Tag Archives: Video

➤ Steve Strange: deciphering the pen portraits of the man of masks

Toyah Willcox, Steve Strange

Click on image to view BBC vintage video from 1981: Toyah Willcox interviews Strange in Robin Hood guise

◼ ONE OF STEVE STRANGE’S TALENTS was persuading the press to believe in his latest wheeze, however fantastic. He had a way of convincing himself that a story was already written and a mission achieved before he had pressed the accelerator and set off. This irritated as many journalists as it amused and many were consequently very sceptical of his next big announcement – like saying he’d booked a big American star to do her first live promotional performance in Britain at his crowning glory, the Camden Palace, capacity 1,410. But in fact he had and she did, and in June 1983 the unknown Madonna was launched singing to backing tapes for half an hour.

The myths surrounding Steve were always the stuff of self-promotion. Today, he would say, I am Robin Hood, tomorrow Ruritanian Space Cadet, the next day Marionette with the mind of a toy. A compulsive man of masks presents a tricky subject for the scribblers obliged to capture that life once it is spent, so we must tiptoe through the obituaries like a minefield, and beware of tripping over Steve’s much-spun versions of history that were pure fantasy. Even national newspapers seemed to fall for many of the dreams he spouted, as well as the exceedingly vague memories committed to his 2002 book, Blitzed.

➢ Read extracts from the obituaries inside Shapersofthe80s: As the mainstream writers lead you through those New Romantic years, see if you can spot the porkies

BOY GEORGE’S OWN TRIBUTE TO HIS RIVAL

➢ At Shapersofthe80s: Original Blitz Kids say farewell to Steve Strange, their host, pivot, style icon, friend

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➤ Nowt so Strange as Steven John Harrington

Steve Strange, Steven Harrington, Blitz Kids, New  Romantics, nightclubbing, Swinging 80s, London, fashion, pop music, Visage, tributes

Steve Strange: Precocious club host and the face of synth band Visage, he changed British nightlife for ever

RIP Steve Strange
28 May 1959–12 Feb 2015

King of the Posers, Leader of the Blitz Kids,
co-founder of the Blitz Club,
PIED PIPER FOR THE NEW ROMANTICS,
catalyst for London’s fashion and pop
explosion in the 1980s

“ I chose to become famous and I work very hard at promoting myself. For me going out at night is work ”
– Steve Strange,
speaking to the Evening Standard in 1983

Iain R Webb, original Blitz Kid, later fashion editor of The Times and other publications, pays tribute to Steve Strange, who died in Egypt earlier today:

Steve gave us somewhere to go and beyond the crazy costumes and caked on make-up (maybe because of the…) made us each believe we had someone to be. He burned bright and we followed that light like moths to a flame – Billy’s to Blitz to Hell to Club For Heroes to Camden Palace… Oh, how we danced. His maverick spirit will never fade

Kim Bowen, stylist and former Queen of the Blitz Club, says:

“ You did create the stage on which
we all appeared ”

Andy Polaris, original Blitz Kid, and vocalist in Animal Nightlife, says:

It’s always a shock when you hear news that snatches away part of your youth. Steve Strange was not only a colourful character who had always left an impression on my teenage years. He was also a pivotal player in transforming London nightlife, along with deejay Rusty Egan. Their Tuesday nights at Billy’s club gave birth to the Blitz Club that influenced a generation of designers, musicians and artists. It’s remarkable the amount of creative talent that emerged from these clubs. It’s important to acknowledge that without Steve’s input a lot of these creative synergies might have never happened

Midge Ure, synth pioneer with Ultravox and Visage and driving force behind Band Aid, said:

Steve and Rusty created a movement in London. The Blitz and the subsequent Blitz Kids grew into a massive movement in the UK associated with fashion and image and photography. You could stand in the Blitz Club and look around you and there’d be future journalists and film-makers and writers and musicians, and a young Boy George taking coats at the coat check. There was something really vibrant about that, and they were responsible

Above: Steve Strange and three other Blitz Kids handpicked by David Bowie star in his 1980 video for Ashes to Ashes

➢ Read my history of Steve Strange, the Blitz Kids and the birth of the New Romantics at The Observer

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
1980, Strange days, strange nights, strange people – my invitation to the party that would last five years

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
1982, Strange takes six cutting-edge British fashion designers to show their wares to the French

Steve Strange, Steven Harrington, Blitz Kids, New  Romantics, nightclubbing, Swinging 80s, London, fashion, pop music, Visage, tributes

Steve Strange in 1980: wearing Willy Brown’s Modern Classics, photographed by Derek Ridgers

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
1983, Posing with a purpose at the Camden Palace – the ultimate expression of Strange & Egan’s clubbing prowess

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➤ Kerpow! Splat! Remix wizard Rusty unleashes all barrels on the music industry slackers

Rusty Egan, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, DJ, Kraftwerk, conference, Aston University, Soundcloud , Pop music, EDM, synthesiser,

Jan 2015: Rusty Egan ranting, sorry, lecturing at Aston University

◼ DID ASTON UNIVERSITY KNOW WHAT IT WAS DOING inviting deejay Rusty Egan to talk at an academic conference? The drummer and co-founder of the legendary 80s Blitz Club has dedicated his life to promoting electronic dance music so is uniquely qualified to spout on Germany’s seminal synth band at the world’s first scholarly gathering devoted to Kraftwerk and the Birth of Electronic Music. Conference organiser Dr Uwe Schütte claimed: “They are the most important band in the world in the way they changed music.”

Having been among their early disciples, Rusty was besotted enough to go hunting through Germany in the 70s in search of experiments in synthesised pop. His lifelong mission, he believes today, has shown “how Kraftwerk turned into Planet Rock turned into house music and what we know now as dance music.” He tells how he found the world’s first sampler in a German village called Wächtersbach, spent 12 hours making his first mash-up there and “never got paid for that record, not one dime”.

Rusty Egan, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, DJ, Kraftwerk, Pop music, EDM, synthesiser,

Sampling in Wächtersbach, 1979: ‪Rusty Egan‪ with Ian Tregoning making Wunderwerk with Franz Aumüller‬

Rusty made good with bands such as Rich Kids and Visage, in the face of the fat-cat indolence that prevailed in the torpid British music industry of the 70s, so last month’s platform enabled the now 57-year-old Rusty to settle a few scores by naming and shaming the rip-off merchants who, he says, have nicked his arrangements over the years and never paid a penny for them. By his own account, one of the guilty villains Rusty had paid £500 a day responded to his accusation saying: “Yeah but you should have kept the floppy disk.” Another lesson in the school of hard knocks.

The Aston “lecture” is described by one of the 200 delegates as “more of a comedy routine” and by Rusty himself as “Welcome to my insanity”. It’s now on Soundcloud for all to hear, and is typical of many an hour I’ve spent in Rusty’s kitchen trying to follow his uniquely entertaining stream-of-consciousness which randomly leaps from one story to the next while you work out that 20 years separates them. Early in his talk he says “I’m just mad on sound – it wasn’t a case of double paradiddle” illustrating his point with a beatbox break. So you have often to do a bit of Sherlockian deduction to finish his thoughts for him. His splenetic outbursts and ripe language (parental guidance advised) testify both to his indignation at the greed that characterises sections of the pop fraternity and to his own honesty, which even his friends suspect might be charming naivety.

Here’s his first rant:

In my experience record companies have never ever had any idea about creating music or creative people… I spent years not having any respect whatsoever for any guy in a satin jacket with Ace written on it with a briefcase with tour passes on it, long sideburns, dark glasses and a handlebar moustache, saying “Hi! I’m from your record label”. He was the last guy in the world you wanted to talk to and you had absolutely nothing you wanted to say to him.

VERDICTS BY RUSTY’S FANS AT FACEBOOK

Chi Ming Lai You will be in stitches.
Mat Mckenzie‪ This is a fantastic listen Rusty! ‬
Clive Pierce‪ Bravo… Absolutely riveting.‬
Anver Hanif‪ The knowledge and vision are superb.‬
Derek Quin‪ Rusty, you have been a massive influence on my music heritage. When I heard you speak at Aston it reinvigorated me.
Iris Peters‪ Great fun to listen to.
Jon Lowther‪ You and François Kevorkian defined the evolvement of electronica and the DJ. You have managed to maintain your passion, creativity and faith in an industry that fails. ‬
Mats From‪ I literally LOL’ed many times listening to thi‬s.

Rusty Egan, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, DJ, Kraftwerk, Pop music, EDM, synthesiser,

Kraftwerk’s pioneering drummer Wolfgang Flür: Rusty meets his hero in Dusseldorf more than 30 years after he first went in search of synth. . . “I was 22 when I met Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider and spent the evening explaining that future clubs will be playing music made by machines – what must they have thought!”

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: 1980, One week in the private worlds of the new young when London blazes with creativity

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: How three wizards met at the same crossroad in time – an inside scene-setter on the forces shaping the Swinging Eighties

RUSTY’S LATEST ELECTRONIC MIX

Rusty Egan February 07 2015 by Dj Rusty Egan on Mixcloud

➢ Update from Spandau Ballet: Legendary deejay and friend of the band Rusty Egan has been confirmed as the support for all of the Soul Boys of the Western World tour UK & Ireland shows

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2015 ➤ So no pressure then, as Spandau’s world tour kicks off

◼ “WHAT A GREAT WAY TO START A WORLD TOUR!” a beaming Steve Norman told the audience in San Francisco last night. “Thank you so much.” Spandau Ballet kicked off their 41-date Soul Boys of the Western World Tour at the 2,300-seat Warfield, built as a plush crimson vaudeville theatre in the 1920s, the same venue they played on their last US visit 31 years ago. And judging from the singalong audible on YouTube videos posted by fans, the night sounded a success.

Two more dates complete the California leg of the tour this weekend, much to the disappointment of fans in other parts of the US and Canada whose bookings were cancelled at short notice last week and rescheduled into April and May. Many had planned to fly in from other states and even other countries to attend. One Canadian diehard who had bookings for five concerts told us: “If I had known all this, I would have gone to London to catch the UK start in March.”

Spandau Ballet , Soulboys of the Western World, US Tour,The band assure Shapers of the 80s that this decision had been taken by their American promoter. Last night sax player Steve Norman said: “I do understand that some people were put out, to say the least. Please give my apologies. It is a real shame.”

As for returning to the Warfield, Steve said: “It was an awesome night, felt like a second coming for all present. The energy in the room was electric. I guess expectations were high seeing as we hadn’t performed in the US for so long. But American fans are loyal and they made sure it was one of the most enjoyable Spandau shows of all time. I’m so looking forward to the LA gig tognight.”

Fans beyond California have a small compensation: Yahoo’s live online stream tomorrow night from the Wiltern Theatre concert in Los Angeles at 8.45pm (PT), and viewable thereafter on a seemingly indefinite loop 24/7.

First night at the Warfield: Click any pic to launch slideshow


➢ The first review is in from Jim Harrington
of Bay Area News Group:

The synthesizer and saxophone soared. Saccharine ballads and slick pop anthems were in ample supply. Folks dressed up like Crockett and Tubbs from Miami Vice. There was an old-school MTV sheen to the entire production. Most important of all, the lead singer’s hair was perfect. Man, I love the 80s.

And it felt like I got a second helping of the decade at The Warfield, courtesy of 80s hitmakers Spandau Ballet. . . The show was mostly about celebrating the past. Yet, the group also gave us reason to believe that Spandau Ballet might have a promising future … / Continued online

➢ Steven Gdula in awe at the Warfield
for Dinosaur magazine:

The first seven songs included three new compositions, plus past hits Highly Strung, Only When You Leave and Round and Round. The performances were winning. At times blistering, even. So much so that my old indifference to latter-day Spandau Ballet compositions was replaced with more than just respect. I was in awe. Tony Hadley’s voice fits him better than ever at this point in his life, and his comfort level shows. His phrasings were sophisticated, sometimes lingering behind the beat, sometimes anticipating it, sounding every bit like the soul or jazz crooners he’s emulated. And when he allowed his voice to soar, no roof could have sealed it in. Steve Norman’s sax rides were likewise unstoppable, often to the point of competing with Hadley’s voice in the mix. The Kemp brothers — Martin on bass and Gary on guitar — were tight and musically stylish without being flashy, and John Keeble’s muscular drumming kept driving it all forward. . . / Continued online

➢ New dates for Spandau Ballet’s North America live tour – starting 23–25 Jan in California but with other US and Canada concert dates rescheduled for April–May. Click through for complete list of world tour dates 2015.

Spandau Ballet , Soulboys of the Western World, US Tour, NYC, SiriusXM,

At SiriusXM radio on Wednesday: Spandau Ballet studio session for coast-to-coast satellite broadcast. Photograph by Richard Blade

Spandau Ballet , Soulboys of the Western World, US Tour, Steve Norman, John Keeble, Tony Hadley, ,

Keeble, Hadley and Norman, 2015: grabbing a proper pint at the Belmont on La Cienega in Los Angeles. (Tweeted by Steve Norman)

UPDATE: AT THE WILTERN, LOS ANGELES

➢ Lina Lecaro is seduced for the LA Weekly:
The band’s first proper Los Angeles show in three decades did not go unnoticed. It sold out the Wiltern Theatre, and a second night was added. Saturday, the first of the weekend shows, the “boys” of Ballet had something to prove to LA and they did, bestowing their mostly thirty-and-fortysomething fan base with a set that was near perfection sound-wise and as visually appealing as anything they did back in their 80s heyday. And yes, by visually appealing we mean they still look good. Real good. . . / Continued online

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➤ Spandau fan Jan says Yes that’s me shinning up the drainpipe in 1982

Spandau Ballet, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Liverpool Empire, 1982, Diamond Tour, fans,

8 May, 1982: Now identified! A teenage fan shins the drainpipe at the Liverpool Empire giving access to Spandau Ballet’s dressing room on their first nationwide tour with the Diamond album. Snapped by © Shapersofthe80s

◼ A 30 YEAR-OLD MYSTERY HAS BEEN SOLVED. At the climax to Spandau Ballet’s first national tour in 1982 fan mania broke out on a level comparable to the 1960s. When their single Instinction crashed into the UK charts with freshly injected energy from producer Trevor Horn, three extra tour dates were added in May. After the show in Liverpool, the creative birthplace of British pop music, a crowd of about 500 fans mobbed the stage door at the fabled Empire theatre. A shadow had only to fall across the band’s dressing room window for screams to erupt in the street.

Two girls then decided to shin the drainpipe and beat the window with their handbags until they were let in. I was in the crowd snapping their daring climb, but for years the girls’ identities remained unknown. Now, the first teenager helped through the window and into Martin Kemp’s arms has been in touch with Shapers of the 80s to admit ownership of that handbag after all these years. She is Janet Gargan who still lives in the area and, naturally, is planning to see the band at Liverpool’s Echo Arena next March on their 2015 tour.

She emailed saying: “I had no idea your pic ever existed or that anyone remembered the drainpipe incident. Until recently, it had remained a family story but just goes to show your past can haunt you at any time. This really has been a blast from the past. I was at school at the time and I climbed up there with my school friend Jeanette, although it’s been many years since I’ve seen her.

Spandau Ballet, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, Empire theatre, Liverpool, Swinging 80s, fans,

Triumph! Jan tells her friends she and Jeanette made it into Spandau Ballet’s dressing room at the Empire, 1982. Snapped by © Shapersofthe80s

“I wanted to meet Tony Hadley and my friend was crazy about Martin Kemp. I do remember the boys being in complete shock about what we had done and signed all our merchandise. They gave us a drink (soft of course!) and sent us on our way – not down the drainpipe thankfully! I have thought in recent years how utterly gentlemanly they all were and very kind to us.”

The second climber Jeanette fell into the arms of sax-player Steve Norman. He retells the story on ITV’s recent bio-show True Gold: “We heard this tapping noise at the window and this girl had climbed the drainpipe to get a look at the band two floors up.” Tony Hadley adds: “It was like being the Beatles – mass hysteria.”

To cap it all, Jan has another revelation to make. “Spandau Ballet played in Liverpool again during the True tour of 1983 when the same friend and I left the concert early and headed to the Atlantic Tower hotel where we knew they were staying. Lots of fans turned up there but we befriended two elderly guests of the hotel who took us in under the guise of being ‘grand-daughters’. We were so worried about our cover being blown that we jumped into the lift of the hotel as fast as we could and as the doors closed we turned around to find the band in the lift! It was Tony Hadley who recognised us and said ‘You are the two girls who climbed the drainpipe last year!’ This was definitely a crazy experience but all true. It’d be great to know if the band remember that encounter too.”

Looking back now, Jan describes those adventures as hilarious though fraught with sheer determination. “It wasn’t unusual for me to go to great lengths to meet people at that time. The same friend and I also met Depeche Mode when they played Liverpool in the 80s – yes, staying in the same hotel. They were supported by Matt Fretton and we sat in the hotel having a chat with the band when a lady came out of the function room and asked if we would all like to join their party for her daughter’s 18th! Of course it would have been rude not too!”

Today Jan the ardent pop fan makes her living as a social worker and, according to a friend, “spends all her time helping other people”. For professional reasons she did not want her photograph to be published and, even though I thought I’d found her on Facebook, this turns out to be somebody else of the same name.

Spandau Ballet, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, Atlantic Tower hotel, John Keeble, Martin Kemp, Liverpool, Swinging 80s, fans,

Mobbed again a year later, 1983: Martin Kemp and John Keeble sign autographs through the fence at the back of Spandau’s Liverpool hotel. Snapped by © Shapersofthe80s

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: More on 8 May 1982 – the return of The Scream to British pop

➢ 1982, How Spandau put Peter Capaldi on the road to play the new Doctor Who

➢ Jan 17 update: Shock change to Spandau Ballet’s North America live tour 2015 – Spandau’s world still tour kicks off 23–25 Jan in California, but with other US and Canada concert dates rescheduled for April–May. The European leg kicks off in Dublin 3 March. Click through for complete list

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