his first trancey steps on the path to sainthood

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
2010, Three key men in Boy George’s life, but why has TV changed some of the names?

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
2013, George still in denial over past misdeeds

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➤ Steve Strange talkative as ever in his last interview

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Steve’s tweet on 19 Jan: “Man overboard in the Red Sea”

◼ A VISAGE FAN HOLIDAYING in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt in mid-January asked Steve Strange for an interview and he gave one – his last, as far as we know. Maria Elliott from Huddersfield made the audio recording after she bumped into Steve by chance and realised they both had a love of Northern Soul and these are the reminiscences we can listen to after Maria submitted the recording to her community radio station PhoenixFM where she has become “part of the furniture”.

Maria says: “It was actually broadcast on the Thursday evening of his death before I found out. I was going to tweet Steve to tell him how he could listen to the show, then found out and was totally devastated.” Maria sent the audio file to Shapers of the 80s with the wish that it should reach Steve’s family along with her condolences.

LISTEN TO STEVE’S LAST INTERVIEW, JAN 2015

+++

She says: “My speech therapist put me in touch with Phoenix and the Parkinson’s disease society paid for me to attend a six-week course. Howard Priestley, who runs the station and presents a soul show on Thursdays 8–10pm, asked me to contribute to pre-recorded shows as I can’t really rely on my voice so Howard came up with the idea of recording little snippets and I sometimes call myself Missy Elliott.

“As for me and Steve, we loved the same music. In Egypt we were dancing on the top deck of this boat trip we were on, and we had a fab day.”

On Maria’s 11-minute recording we hear Steve loud and clear, talking 19 to the dozen, as ever. They discuss his teenage years hitch-hiking in pursuit of Northern Soul and how he became a dance champion. He also boasts about his fancy footwork impressing holidaymakers in Egypt: “Last night when I went out here I cleared the floor dancing. I can still move, but I can’t do the backflips.”

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Steve’s tweet on 15 Jan: with friends at his hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh

MORE PIX FROM THE HOLIDAY IN EGYPT

❏ Debra Hudson wrote to Shapersofthe80s, 23 Feb: “My husband and myself met Steve and Maria [Elliott, see above] on holiday in Egypt. We spent two weeks with Steve up to 28 January and we have some fab photos and a lovely letter he wrote to me. He has touched my heart with laughter and kindness. It was lovely hearing the interview with Maria. Can’t stop crying now. There’s also a picture of Steve in hospital wearing my scarf he took off me, saying that it will be famous one day. He was right. Here [below] are some photos I took and from friends we also met.”


➢ Also at Shapersofthe80s:
Original Blitz Kids pay tribute to Steve Strange, their host, pivot, style icon, friend

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