Category Archives: London

2023 ➤ Bowie anniversaries: One fan’s teenage love remains undimmed

David Bowie, 1976, Man Who Fell to Earth, pop music, films, anniversary, birth, death,

Bowie’s new look for 1976 when he became The Man Who Fell to Earth, here in a Haywain shirt. Photographed by Steve Schapiro and published on the cover of the Sunday Times Magazine

David Robert Jones
8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

Every January, two dates stir the souls of Bowie fans: the 8th being his birthday and the 10th the day he died. On the seventh anniversary of his death, Eighties Blitz Kid and pop singer ANDY POLARIS recalls the dramatic influence Bowie had on his early teens in the way that his fan base would also be galvanized by his art to inspire their own creative dreams. This extract comes from a much longer piece at his own website Apolarisview.wordpress.com … Andy writes:

Much has been written about Bowie’s Starman performance in 1972. I had begun a fascination with his image a little earlier after the Melody Maker interview, thanks to an older teenager who also had the album, Hunky Dory.

I began to spend the little pocket money I had on buying all the magazines and music papers that featured him, especially on the cover. Fab 208, PopSwop, Music Star, Music Scene and Jackie thankfully were relatively cheap and I began my scrapbook collection. Ziggy Stardust with his bold make-up and glamorous wardrobe (courtesy of Freddie Burretti and Kansai Yamamoto) was unlike anything seen before and blurred the line between sexes. This beautiful creature offered a world of possibilities to this youth already bored with football and the teenybop fandom that dominated our era. Clothes, style, identity – normal teenage rites of passage – all took on a greater importance over the next few years but now helped define a more alternative journey.

Seeking out Bowie’s references in lyrics opened a new door to imagination. His creative output eased my inner void of loneliness and probably kick-started my interest in science-fiction. Humdrum suburbia was replaced by the magical worlds of Alfred Bester, Philip K Dick, George Orwell and Robert Heinlein to a soundtrack of Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs.

Scissors, Pritt Stick or Gloy Gum and a large desk were my 1970s iPad, and all that were needed, as I lovingly read and then pasted articles onto A4 note paper into a hard grey binder. This became a ritual that continued for my teenage life. I never liked to create collages because I hated cutting up articles too much and words were equally important. What Bowie was saying or what people were saying about him seemed as important as the visuals. That shape-shifting style (musically and visually) meant I never got bored and felt that I evolved along with him, my anticipation becoming almost tangible with news of a new release or a TV appearance…

➢ Read Andy’s full article on Bowie: First anniversary of his death and my teenage love is undimmed

Andy Polaris , Billy's club, Derek Ridgers, nightlife

Future singer Andy Polaris and Sue at Billy’s in 1978. (Photograph © by Derek Ridgers)

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➤ 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)

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➤ 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

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2022 ➤ Snatch your own Rondo moment at Sullivan’s solo show

Chris Sullivan, Cuts Soho, exhibition, portraits, painting,
❚ HOW CAN ANYONE RESIST Chris Sullivan’s quirky, cheeky take on Vorticism in his personal caricatures and portraits? “I’ve always been a big fan of George Grosz,” says the legendary Wag club host who first showed his painterly skills on the record-sleeves for his band Blue Rondo a la Turk back in the Eighties and more recently has returned to producing fine art (never forget he set out at St Martin’s School). This week he has a lively solo exhibition showing in Soho, at Cuts in Frith Street, on top of which he’s hosting a vodka & gin sponsored soiree tomorrow Wednesday 7th to shift his catalogue – and all are welcome.

I must of course declare an interest. A few years back Chris was fundraising for his book Rebel Rebel and first prize for the top donation was to have your portrait painted by Chris so I jumped at that. The result, after a lo-o-o-o-ng gestation period, proved compelling. More the rebel Bomberg than Grosz and utterly F.A.B. Never look for flattery in a good portrait, though many friends have said “He’s caught the eyes very well” and who am I to disagree?

➢ Urban Heads & Other Images by Chris Sullivan,
at Cuts 41 Frith Street, W1

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: 2019, My own Rondo moment immortalised by Sullivan, the grand Wag of Soho

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