Tag Archives: Steve Strange

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.

Steve Strange, Stephen Harrington, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, nightclubbing, Swinging 80s, obituaries, funeral, Visage, eulogy, Steve Norman, Spandau Ballet, pop music,

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

Steve Strange, Stephen Harrington, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, nightclubbing, Swinging 80s, obituaries, funeral, Visage, eulogy, Boy George, pop music,

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. . .

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

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

FRONT PAGE

➤ Steve Strange talkative as ever in his last interview

Steve Strange, Steven Harrington, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, nightclubbing,  funeral, Egypt,dead,

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

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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.”

Steve Strange, Steven Harrington, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, , funeral, Visage, Egypt, dead,

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

FRONT PAGE

2015 ➤ Original Blitz Kids say farewell to Steve Strange, their host, pivot, style icon, friend

2013, Steve Strange photographed by Tim Whitby

Steve Strange in 2002 photographed by Tim Whitby

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
Nowt so Strange as Steven John Harrington,
28 May 1959–12 Feb 2015

1978, when Steve Strange teamed up with Rusty Egan (Photo © Fin Costello/Redferns)

1978, when Steve Strange met Rusty Egan. (Photo © Fin Costello/Redferns)

HOW THE RULES OF 80s NIGHTCLUBBING
WERE REWRITTEN BY STRANGE & EGAN

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RUSTY EGAN REMEMBERS HIS CLUBBING PARTNER
About this week’s Mi-soul radio show, Rusty said: “I’m very, very sad and down tonight because I’ve lost an old friend. We had our disagreements but we did have a decade of the best times that anybody could ever have wished for. We made some amazing music, some amazing parties, clubs and fun and friends. Underneath it all he was a good soul. Steve, I’m so sorry I didn’t get a chance to say I still love you.

Tonight we say Hello and Wave Goodbye to my friend and foe Steve Strange AKA Steve Harrington who convinced me to let him crash at my place for one night. We were flatmates for five years and never had a night in… friends for 25 years and foes for less than five years. Music says everything I could ever want to say… Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, David Ball, Midge Ure, Lou Reed, John Foxx and The Maths, Joy Division say everything I could want to say + EMT, The Magickal, Jeff Appleton, Visage, The Distant Minds. The good times outweigh the bad.

Rusty Egan 14 02 15 dedicated to Steve Strange RIP by Dj Rusty Egan on Mixcloud

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Steve Strange, Chris Sullivan, Graham Smith, Steve Norman, Blitz Kids, Swinging 80s, London

Chris Sullivan’s 21st birthday, 1981: “me drunk out of my head after a bottle of tequila with the boys in my bedroom in Kentish Town” – the boys being Steve Strange, Graham Smith and Steve Norman (photo © Graham)

CHRIS SULLIVAN, WHO RAN
SOHO’S WAG CLUB

I first met Steve Strange (né Harrington) when I was 14. We were both into Northern Soul and used to meet in Blackwood, South Wales, just a mile or two from his council house home. Then it was funk, Bowie and Roxy. Subsequently, punk, bondage and notoriety. We’d travel to London, Bristol, wherever to satiate our need for nightlife. Thus, London was the only place for Steve so he moved up to work for Vivienne Westwood in 1977. He was 18. I was 17. He became a punk “face” while I finished my A-levels and then went off to San Francisco in search of the Beatnik life (but couldn’t find it) and lost touch with Steve.

Then in October 1978, I bumped into him in Oxford Circus and he invited me to his new Bowie night at Billy’s. Since then we have been inextricably linked. We ran the club Hell together, then he did Club For Heroes and me Le Kilt. He then opened the Camden Palace and me the Wag.

We were both flamboyant club-running Welsh dandies but were never rivals. Steve had too much dignity for that. We were friends and remained so for the rest of his life. And I can say that Steve, despite quite a few hard years, never lost that that spark, humour or joie de vivre, was forever stylish and was always a pleasure to see.

SHAPERS OF THE 80s
extends heartfelt thanks to these key Blitz Kids (as were) for taking the time to contribute these wonderful appreciations of Steve Strange who died yesterday aged 55. We are all in varying degrees of shock, yet it is remarkable how their tributes readily identify the distinct qualities that made Steve a beacon for others to rally round. We hope these words will stand as both epitaph and historic record

I will miss reminiscing about us getting caught shoplifting together, our ferry to Calais as that got stuck in a hurricane going back and forth unable to dock for 13 hours; then hanging out with Grace Jones, Iman and Gaultier and getting spat at by a Parisian old lady who thought we were Nazis (we both had coincidentally brought our leather German trench coats); doing LSD at the Notting Hill Carnival, ecstasy in Ibiza in 1983 and getting lost in New York’s gang infested Alphabet City York at 5am after a night out in 1985 and walking in complete circles till it was light. Adventure after misadventure after misdemeanour. Two working-class Welsh chaps who could not believe their luck sucking the lemon dry.

I spoke to him a lot over his last few years and realised that he, coming from nothing, just threw down the gauntlet and created this being, “Steve Strange”, who was his “art” and, rather like Quentin Crisp and Leigh Bowery, was famous for purely being himself – a rather unique individual, one of a kind and a true maverick who never once towed the party line and always kept you guessing from Telly Tubbies Toys to TV shows. Indeed, our lives ran in tandem for decades and, I can honestly say, that I am proud to have been a friend and associate for 40 years of this great British character. I doubt we will see the likes of him again. Today my melancholia was lifted by one thought. He would have also loved this massive media attention regarding his demise. He would have said “See, I told you I was making a comeback!”

The world is a smaller place without Steve.

Princess Julia, PX, New Romantics

Julia before she was a princess: outside PX in 1980

PRINCESS JULIA, WRITER AND DEEJAY
We piled into his clubs from the late 70s onwards and made things happen. Steve Strange’s notoriety filtered into the mainstream making him a household name, much to his delight. Getting dressed up, going out and getting noticed… Steve was head of a subculture the likes of which perhaps we will never see again. He rode the decades, suffered ups and downs but always retained a vision of creativity, his own and those around him. Encouraging people to follow their dreams, the Blitz was a melting pot of creativity, its ethos a cornerstone to generation after generation who aspired and are aspiring to cast their nets wider.

When I met Steve his style was fearless. He became an entrepreneur in clubland perhaps unwittingly and genuinely enjoyed the ritual of clubbing. On other fronts Visage, initially a studio project, rapidly gained cult status, and he never abandoned performing right up to the present. He had a wicked sense of humour and was ready to tackle challenges even though his decadent years had taken their toll on his health… The stories I could tell you, perhaps I’ll leave that to your imagination!

Kim Bowen

1979, Kim Bowen models for milliner Stephen Jones, assisted by Lee Sheldrick in the Jones boutique

STEPHEN JONES, MILLINER
Steve Strange was a live wire. He made things happen, joined the dots between people. And he was my first customer. I went to his Bowie nights at Billy’s club and then the Blitz as a student at St Martin’s and he asked me to make him a hat out of gold braid. It took me about three weeks and he paid £75, a fortune in those days. Then, he was working at a fashion store called PX in Covent Garden. They had an empty basement, and he asked me if I wanted to set up store in there. So that was my first shop. I owe my start to Steve.

There was a vacuum after punk had gone. Suddenly there were all these kids dressing up in these eclectic, historical, top-to-toe looks we made ourselves from thrift stores. With Steve, it had to be a total look, whether he was wearing a dress, or a slick Antony Price suit. And every look needed a hat.

KIM BOWEN, STYLIST,
ONETIME QUEEN OF THE BLITZ

The hustle, the bustle, the make-up, the clothes, “Julia and I think you should put pencil on that mole of yours, it looks like a spot otherwise” to “I like your hat, do you think Stephen Jones will make one for me?” Rushing enthusiasm, involving everyone, creating insane parties going round and round on the Circle Line. Some truly bad outfits (his not mine.) Shockingly, “Kim, will you be my official girlfriend?” My boyfriend Jeremy Healy was rather outraged at that, sensing a great and grievous social impropriety.

“I know some weird private club in Wandsworth, Lord Longleat will be there, he’s fun, let’s go” . . . “God, look at Mick Jagger, he looks like an axolotl, doesn’t he? – Still, let’s go talk to him” . . . Cramming into the flat on King’s Road that he and Rusty and Julia shared, the height of sophistication as we polished off bottles of Blue Nun.

“ You were the epicentre of a most
particular time and place,
and you did create the stage
on which we all appeared ”
– Kim Bowen, Queen of the Blitz Club

“Will you run a nightclub with me?” became screaming up the stairs at Club For Heroes: “Why are you letting those horrible people in?!” Parties here, parties there, a club here, there and everywhere, places to sit bored and rude, blame him and his shit club, hate the music, be a little bitch, stick your nose up in the air Kim Bowen, and to always, always be asked, to be introduced to David Bailey who photographed me for Ritz magazine, to be implored to be in Bowie’s Ashes video and to refuse, to always be asked to anything fun, anything interesting, daring, mad, silly, stylish by this kind, generous, privately soft and rather vulnerable, funny Welsh guy, who always laughed, until he didn’t and things went dark.

And then they got better again. And then this abrupt goodbye. What a shock. You were the epicentre of a most particular time and place, and you did create the stage on which we all appeared, flourishing our lace cuffs and sharpening our profiles to the footlights. Thank you for that. Because we just came to your clubs, you created them Steve, you and Rusty.

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Above: King and queen of the Blitz: Steve Strange wearing PX and Kim Bowen crowned by Stephen Jones titfer in 1980. Photograph © by Letac / Shapersofthe80s archive

CONTINUED INSIDE
SHAPERS OF THE 80S

➢ Click through to read more of this week’s Blitz Kid
tributes to Steve from:

Peter Ashworth, Ninotchka Bee Bee, Helen Carey, Eve Ferret, Judith Frankland, Boy George, Francesca Von Habsburg Thyssen, Billy Idol, Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp, Simon Le Bon, Stephen Linard, ‪Franceska Luther King‪, Glen Matlock, Mark Moore, Christos Tolera, John Maybury, Steve Norman, Milly Parkinson, Andy Polaris, Stephane Raynor, Graham Smith, Graham K Smith, Midge Ure, Iain R Webb and Mike Leigh, Steve’s agent

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: 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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