Category Archives: Pop music

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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➤ 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?

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2022 ➤ Martin Kemp on a life full of love but lacking two vital apologies

Martin Kemp, Spandau Ballet, Los Angeles, pop music, live concerts,

Golden years: Martin Kemp escaping fans after Spandau Ballet played at The Palace, Los Angeles, in 1983

❚ MARTIN IS THE YOUNGER BROTHER of the two Kemps, the good-looking one with the easy charm that has opened doors into a television career that included EastEnders. Gary is the older one with such a strong sense of self that as recently as 2017 it wrecked the last of several reunions for Spandau Ballet, by shedding their talented and popular singer Tony Hadley who now thrives with his own band. In 1978 Gary had invited Martin to learn to play bass then join his former school band the Makers 18 months before it was renamed Spandau Ballet and went on to international success.

Today The Guardian interviews Martin Kemp aged 61 about his third book, Ticket to the World: My 80s Story (HarperCollins £11), which sounds more cosy than you might expect following Kemp’s distressing surgery to remove two brain tumours during the 1990s. He can’t stop telling us how much he loves everybody in his life, even after fist fights with Gary. What does he have to say about why Tony Hadley left the band in 2017, after several previous break-ups? ➢ The interviewer Paula Cocozza reports:

“It’s something that I’d never spoken to him about. But I do feel guilty when I look back.” In the book, Kemp stops short of an apology. “Oh, listen,” he says immediately. “I would apologise to Tony, absolutely, for the way that he was treated. I think it was really poor.”

Why doesn’t he pick up the phone and say all this to Hadley? He really sounds as if he wants to. But he says: “I haven’t spoken to Tony for ages. I reach out to him, but I rarely hear back. I send little messages” – he mimes texting – “if I get two words back, I’m happy.

“Tony is lovely,” he says. “He is a lovely man. I will always, always love him, in the same way I love all the rest of the band. But you drift apart, don’t you?”

Nowhere in the interview does the name of Ross William Wild get mentioned, the singer who succeeded Hadley during 2018 following Martin Kemp’s recommendation, and was silently dumped after a trial series of concerts and subsequently contemplated suicide. When might he, too, expect an apology from the band who blanked him?

Spandau Ballet, Ross William Wild, Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp, Steve Norman, pop music,

October 2018: What proved to be vocalist Ross William Wild’s last outing with Spandau Ballet at the Hammersmith Apollo

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: 2020, Singer Ross reveals how Spandau drove him to try ending it all

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