Braced for the Piers Morgan grilling: Martin Kemp (right) with Spandau manager Steve Dagger, Steve Norman and Shirlie Kemp. (Cam-tweet by Kemp cam)
❚ ALL THEREAL MARTIN KEMP tweeted last night was “#lifestories What a wonderful evening…. Thanks everyone!” Closely followed by Spandau Ballet pal Steve Norman Real tweeting: “I have arrived at the conclusion that @piersmorgan is actually a gentleman”!!! Closely followed by legendary gossip hack and TV host Piers Morgan tweeting: “Ssshhhh, you’ll ruin my reputation @SteveNormanReal”!!!
Four ropey backstage snaps were also tweeted from their respective camphones, but otherwise the Spandau camp were remaining tightlipped about what was revealed at Elstree Studios yesterday. Spandau bass player and TV star Martin (aka onetime EastEnders bad boy Steve Owen) had been a special guest for the new series of Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, and the two-hour recording has yet to be edited down to its final 40 minutes for broadcast very soon.
Morgan is the notorious former editor of Britain’s tabloid Daily Mirror, currently based in the United States, whose Life Stories are famous for wringing tears from at least 11 of his celebrity interviewees in front of live audiences, spiced up with video contributions from friends and family. A sort of This Is Your Life with the gloves off.
Today Martin remained tactful about how moist his grilling became: “It was a close-run thing… But it was so much fun.”
Morgan’s 10th series for ITV starts with Coronation Street’s former termagant Bet Lynch aka Julie Goodyear in the hot seat at 9pm on Sept 20. This firecracker will also feature “revealing interviews with her ex-lovers, former co-stars and close friends” it says, so Julie must be gritting her teeth behind those scarlet lips. (Kempie was Julie’s best pal inside last year’s Celebrity Big Brother house – until almost the end, so we might see whether they’ve kissed and made up since.)
In the new series Julie Goodyear is being followed by Gloria Hunniford, Brian Blessed, Julian Clary, Peter Waterman and Beverley Callard (kidnap victim Liz McDonald in Corrie). So far no date set for Steve Owen!
Moral support at the Elstree studios: the Kemp family, Roman, Harleymoon, Martin and Shirlie. (Cam-tweet by Kemp cam)
Electronic Beach Club in Ibiza: Rusty Egan and Steve Norman poised to start last Friday’s session. Photograph courtesy El Brasero
❚ THEY WERE DANCING IN THE STREETS OF IBIZA last Friday night to the toe-tapping toons of Steve Norman (saxophonist, guitarist and percussionist with Spandau Ballet) and Rusty Egan (former Visage drummer and deejay at London’s legendary Blitz Club in the 80s). Regular readers of Shapersofthe80s know that Norman-Egan’s storming double act, billed as Electronic Beach Club, have been entertaining sunseekers at the Nassau Beach Club on Playa D’en Bossa, fortnightly since May and they’re in residence until September.
Steve of course made his home on what he calls “this fair, white isle of Ibiza” in the 90s when he introduced the idea of live musical improvisation with the deejay at a club residency in San Antonio. What’s new today is the idea of beach clubs, and he and Rusty are finding themselves in demand across the island. Last Friday saw a huge gay pride street party in Ibiza town when the open-air El Brasero restaurant invited them to entertain the crowds from a first-floor terrace. Their playlist featured a lot of 80s pop and even Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. Naturally, we asked Steve for an update…
❏ Steve Norman writes: “Friday’s street party was fantastic, very emotional. My first proper street gig since The Roots Silver Jubilee set back in 1977. El Brasero is one of a collection of fab little eateries in the Gypsy quarter of Ibiza town. We set up on the terrace overlooking the street with a washing line complete with the family’s Sunday best hung out to dry serving as a backdrop.
Photographs by El Brasero, Carrer Passadis 4, Ibiza
The week’s washing aloft, Egan-Norman to the fore
Click any pic to launch carousel
“Rusty surpassed himself with his choice of tunes and I sweated like a trooper on what was a very, very hot August night. But the main protagonists were the crowd, all the people drinking, eating or passers-by who stopped to watch. They all entered into the spirit of the event and the connection was made. For me it was one of my fave gigs ever. And the woman whose washing line it was never did throw water over me as she had threatened to do, should I not live up to her expectations, when what I could’ve done with was a nice cold shower!
“All great with Rusty, he’s a pal. Not driving me nuts anything like he normally does. I am doing gigs without him as he is doing without me but we have something unique together. What go down well are songs that people half recognise. Melody is the key, that’s why I believe the sax resonates so much with audiences. I always try to be singalongy with what I play – as Deuce Barter says, ‘simple phrases that the postman can whistle’. Oh and a deep version of True by Deep Mind normally finishes it off quite nicely.
“I’ll be taking my sax to Sa Trincha at Salinas Beach Friday for a brief session with deejay Franco Moiraghi and again with Franco at Downtown Cipriani when the restaurant turns into a nightclub on Saturday night/Sunday morning… that’s a very decent gig indeed. Rusty’s coming to watch and take the piss!”
HERE THEY ARE IN THE LOCAL PROMO
❏ Una actualización del comerciantes del Barrio / Update: Newly published video by the retailers of the Marina district to capture the Ibiza Orgullosa and the inimitable Norman-Egan double act… “Exito espectacular de la primera edicion de Ibiza Orgullosa, organizada por la asociacion del barrio de la Marina de Ibiza ciudad. Gracias a todos por asistir y disfrutar del evento.”
“Possibly one of the best shows yet,” he says, this time featuring Giorgio Moroder, Pet Shop Boys, MGMT, Vivien Glass, Vile Electrodes, Margaret Berger, Kid Moxie, Perfume, Marsheaux, BEF, Sin Cos Tan, Mason, Isaac Junkie feat Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory, Kurt Baggaley, OMD, Tenek and more.
Steve Norman snapped by Neil Matthews for Flexipop! The location is Parliament Hill lido in north London in 1981. In the caption fit Steve Norman reports: “I love scuba diving. Funnily enough, I’ve never caught one yet.”
❚ A GREAT MUSICAL PARTNERSHIP lands on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza tomorrow. Fresh from their pop-up jam sessions at the Cannes film fest, two former 80s Blitz Kids – Spandau Ballet’s sax-percussionist Steve Norman plus Visage drummer and club deejay Rusty Egan – continue their working holiday in the sun. Getaway hedonists can catch their storming double act at the Nassau Beach Club on Playa D’en Bossa, fortnightly on Mondays until September.
It’s a trick they’ve been pulling at smart parties and corporate events ever since Spandau asked Egan to introduce their Reformation reunion tour performances at London’s O2 in 2009. There, as a warm-up before the show, the deejay reminded audiences of the synth soundtrack to the New Romantic era – electronic Blitz Club classics by The Normal, Gina X, Kraftwerk and the like. The chemistry was apt: Egan was co-founder of the original 80s Blitz club-night, while Spandau Ballet emerged from its members in 1979 as the house band who put the rhythms of the new decade into the charts.
After the Reformation tour, Norman and Egan teamed up to develop a deejay-led set enhanced with live saxophone, percussion and any other instruments the versatile Steve laid his hands on.
May 28 update: no sign of first-night nerves as Steve makes friends at Nassau Beach Club. Photograph from Kitita Pastrana (centre)
On the phone from Cannes this week Steve said: “We’re playing soulful deep house, four on the floor. With me vibing on top of Rusty’s music, it gives an audience something to focus on. It’s always nice to see somebody hit hell out of the bongos!”
For Steve this kind of bongo-bashing started in 1988. “My mate Deuce Barter said I should come down to his Passion club in Maidenhead and meet Joe Becket. We went head to head in a battle of the bongos playing live over house music and we hit it off. On the strength of that battle I asked Joe if he would like to join Spandau Ballet on the 1989-90 tour. He was gobsmacked.” Later, Joe Bongo was to become the regular percussionist in Steve’s band Cloudfish after Spandau split.
In 1993 Steve made his home in Ibiza and during 12 years there he introduced his idea of improvising live with the deejay at a club residency in San Antonio. “It was an extension of my antics with Spandau. I’m the one who moved around the stage. I’d climb up on a speaker with my sax, flying by seat of my pants, feeling very exposed up there, so I’d pull out all the stops.”
These days, though billing themselves as Electronic Beach Club, Steve insists the musical collaboration with Egan is “definitely not to be lumped in with the retro movement”. EBC have moved on from 80s sounds to contemporary club music, interspersed with current mixes of classic tracks.
He says: “I do play Spandau mixes. In an uptempo version of True by Deep Mind I just lay down the sax and Rusty drops in the Oakenfold mix and I switch to heavy percussion. We also do Fade to Grey mixed up with Magic Fly. That’s his little nod to the original Visage.”
Last autumn, Steve scoped out the Nassau Beach Club during his first visit to Ibiza in four years and he’s basing himself there with Rusty for the summer. “It’s my second home, where I left a little piece of me. It’s where my son Jack was brought up and daughter Lara was born and I struggle to accept I’m not still there. I’m trying to convince Mrs Preston Norman to come out and drag herself away from the dog and cat at our cottage in Hampshire.
Nassau Beach Club
“What’s new on Ibiza is this idea of beach clubs. I remember when the Blue Marlin was just a few tables and chairs on the sand, now it’s become a nightclub on the beach. These places are springing up all over the island. After chilling out by day, people are ready to go for it by night. At the Nassau Club there’s a stage area on the beach where Rusty plays a set 5-8pm, with me raising the tempo.”
Creatively, the Norman-Egan team want to make more music together. Steve says: “I’ve done a sax track on Rusty’s album project and we still hope to do a track together.” On July 18 Steve will be a “gun for hire” joining an all-star supergroup called Holy Holy at the massive Latitude Festival in Suffolk, when London’s ICA presents Bowiefest, a celebration of the Ziggy/Aladdin year of 1973. The line-up so far features Clem Burke of Blondie, James Stevenson of Generation X, Gary Stondage of Big Audio Dynamite, Traci Hunter and Maggi Ronson on BVs.
Speculation grows around another reunion by Spandau Ballet. What can be confirmed is the epic documentary film by Scott Millaney, Soul Boys of the Western World, due out next spring. Steve promises his own exclusive discovery. “I found an old home movie from 1977 made by my dad on Standard 8. You see us pre-Spandau all performing up the road from Tony’s for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations – at a street party.” Busking, obviously!
THIS SUMMER’S SUN-AND-SEA SOUNDS
Rusty Egan in action with his Traktor Scratch Pro
❏ Hot from Rusty Egan on his Lilo: “I’m playing chilled beach mixes and remixes of classic tracks like True by Deep Mind, and electro pop such as Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work (Echoes Remix), some cool house with Grass Is Greener’s Start Again, and Lewis Lastella’s remixes of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy The Silence and New Order’s Blue Monday.”
Kate Bush remixed above, Depeche Mode remixed below
+++ ➢ Footnote to the top pic – In Dec 1980 Flexipop! was launched as a plastic 7-inch disc with an overexcitable magazine attached. It was invented by music journalists Tim Lott and his business partner at the time, Barry Cain. It made the career of “Smudger” Neil Matthews, one-third of the official New Romantic photography contingent (along with Graham Smith and Shapersofthe80s), and his pix were exhumed late last year in archive form at a Flexipop Facebook page.
Canvas-Club on the beach opposite Carlton Cannes hotel
❚ IN CANNES FOR THE FILM FESTIVAL TONIGHT? So are former 80s Blitz Kids, club deejay Rusty Egan and Spandau Ballet’s sax-percussionist Steve Norman, and you can catch their storming double act at the pop-up Canvas-Club on the beach opposite Carlton Cannes hotel, on the Croisette May 17–19… Then the pair move off to Ibiza where they perform fortnightly at the Nassau Beach Club on Playa D’en Bossa from May to Sept.
STEVE NORMAN RINGS IN TO REPORT:
“ Our first night was pretty relaxed. Cannes during the film festival feels fantastic. There are full-on business meetings day and night in the Canvas-Club where we’re jamming. The last time I was here was 2009 when Spandau announced we were going to make a film (and that is due out next year). But there was a completely different vibe at the Midem music festival where people do deals all day then let themselves go at night. For the film business it’s all deals. They’re not a club crowd, so we adapt accordingly.
“ Rusty is brilliant at gauging the audience’s mood, making a seamless transition from dinner table to dancefloor. He warmed up the dinner session lifting the pace gradually, then I rocked up about 10pm vibing on top of his music to kick things off into a Latin fury. We play a soulful mix of house music, quite funky but definitely not retro. Next we’re off to Ibiza – my second home, where I left a little piece of me – and we’re appearing fortnightly on Mondays at Nassau Beach Club from May 27 through till September. These places are springing up all over. It used to be a beach bar and has mushroomed into a nightclub on the sand. People will be chilling by day, then going for it by night. ”
Rusty and Steve: discs, drums, percussion and sax!
❚ YES IT’S 30 YEARS SINCE Spandau Ballet scored their only No 1 chart hit single with True, coinciding with their epic “Spandau Over Britain Tour”. By May 3, True the album reached No 1, while the single remained at No 1 as well. The band’s official website is celebrating with a month of recollections from 1983 and asking UK fans to offer their own memories. Naturally Shapersofthe80s was there on the waterfront and has a few inside stories of its own.
The month-long tour ended in triumph at London’s Royal Festival Hall 30 years ago today, on Friday April 29, because True hit the top spot in the UK singles chart and the night before Spandau topped the bill on Top of the Pops – only two weeks after its release. After the London gig there followed a right old knees-up for friends and family aboard a Thames riverboat. As it cast off Shapersofthe80s was onboard and snapped a True romance as Steve “Spiny” Norman took to the dance floor with bass-player Martin Kemp, while Steve’s mum Sheila tried to muscle in. Here are our snaps, never seen before.
CLICK ANY PIC TO LAUNCH CAROUSEL:
Aboard Spandau’s True riverboat: Steve Norman and Martin Kemp take to the dancefloor, while Sheila Norman asks to join in
Steve and Martin are in heaven… See anybody else you know? Of course: future Spandau biographer Paul Simper in dog-tooth suit from Robot with added Wham!
Steve’s mum Sheila joins the chorus line, and backing singer Sam Brown joins Martin
At last, mother and son get to boogey together
The band’s third album True, produced by Tony Swain and Steve Jolley, had preceded the tour and was to yield several chart hits across the world, Gold among them. The tour moved on to Europe in the summer and to North America in the autumn, when Shapersofthe80s will have some wild eye-witness scenes to report – laters…
➢ Photographer Neil Matthews, another friend of Spandau from their earliest days, has been celebrating with an exhibition of his popstar photos titled My 80s Through the Lens, at The Great British Restaurant, 14 North Audley Street, London W1K 6WE. All images can be viewed online and are for sale in limited editions printed on smart archival paper. As well as Spandau, his subjects include Bananarama, Blue Rondo, Bauhaus, Haysi Fantayzee, Malcolm McLaren, The Jam, Nick Heyward, Bow Wow Wow and more.
MORE INTERESTING THAN MOST PEOPLE’S FANTASIES — THE SWINGING EIGHTIES 1978-1984
They didn’t call themselves New Romantics, or the Blitz Kids – but other people did
“I’d find people at the Blitz who were possible only in my imagination. But they were real” — Stephen Jones, hatmaker, 1983. (Illustration courtesy Iain R Webb)
“The truth about those Blitz club people was more interesting than most people’s fantasies” — Steve Dagger, pop group manager, 1983
➢ THE BLOG POSTS on this front page report topical updates ➢ ROLL OVER THE MENU AT TOP to go deeper into the past ➢ FOR NEWS & MONTH BY MONTH SEARCH, see the sidebar below ➢ WELCOME to the Swinging 80s
◆ Hockney remains active on the country roads of Yorkshire painting and videoing more of the eye-popping series of “cubistic” multi-screen movies that concluded his Royal Academy show in London — and which he proposed 30 years ago to Shapersofthe80s in a landmark interview in 1983 when he revealed “Suddenly I see cubism differently, more clearly”. Read it inside, along with his latest adventures on an iPad
NEWS — OLD FACES, NEW MIXES FOR THE 20-TEENS
✱ Farewell Robbie! Catch the final global webcast of Robbie Vincent’s Essential Rhythms from the pioneering 70s & 80s deejay this Sunday Dec 1, 11am–2pm GMT... Shapersofthe80s tells how Robbie influenced the shape of British musical taste in his 35 years as master of hot cuts
✱ ‘The Godfather of House’ Frankie Knuckles is among a trio of legendary US deejays that includes Todd Terry and Marshall Jefferson who fly into the UK to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The almost as legendary nightclub FAC51 The Haçienda hosts its first New Year’s Eve event for years in its Mancunian hometown by seeing in 2014 in the first 2,000-capacity club event at the newly renovated Albert Hall, M2 5QR. Tickets £25
✱ i-D’s website relaunches as part of the Vice empire: Winter Collectors Issue features Cara Delevingne from catwalk to the silver screen
✱ December’s Dazed & Confused launches a new landmark video series, Visionaries, with James Franco, cinematic polymath
✱ Find out more about the radical fashion from the pages of BLITZ magazine at the exhibition You’re Ugly and Your Mother Dresses You Funny being curated by Iain R Webb at Paul Smith in Mayfair, W1S 4BL, Nov 22–Dec13
✱ The Laboratory Project is a utopian vision designed to take music to a global audience. Sample its latest compilation Taste Masters 4 on iTunes
✱ Dec 1–4: Roddy Frame Presents Aztec Camera’s High Land, Hard Rain, performed in its entirety in celebration of the album’s 30th anniversary in London, Manchester, Glasgow
✱ Through Nov – Peter Hook & The Light’s autumn tour performing the two debut New Order albums Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies
✱ Touring ends for “Face of 68” supergroup guitarist and songwriter Peter Frampton who offers lengthy assessments of his Top 13 Albums of all time at The Quietus, from Django In Rome to Muddy Waters’ The Chess Box and Albert King’s The Ultimate Collection
✱ Free downloads of the Hadley-Kemp reunion in the Radio 4 Mastertapes series ... Catch Big Tone’s party show Saturdays 7–9pm GMT on Absolute 80s Radio
✱ Remake Remodel claims to be “The Nation’s Saving Grace of Alternative, Rock’n’Roll” — and celebrates its third birthday Monday Nov 25 with pure indie at Soup Kitchen, Manchester
✱ The gorgeous face of Scarlett Cannon here becomes the key identity for the UK’s must-see fashion show of the year. As door-girl at the style-setting clubnight Cha-Cha, she symbolises the creative explosion that triggered the Swinging 80s. This was led from 1979 by teen-and-twenties clubbers at the Blitz, Beat Route and Wag, who sadly go under-represented at the V&A’s patchy special exhibition Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s, July 10–Feb 16, 2014. More than 85 outfits vividly demonstrate the creative extremes of the decade, yet are too heavily underpinned by commercial mainstream designers who lack the clubbing credentials of the show’s title
160,000 VISITS PER YEAR
◆ At Dec 31 WordPress recorded 538,000 views since Shapers of the 80s launched in autumn 2009, then in March 2013 Revolver Maps reported 319,207 visits to Shapers of the 80s during the previous two years in global statistics measuring hits from 199 countries
Shapers of the 80s “invaluable”
◆ Shapersofthe80s is declared an “invaluable website” by historian Dominic Sandbrook, author of the rich new cultural analysis, Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974–1979. We report how Sandbrook gives generous credit to key influencers on youth culture. His unstuffy combination of high and low life energised the BBC2 series The Seventies aired in 2012
◆ Elsewhere at Shapers of the 80s, telly don Simon Schama succinctly expresses why we should document the “irreverent freedom” that is a special aspect of life in Britain
❏ The Blitz Kids outflanked most of the 80s copyists who followed their Bowie-inspired passion for changing their look as often as possible. You’d find the follow-on generation of posers at Studio 21 on Oxford Street or the Batcave, or in a back barrel at Birmingham’s Rum Runner. After the Blitz caravanserai had moved on into the world of work, fashion designer Fiona Dealey said: “You look at these little Bat people with make-up dribbling down their necks and you feel like saying, ‘Sorry darling, not enough loose powder’. The difference was that our make-up was stage slap, Leichner not Factor. The clothes came from a costumier, Charles Fox not Flip. Dressing for the Blitz was real theatre. It wasn’t just another uniform. You felt glamorous.”
◆ Tony Hadley at Facebook: “My wife and I are pleased to announce the safe arrival of our beautiful baby daughter born on February 6, 2012” ... But for Spandau, Tony dropped another bombshell on ITV’s Loose Women on May 16
Archive — Many publication dates are arbitrary, so click and take pot luck!
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❖ Welcome to our latest visitors from 198 countries and dependencies — not forgetting our visitor in the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina (54°48′S, 68°18′W), only a smidgeon further south than our readers in Río Grande and Punta Arenas... Our northernmost visitor lives at Hammerfest in Norway (70°39′N, 23°40′E), a nudge nearer the Pole than others in Finnmark, and at Murmansk in Russia (68°58′N, 33°05′E). A special Hello to our one visitor in Greenland!
KEY PHOTOGRAPHERS ON THE SCENE
My gratitude to the photographers who have generously permitted use of their images at Shapersofthe80s, because who would believe the preposterous story of the Blitz scene without the supporting pictorial evidence? These are the people whose lenses first caught the magic, and more subcultural images from the 1980s can be found at their own online galleries ❂ Neil Matthews ❂ Denis O’Regan ❂ Andy Rosen ❂ Homer Sykes ❂ Virginia Turbett ❂ Special thanks to:
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