Carioca then and now: left, the cover for Chris Sullivan’s band’s 1982 single Carioca and, right, his new upfront reworking for 2019
Leah Seresin and mum Deirdre, newly painted by Sullivan
◼ WHO IS CHRIS SULLIVAN THIS WEEK? That all-round creative dynamo who drove much of the Swinging Eighties and ran the influential Wag club for 19 years epitomised that New Romantic era by declaring “One look lasts a day”. Suddenly he is enjoying another creative spurt. Fans will have noticed a series of bold and comic painted caricatures of his friends appearing on Facebook this month. As affectionate portraits they speak for themselves. But then last week he posted one called Carioca, inspired directly by the 12-inch single sleeve for his band Blue Rondo a la Turk. It was included in their album Chewing The Fat which dates from 1982.
Fans will also recall that Sullivan as vocalist not only put the band together as a septet of crazy soul-jazz-latin musicians on a 0-to-10 sliding scale of eccentricity where all of them scored at least an 11 – but he also painted every one of their vinyl record sleeves in his own playful version of cubism. So here above we can now compare his restrained vamp Carioca from 1982 with her current rather more in-your-face madame for 2019. So what’s this all about, Chris?
➢ Hear Chris’s answers as we chatted during his Soho Radio show today (from 32 mins onward)
Bear in mind Sullivan was one of that gang of St Martin’s heroes who put London clubs such as the Blitz, Beat Route and the Wag on the map from 1980 on, and had studied on the college’s fashion course, not fine art. I am off to Soho to find out and will be reporting back. . .
Sullivan caricatures: A pair of what the painter calls Beat Peeps, the second very much inspired by Christos Tolera
STEPPING OUT TO CARIOCA ON
THE ITV SHOW RAZZMATAZZ 1982
➢ Elsewhere at Shapers of the 80s:
Yours truly writes the first magazine feature about Blue Rondo a la Turk as they created a new buzz with Latin sounds and an extreme suited dude look – from New Sounds New Styles in August 1981
➢ Razzmatazz, the weekly pop show beamed out to 6 million ITV viewers from Tyne Tees TV in Newcastle
Posted in art, caricature, New Romantics, Pop music, Swinging 80s, TV, videos
Tagged Blue Rondo a la Turk, Carioca, Chris Sullivan, Leah Seresin, Soho Radio, Wag club
Former door-girl at the Blitz: “Your Look isn’t extreme enough, you’re not coming in!” Janet Lyon guards the door to Lucy Bell’s photo gallery in St Leonards where vintage Blitz Kids gathered to view themselves in their prime
◼ EVERY TUESDAY FOR A YEAR as the 1980s dawned, Steve Strange had been declaring a “private party” in the shabby Blitz wine bar near London’s Covent Garden. Inside, precocious 19-year-olds presented an eye-stopping collage, posing away as stiletto-heeled vamps dressed for cocktails in a Berlin cabaret. Others came as wicked witches, kohl-eyed ghouls, futuristic man machines. Bored by the nihilism of punk with its message of “No future”, these school-leavers were determined to shape a future for themselves. At the Blitz only outrage secured entry: and some Blitz Kids spent the whole of Tuesday perfecting their Look.
Last Thursday in Sussex, previously unseen images taken in 1980 inside the club by ex-Time magazine photographer Terry Smith went on show and for sale for the next six weeks. In the spirit of the Blitz, we set up a snap of Janet Lyon with a red rope barrier on the door at Lucy Bell’s gallery for this week’s Private View. Back in the day Janet helped Steve Strange to vet new arrivals by judging how much wit and outrage they had invested in their Look. Turn inside to read our report on the vintage Blitz Kids and others who made it past the door. . .
➢ Visit the Lucy Bell Fine Art gallery website
Terry Smith, the former Time magazine photographer: recalling his shoot with Malcolm McLaren and proteges Bow Wow Wow in the mid-70s
➢ Exclusively at Shapers of the 80s:
20 of Terry Smith’s unseen Blitz Club pix – in colour
➢ Exclusively at Shapers of the 80s:
20 more of Terry Smith’s unseen Blitz Club pix . . . plus the resulting Time magazine feature from September 1980
Posted in art, Britain, Clubbing, collecting, exhibitions, Fashion, History, journalism, Media, New Romantics, photography, Swinging 80s, Tipping points, Youth culture, zeitgeist
Tagged Andy Bulled, Clare Thom, Debbie Ripley, Eve Ferret, Fiona Dealey, Francesca von Thyssen, George O’Dowd, Hattie Pearson, Helen Robinson, Ian Meek, Janet Lyon, Jon Lockwood, Kirsten Reynolds, Lucy Bell Fine Art, Paul Freyler, St Leonards Sussex, Stephen Jones, Steve Strange, Sue Tilley, Terry Smith, Tommy Crowley
Posted in art, Clubbing, collecting, exhibitions, Fashion, History, journalism, Media, New Romantics, nightlife, photography, Pop music, Swinging 80s, Tipping points
Tagged Blitz club, Blitz Kids, Chris Sullivan, elektro-diskow, Ken Banta, Lucy Bell, Rusty Egan, Steve Strange, Terry Smith, Time magazine
◼ DURING HIS UK VISIT THIS WEEK,
Customised version of the Bayeux Tapestry created using the Historic Tale Construction Kit
French President Emmanuel Macron announced the loan of the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry which depicts events leading up to the Norman conquest of England in 1066 which ended in King Harold II’s death. This marked the end of the Anglo-Saxons’ reign of more than 600 years. The tapestry is 230ft long and and 50cm deep and some historians say it was created by teams of nuns across England – not France – possibly in Canterbury, Kent. It is on permanent display at a museum in the town of Bayeux, in Normandy.
The first loan of the tapestry outside France for 950 years was revealed by The Times which expected the exhibition venue in 2022 to be the British Museum. Our version here was created online using the Historic Tale Construction Kit. Note how the Saxon peasant at right has already pioneered the idea of kebabbed pigeon.