Category Archives: journalism

➤ Hottest Shapers during 2022

Andrew Ridgeley , Wham Rap, video, Face magazine, Club Culture,

Click pic to open the Wham Rap! video in another window … “Man or mouse” Andrew Ridgeley establishes his group’s clubbing credentials in the opening shots of the Wham video by reading my cover story on Club Culture first published in The Face in 1983 and in recent years the No 1 read at Shapers of the 80s!

❚ OVER THE PAST 14 YEARS Shapers of the 80s has received 2.2 million views, according to year-ending stats measured by our host, WordPress. Our 850+ published items total half-a-million words, which is several times more than most books, so it pays to explore the various navigation buttons. Here are the half dozen posts which remained among the most popular with readers during 2022…

➢ Photos inside the Blitz Club, exclusive to Shapers of the 80s

FACE No 34,club culture ➢ 69 Dean Street and the making of UK club culture – evolution of the once-weekly party night (1983)

➢ Why Bowie recruited Blitz Kids for his Ashes to Ashes video in 1980 from the club-night founded by Steve Strange and Rusty Egan

➢ 20 gay kisses in pop videos that made it past the censor

➢ First Blitz invasion of the US —
Spandau Ballet and the Axiom fashion collective take Manhattan by storm (1981)

NYC,Axiom,Melissa Caplan, Sade, Elms, Tony Hadley, Ollie O'Donnell

At the Underground club in NYC 1981: Melissa Caplan rehearses Bob Elms, Mandy d’Wit and Sade Adu for the Axiom runway show. Right, Ollie “the snip” O’Donnell goes to work on singer Tony Hadley’s hair. Photographed by © Shapersofthe80s

➢ Posing with a purpose at the Camden Palace — power play among the new non-working class (1983)

FRONT PAGE

2022 ➤ Reunion with Martin Creed, the artist who might yet make me rich

Martin Creed, London Art Fair, living sculpture, concart,

Martin Creed meets Your Truly: at the London Art Fair last January (© selfie)

❚ THIS YEAR I ENJOYED a madcap chance meeting at the London Art Fair with Martin Creed, artist, musician and multimedia performer noted for his wayward dress sense as a living sculpture. Our paths first crossed in 2001 just before he won the annual Turner Prize for what some described as Creed’s “most notorious work” – Work No. 227: The lights going on and off – in an empty gallery. I had stumbled across his gentle but subversive wit in Paris in 1996 at an identical light display, and then back in London found his Work No. 140: A sheet of A4 paper torn up in the shop at the Institute of Contemporary Art. It cost me a tenner. A surefire investment.

Coincidentally, when Creed was nominated for the Turner Prize in June 2001, a similar piece titled A sheet of A4 paper crumpled into a ball was reported being sold for £2,000. My boss at The Sunday Times, who knew I was a collector, insisted I interview him for News Review and ask him whether my piece was also worth £2,000. Here below you can read the feature that resulted…

Creed subsequently won that Turner Prize, and the years since then have been fertile for the audacious artist. Creed’s website lists his latest work during lockdown as No. 3725 Live at home, though he has also been actively touring the world this year. Heaven knows how the current economic dramas must be corroding the value of my torn-up £10 masterpiece.

Click on the image below to read in a new window

The Sunday Times, Martin Creed, living sculpture, art, journalism

Martin Creed featured in The Sunday Times, 3 June 2001

➢ Visit Martin Creed’s website – with video discussion of the crumpled ball of paper

FRONT PAGE

➤ Captured in 1983: the Westwood-McLaren showdown

Over two weeks I watched fashion gurus Westwood
and McLaren go their separate ways. Daggers-drawn,
they both talked exclusively to the Evening Standard…
Mine were the final pix of them together

Paris fashion, 1983, Vivienne Westwood, Malcolm McLaren, Worlds End, post-punk

Their last dance, Paris 1983… Westwood says: “Malcolm has one more chance to be good.” McLaren says: “I’m not incapable of designing the next collection myself.” Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

➢ Click here to read my enhanced version about the day
the King and Queen of Outrage realised
the end was nigh, in 1983

First published in the Evening Standard, 4 Nov 1983

➢ Obituary for Dame Vivienne Westwood 1941-2022 at The Guardian

➢ BBC’s in-depth tribute to Vivienne – the godmother of punk

FRONT PAGE

➤ Rusty Egan: next stop, St Leonards-on-Sea?

Rusty Egan

Egan onstage at the Palladium in 2019: video grab by Willy Billiams

David Johnson, editor of Shapersofthe80s, writes:

❚ OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS the musician Rusty Egan has aimed a stream of potentially defamatory abuse against me publicly online and in emails, questioning my motives as a journalist, all fuelled by his imagination rather than fact.

In order to protect my professional reputation in the eyes of colleagues in the national media, I had, in correspondence with him and his manager David Japp of Lookbook Ltd, demanded Egan withdraw his accusations and apologise by midday today. A simple apology at Facebook would avoid consequent legal action via the courts, yet no such undertaking has been received. Both men have rejected my emails, while Egan has blocked me at Facebook.

Never mind… We’ve had a glorious bright autumn morning here in London with the trees finally stripped of their canopies and the grass bright green underfoot… So it would be a shame to spend another penny on this dismal dispute. Contrary to his recent observations, Egan’s contribution to the Eighties as a clubland innovator is well documented here on this website. As for recent years, let’s say that recollections differ, and you can gauge for yourself his progress on his page at Wikipedia.

Only the other day he was feeling wistful about taking a comfy retirement in St Leonards-on-Sea with a Rusty dog for company. Who knows…?

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: 2013 – Visage: out of the 80s frying pan into the 21st-century fire

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: 2019 – Ever wondered how Rusty Egan does what he does?

FRONT PAGE

1966 ➤ The interview that made John Lennon US public enemy number one

Evening Standard,Maureen Cleave, Lennon, interview, More popular than Jesus, How does a Beatle live?

First published in the London Evening Standard, March 4, 1966

Maureen Cleave, 1964, Evening Standard❚ MAUREEN CLEAVE [left] died this week aged 87. She was a long-time colleague and friend who was refreshing to know and a perfectionist at work. She was the author of this landmark piece of journalism in 1966 in which Beatle John Lennon said ironically: “We’re more popular than Jesus now.” Bang in the middle of the Swinging 60s, at the height of Beatlemania, the most successful pop group in history became possibly the most hated. In America’s Bible Belt, outrage sent fans out to burn The Beatles’ records and radio stations round the world banned their music. The Fab Four never played live concerts again.

Maureen had written the first significant critique of the band in the London Evening Standard in February 1963, headlined “Why The Beatles create all that frenzy”. What she identified was the band’s unique stage presence while acknowledging the Liverpudlian scallywags as fresh young jokers in the Max Miller cheeky-chappie mould. This kick-started her career as probably the most clear-sighted interviewer of her generation and her survey in 1966, “How does a Beatle live?” still makes a riveting read as John Lennon guides her through his 22-room home deep in the Surrey banker-cum-oligarch belt…

➢ Read on at Shapers of the 80s:
1966, More popular than Jesus – Maureen Cleave’s full Lennon interview from the Evening Standard in 1966

Beatles, bonfires,More popular than Jesus, 1966

Christian outrage in 1966: public bonfires were organised in Alabama, Texas and Florida to burn The Beatles’ records

➢ If ever a journalist had a quote taken out of context and rehashed evermore, it was Maureen Cleave – The Times obituary, Nov 2021

➢ Once the Beatles had become the most famous entertainers in the world, Cleave witnessed at first hand the destructive force of modern celebrity – Daily Telegraph obituary, Nov 2021

➢ Journalist who was close to the Beatles and known as one of Fleet Street’s most exacting interviewers – Guardian obituary, Nov 2021

MAUREEN FILMED MEETING
BOB DYLAN IN 1965…

…DISCUSSED HERE IN 2000…

Maureen Cleave elaborates on 1965’s interview with Bob Dylan (above), filmed by D A Pennebaker for his documentary Don’t Look Back. The discussion below is extracted from The Bridge, Number 6, Spring 2000 (courtesy of @bob_notes). Click on image to enlarge…

Maureen Cleave, Bob Dylan, Don't Look Back, interview, DA Pennebaker, Matt Tempest, TheBridge

…AND AGAIN IN 2011

Blogger Stephen McCarthy explored this filmed interview with Bob Dylan in the light of his conversion to Christianity in 1978. We see Maureen Cleave ask Dylan: “Do you ever read the Bible?” because she hears echoes of its ideas in so many Dylan songs. Yet Dylan seemed uneager to follow that line of questioning.

McCarthy writes: “Remember now, this was prior to the recording of songs like Highway 61 Revisited which begins with the lines, “Oh God said to Abraham, ‘Kill me a son’. Abe says, ‘Man, you must be puttin’ me on’” … Granted there were allusions to The Bible in earlier songs, such as Gates of Eden etc, but in my opinion, it was fairly perceptive of Maureen Cleave to have discerned the religious thread that could be found woven into many of Dylan’s earliest songs. And it also begs the question, did she somehow instinctively suspect that times they were a-changin’ for Bob Dylan in some sort of spiritual sense?”

MAUREEN RECALLS JOHN AND PAUL IN 2013

FRONT PAGE