Category Archives: Chronology

➤ Index of posts for January

Boy George, John Themis, Bishop Porfyrios , icon,

Two-way exchange: Bishop Porfyrios reclaims his church’s 300-year-old icon of Christ in London, while as a thankyou, Boy George receives a modern version of Christ Pantokrator (right) from composer John Themis. Photo © AP

➢ George Michael celebrates his golden years of Faith

➢ Reliving the Blitz: two pocket fanzines and a request from Rusty Egan

➢ “Too posh for pop” — Grandpa Waterman condemns two decades of musicmakers

➢ 1981, Why naked heroes from antiquity stood in for Spandau on their first record sleeves

➢ Ferry backed by three bass players, Roxy back on the road — how cool is that?

Japan pop group, Mick Karn, Hammersmith Odeon , 1982, Sounds ,Chris Dorley-Brown

Karn onstage at Hammersmith Odeon, November 17, 1982: Japan’s final UK tour. Photographed for Sounds © by Chris Dorley-Brown

➢ 1981, The day they sold The Times, both Timeses

➢ George makes saintly gesture over stolen icon

➢ 1981, How Adam stomped his way across the charts to thwart the nascent New Romantics

➢ Life? Tough? At the Blitz reunion, Rusty delivers a message to today’s 20-year-olds (TV news video)

➢ The unknown Mr Big behind London’s landmark nightspot makes his return to the Blitz

➢ Va-va-vooom! goes the world’s smallest portable record player

➢ F-A-B! Thunderbirds stamps are go!

➢ Julia and Gaz share their secrets for ageing disgracefully

Return To The Blitz , Steve Strange, Rusty Egan, Red Rooms, Blitz Kids, New Romantics

Motormouths back in action: Strange and Egan interviewed on BBC London news in the club where they once reigned. Such were members’ powers of self-promotion at the Blitz, Egan said, that it was the 80s equivalent of Facebook Live!

➢ 2011, Strange and Egan return to the Blitz to kick off the 20-tweens

➢ 200 new acts tipped for the new year in music

➢ Most popular bits of Shapersofthe80s during 2010

➢ Farewell Mick Karn, master of the bass and harbinger for the New Romantics

➢ Prescott says Postlethwaite’s Brassed Off speech inspired New Labour in 1997

➢ Discover Ubu while Christopher Walken takes flight to Fatboy Slim

➢ Happy New Year from Frosty The Snowman and The Ronettes — and hear the smash that changed the sound of 60s pop

➢ List of posts for December 2010

The Ronettes, Phil Spector, Frosty the Snowman, Be My Baby, Wall of Sound, 1963

The Ronettes in 1963: beehive hair-dos and producer Phil Spector


2010 ➤ Index of posts for December

Duran Duran, 80s, pop

The early Duran Duran: discovered by invitation in 1980

➢ 80s shapers win 2010 New Year Honours for fashion, music and walking in space

➢ 1980 secrets revealed about the SAS, arming Afghanistan and death of the tanner

➢ 1980, As Spandau play in Heaven, all around we can hear the new sounds of 1981

➢ 1980s, So many shapers shaped the decade that people think was all down to Margaret Thatcher — key books of the year

John Lennon death, Daily Mirror, people magazine, 30th anniversary
➢ What larks! Festive fun and games and British ways to make merry

➢ A jolly festive tree by Andrew Logan

➢ 2010, Duran no turkey: here’s the Bacofoil video and two new tracks premiered at East Village Radio

➢ 1980, How Duran Duran’s road to stardom began in the Studio 54 of Birmingham

➢ A feast of Bowie-ana served in waffeur-thin slices

➢ Whatta they like? Essex reality stars shake their vajazzles in the face of Hollywood

➢ 1980, The Lennon we knew: unfulfilled talent with a genius for making friends the world over

Adam & The Ants, David Bowie, Swinging 80s,Top Of The Pops
➢ 1980, The week the Swinging 80s clicked into gear

➢ Live online now, mad hatter Stephen Jones

➢ This £5m iPhone has to be a spoof! Yes, that’s $7.8m or €6m or 52m Chinese Yuan or 245m Russian Rubles


1918 ➤ War: the 20th-century way to build a new world

We Are Making a New World,  Paul Nash,Imperial War Museum,Robert Hughes, Shock of the New

We Are Making a New World, 1918: war artist Paul Nash’s ironic vision of the Western Front (Imperial War Museum, London)

❏ Robert Hughes laments the effects of war in The Shock of The New, his 1980 BBC series on modern art (6 minutes)

Robert Hughes , Sylvia Shap,Smithsonian Institute

Robert Hughes (1981): detail from portrait of the critic by Sylvia Shap (Smithsonian Institute)

❚ “IF YOU ASK where is the Picasso of England or the Ezra Pound of France, there is only one probable answer: still in the trenches.”

In 1980 the no-nonsense art critic Robert Hughes was standing in the former waste-land created in France by sustained bombardment between 1914 and 1918. He was presenting the milestone TV epic, The Shock of the New, which spanned the 20th century in eight hour-long episodes described recently by one critic as “the greatest series on art ever made”. Just as Jacob Bronowski’s powerful documentary series The Ascent of Man had transformed how new generations thought about science in 1973, so too did the Australian-born Hughes for art.  He had already been the critic for the weekly Time magazine for ten years, and the insight, wit and accessibility evident in his TV series confirmed his status as the world’s leading voice on contemporary art.

“World War One destroyed an entire generation,” Hughes maintained in episode two, titled The Powers That Be. “We don’t know and we can’t even guess what might have been painted or written if the war had never happened. As for the waste of minds, we know the names of some who died: among the painters, Umberto Boccioni, Franz Marc, August Macke; the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brezska; the poets Isaac Rosenberg and Wilfred Owen. But for every one whose name survives there must have been scores, possibly hundreds of those who never had a chance to develop.”

Guillaume Apollinaire ,Henri Rousse

Muse Inspiring the Poet (1909): Henri Rousseau’s painting of French poet Guillaume Apollinaire and Marie Laurencin (Art Museum of Basle)

Today being Remembrance Sunday — the closest to “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in 1918 when the Allies confirmed the cease-fire by signing an Armistice — the BBC not only recalled “the pity of war” through the familiar poems of England’s romantic realists Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Radio 4 also shocked us with a slice of the French poet so avantgarde as to bravely interlace his awe at the nightmare spectacle of the trenches with themes of eroticism, mechanization and other modernist speculation — Guillaume Apollinaire, the man who gave us the word surrealism. He too had sustained a serious shrapnel wound fighting in the trenches, and died just before Armistice Day.

“Ah Dieu! que la guerre est jolie,” he declared in 1915, which can be roughly translated into English as “Oh! What a lovely war” but unlike the anti-war stage musical of that name created by English Theatre Workshop producer Joan Littlewood, and the subsequent film, Apollinaire’s line was devoid of irony. His first war poem, The Little Car written in August 1914 after he’d driven into Paris to find mobilisation being announced, contained these prescient lines:

We said farewell to an entire epoch
Furious giants were rising over Europe
Eagles were leaving their eyries expecting the sun
Voracious fish were rising from the depths
Nations were rushing towards some deeper understanding
The dead were trembling with fear in their dark dwellings

Dogs were barking towards the frontiers
I went bearing within me all those armies fighting
I felt them rise up in me and spread over the regions through which they wound
The forests and happy villages of Belgium
Francorchamps its l’Eau Rouge and its springs
A region where invasions always take place
Railway arteries where those who were going to die
Saluted one last time this colourful life
Deep oceans where monsters were stirring
In old shipwrecked hulks
Unimaginable heights where man fights
Higher than the eagle soars
There man fights man
And falls like a shooting star

Within me I felt skilful new beings
Building and organising a new universe
A merchant of amazing opulence and prodigious stature
Was laying out an extraordinary display
And gigantic shepherds were leading
Great silent flocks that grazed on words
While every dog along the road barked at them

➢ Listen to Radio 4’s Oh What a Lively War — Martin Sorrell explores the work of Guillaume Apollinaire
➢ The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change
— Robert Hughes’s book updated and still on sale


2010 ➤ Index of posts for October

Birth of electro-pop, synth-pop,Makers, Gentry, Spandau Ballet

Feb 1978: The Makers, one day to be Spandau Ballet. Photographed by Gill Davies

➢ Classics of 80s graffiti revived by campaigning collective in New York

➢ Final spin confirmed for the Technics 1200, the DJ’s top turntable

➢ On this day in 1980 Spandau fired the starting gun for British clubland’s pop hopefuls: dada didi daaa!

➢ A second squadron of high-octane British artists zaps the Saatchi space

➢ Facebook may well be the mother of all networks but one man needs to check his maths

➢ Cool 21st-century branding for Channel 4, but when will it junk those clunky Bladerunner idents?

➢ A step up in the world for graffitist Eine, thanks to Potus and lady friends who shop in high places

Molly Parkin, John Timbers

In her heyday: Molly aged 29 at her first art exhibition. Photographed © by John Timbers

➢ Miss Parkin regrets that she said no to Cary… and can’t wait to meet Orson, Lee and Walter

➢ How Keith Richards’s life of debauchery became an inexplicable sign of alien invasion at The Times

➢ 30 years ago today: First survey of their private worlds as the new young trigger a generation gap

➢ 2011: Sade comes home to tour UK but even a cheap seat will cost you £158 !

➢ 1980: The day Spandau signed on the line and changed the sound of British pop

➢ 1980: Rik and pals detonate a timebomb beneath another kind of strip for Soho

➢ 1976: When Iain met Stephen, London traffic stopped and St Martin’s stood still

➢ Britain’s top hatter, Stephen Jones OBE, celebrates 30 years of Jonesmanship


On this day in 1980 ➤ Spandau fired the starting gun for British clubland’s pop hopefuls: dada didi daaa!


Nov 13, 1980: chart entry qualifies Spandau for their first Top of the Pops

◼ TODAY’S THE DAY THE HOTTEST NEW BAND OF 1980 released their debut single 30 years ago. Inside a year, Spandau Ballet had clicked with clubland’s coolest fan base, played only eight bookings, refused to make any demo tapes but instead spent that year winding up the media and the music industry with word-of-mouth rumours of a youth movement right behind them.

Steve Norman

Kilt-wearing Steve Norman’s lace-ups

On October 10 Spandau signed an unprecedented deal with Chrysalis, on October 27 they released To Cut a Long Story Short driven by a monophonic synthesiser: Daa-didi dada dada di-di dada didi daaa! On November 15 the single entered the chart. Bingo – Top of the Pops.

In 1980, for every new band firing up their ambition in the wings, Spandau acted as a fuel injection system. For electro bands who had been nibbling at success  — OMD, Simple Minds, Japan, Ultravox — here was the bandwagon. And they jumped on board.


➢ Full timeline of Spandau Ballet’s wind-up year from tease dates to Top of the Pops in 12 months!

♫ Listen to Spandau’s To Cut a Long Story Short from 1980, recast acoustically for 2009:


➢ My full history of the birth of the New Romantics
in the Observer Music Magazine

➢ Elsewhere at Shapers of the 80s: 100+ acts who set the style for the new music of the 1980s