Tag Archives: Evening Standard

➤ Did London’s £15m security cameras really fail to record attack on Boy George’s best friend?

Philip Sallon, nightclubbing, homophobic attacks,

Birthday party 2010: clubworld entrepreneur Philip Sallon seen last November at Home House, courtesy pandemonia99.blogspot.com

❚ LAST WEEKEND BANG ON PICCADILLY CIRCUS one of London nightclubbing’s most familiar superstars — a leading club promoter and party planner for the past 30 years — was beaten senseless at about 3.30am. Police say two people kicked him in the head repeatedly and ran off. They fractured his skull. So far, however, neither the Metropolitan Police nor Westminster City Council have reported any surveillance video footage of the incident. On Piccadilly Circus.  The most famous, most brilliantly lit traffic roundabout in our 24-hour capital city.

Philip Sallon, club promoter, party planner

Sallon as few of us have ever seen him, pictured last year by Nigel Howard

Tuesday’s Evening Standard carried the headline: Boy George appeals to catch attackers of ‘oldest and closest friend’. The report said: “Philip Sallon, 59, a flamboyant figure on the West End club scene, is recovering in hospital after the assault near Piccadilly Circus in the early hours of Saturday. Mr Sallon, from St John’s Wood, who founded the Mud Club in the Eighties, was stamped on and kicked in the head and suffered broken bones in his face.”

The fact that Sallon is an overtly gay man has raised suspicions that the attack was motivated by homophobia.

Pop star George O’Dowd told the Standard: “I am very upset. He is my oldest and closest friend. He is a colourful character but certainly not aggressive. He is not someone who would have got into a fight. He is a bit like me and just goes out on his own.”

➢ Meet at the Eros statue on Piccadilly Friday night/Saturday morning April 15–16, from midnight to 03:30 to distribute witness appeal flyers, to talk to potential witnesses and to show your support. Alice Shaw, Tamara Adair, Benjamin Till have organised the Facebook group Supporting Philip Sallon.
➢ April 8 update: Guardian Online reports a change to the precise location where Sallon was attacked. “The victim was found outside Ripley’s Believe It or Not exhibition,” police told The Guardian. This is housed in the triangular building once known as the London Pavilion, directly across Shaftesbury Avenue from Gap, which was mentioned in early reports.

April 16 update — Only about 30 of the 127 Facebookers who said they would attend this morning’s rally had arrived when Sallon sympathisers carrying posters bearing the victim’s photo departed from the Eros steps just after midnight to seek witnesses in nearby streets. One of the three Westminster policemen accompanying them was vague about where Sallon had been found on April 2. He seemed to think Sallon had staggered north to Regent Street before collapsing, whereas the Standard had police reporting he was found outside Gap and The Guardian outside Ripley’s, which has five security cameras on various parts of its Piccadilly facades. Among many building works in progress around the Circus, five more CCTV cameras can be seen within line of sight of Eros himself, which makes it all the more surprising that no footage of the attack has come to light.

George appealed for witnesses to come forward: “The police are dealing with it but apparently there is no CCTV footage.”

The scandalous irony is that half a mile away, Westminster Council celebrates the glory of its CCTV system with a plaque in Meard Street, Soho, on the wall of the former nightclub “Gossips formerly Billy’s”. This legendary cellar club is where Sallon and O’Dowd’s generation gave birth to the once-a-week clubnight that transformed British clubbing at the dawn of the 80s, and made London a dance destination for the young people of Europe. [Read The Making of UK Club Culture, from The Face, 1983]

The inscription on the plaque, which was unveiled only last year, pays tribute to the late Ian Wilder, a Westminster councillor: “In recognition of his pioneering work in proposing Westminster’s Wi-Fi system, this site can be seen throughout the world 24/7”. Opposite the plaque, a Wi-Fi enabled camera hangs from a lamp-post so that the world may view the reasonably tranquil pedestrian walkway that is Meard Street. Seemingly, Piccadilly Circus which teems with people and traffic most nights at 3am does not qualify for such 24/7 surveillance.

CCTV,Westminster Council, Meard Street, Soho, security, WiFi

Visible on camera 24/7: Westminster Council’s plaque in Meard Street

Councillor Wilder saw how wireless technology was being deployed during a visit to the United States. In 2004 he initiated the installation of a pilot wireless network and four wireless TV cameras in Soho, portable enough to be moved to potential troublespots and slung from lamp-posts without attracting attention. They cost a fifth as much as traditional fixed-line CCTV cameras.

Within two years, the Wireless City Project had become a network of 40 wireless cameras, and in Soho, eight remote monitoring stations, as well as mobile applications for food and licensing inspectors, housing estate officers, and parking attendants. These cameras were integrated into Westminster’s existing £15million monitoring system of wired CCTV cameras. The council has long believed that its street surveillance network is one of the most efficient in the world, capturing high-quality, scalable data that can provide viable evidence in the law courts.

A video report at Guardian Online shows us inside Westminster’s CCTV control centre, where a supervisor talks confidently about being able to identify “aggressive beggars, illegal street trading — we can see it all” while enjoying “full talkthrough with police on the ground”. And yet. No sign of two thugs beating Philip Sallon unconscious, apparently. He is still in hospital.

Meanwhile in today’s Evening Standard fashion editor Laura Craik cites the police statistic that homophobic incidents in London have increased by 28 per cent over the past four years — “and that only reflects the ones that were reported”.

❚ @BoyGeorge on Twitter “My friend was brutally attacked & hospitalized on Saturday in Piccadilly, someone called an ambulance? Was it you?” — If you witnessed Philip Sallon’s beating last Saturday at about 3.30am, contact Westminster Serious Violence Team on 0207 321 9315, ref 65 1803/11, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Philip Sallon, George O'Dowd, 1980

Philip Sallon with George O’Dowd, 1980: as mentor and guiding light, Sallon gave George his first break as a deejay at Planet’s nightspot and urged him to form a pop group. Photographed at one of Paul Sturridge’s houseparties in Harlesden

➢ Who’s who in the New London Weekend — The Face in 1983 picks Philip Sallon’s Mud Club as one of the four prime movers making London swing again

➢ View video of The Cruella Diaries — Philip Sallon in performance mode… “I’m wearing British ethnic at the moment”

➢ June 8 update: Wise-cracking Sallon shimmies back onto London’s party scene

Siouxsie Sioux, Steve Severin, Bromley Contingent, Philip Sallon, punks, Bill Grundy

Epic picture of the Bromley Contingent, 1976: Cricklewood-born style leader Philip Sallon wears plastic shorts, second right. The Bromley Contingent were the core Sex Pistols fans who popularised early punk looks. They included Siouxsie Sioux, Steve Severin, Simone Thomas and Simon “Boy” Barker who appeared on teatime TV when the Pistols were interviewed by Bill Grundy in December 1976. Between them they uttered a series of expletives live on-air, achieved lift-off for the punk movement and catapulted Grundy out of his job. (Photographed © by Ray Stevenson)

➢ 2012 update: Six rewrites punk history with an outlandish claim about the Not-Really-From-Bromley Contingent


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

John Maybury, Marek Kohn,Blitz culture,  ZG

Left, film-maker John Maybury in Tortures That Laugh © John Maybury 1978, artist’s collection; right, graphic from ZG magazine, issue one, 1980

❚ THE BLITZ CLUB SCENE EVOLVED RAPIDLY during the summer of 1980 as media coverage caught up, and it became clear that the New Romantics were not the only social group making waves. In the London Evening Standard’s On The Line column I had been following the Blitz Kids all year and, unsurprisingly, my nocturnal antics raised eyebrows at the Standard by day. “Do they talk sort of funny?” colleagues would ask about my bizarre playmates, meaning did they say “Leave it aht” instead of “OK yah”? Over time the generation gap I was reporting caught the attention of the Standard’s perceptive film critic Alexander Walker, who couldn’t read enough about Britain’s self-possessed youth movement. “Not so much a generation gap,” he observed sagely. “More a genus gap!” In this respect, the parallels with the digital natives of today’s Generation Y are spooky.

A key difference was the naked ambition of the media-savvy Blitz Kids who shunned rock music as a stone-age relic. They were spreading inspiration through Britain’s clubland, even as Steve Strange’s Tuesday nights at the Blitz ended suddenly on October 14, as also did Hell, their Thursday offshoot. Key players were changing trains. That very week Spandau Ballet had signed their first record deal, while I had been darting daily from concert to club to Kensington Market surveying the many competing expressions of youthful endeavour, then trying to persuade the editor Charles Wintour that A Significant Youthquake Was About To Break.

A month earlier during London fashion week I’d only just scraped into print with my first Pose Age report showing Melissa Caplan’s unisex tabards which were being worn to shock. “You’re making this up,” raged one senior editor whose veto against publishing was over-ruled by Wintour. Now I was proposing that this sweeping survey for On The Line should make a spectacular centre spread in the paper. Yet the eye-searing kids in our pictures were a bridge too far even for the enlightened Wintour, who sent me a memo saying it was all “Rather too esoteric for us”. Under protest, he finally conceded splitting the survey between two separate pages a week apart.

By Christmas Spandau’s single became a chart hit, along with Fade to Grey by Visage, fronted by Steve Strange. We could not know then how quickly Britain’s clubbing grapevine was to hurtle yet more clubland bands into the charts, many unveiled by sharp young managers the same age as the talent. Or that 1981 would soon be spinning like a New Romantic dynamo.

Evening Standard, Oct 16, 1980

First published in the Evening Standard, Oct 16, 1980

THE CYNICS may have written off London as dead in 1980 but somewhere under the skin a dozen small worlds are struggling to prove our swinging capital is not yet finished. Each private world has its own star system and its own code of conduct. Some steer a scenic route through the maze of being young, broke and having energy to spare. . .

➢ Click to continue reading
One week in the private worlds of the new young

Shaping ambitions at the Blitz in 1980: Lee Sheldrick, Melissa Caplan, Kim Bowen and Bob Elms


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

On this autumn day 30 years ago, a handful of comics in their twenties broke free from the bear-pit formula of the Comedy Store, which had opened in London in 1979, modelled on its Hollywood precursor. These soon-to-be-famous clowns were angry with Britain’s complacency in the face of recession and decided to define a new kind of comedy. First news of the breakaway faction that would eventually make household names of French & Saunders, Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson and Alexei Sayle appeared in the Evening Standard’s On The Line page …

Comic Strip, Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle,Michael White

First published in the Evening Standard, October 2, 1980

❚ SOHO HAS LONG ENJOYED A GOOD GIGGLE and now, cheek to cheek with the king of strip Raymond’s Revue Bar, the Comic Strip opens on Tuesday in the tiny Boulevard Theatre off Brewer Street. Billed as London’s “newest anarchic cabaret”, it could be called Son of the Comedy Store, a nightspot already well established as a Gong Show for would-be comedians.

“The Comic Strip’s going to feature the best of the Comedy Store and more,” explained Peter Richardson, one of a comedy duo called The Outer Limits, who are launching the enterprise with West End impresario Michael White (the man behind the musical Annie). “There was too much experimentation in the Comedy Store. We want to establish a certain standard at the Comic Strip.”

alternative cabaret,comedy, Soho, Comic Strip,1980,Rik Mayall

Angry Feminist Poet: Rik Mayall at the Comic Strip, Nov 1980. Photographed by © Shapersofthe80s

He and the comedians he has brought with him — including the Comedy Store’s acerbic compere, Alexei Sayle —believe the traumas of the 1980s have brought a sharper cutting edge to comedy comparable perhaps to the satire Germany fostered in the 30s. “Who wants to see Kafka on a stage when it’s all round us in real life? People want to laugh,” said Rik Mayall, one half of an act called 20th-Century Coyote. “There’s a growing interest in political cabaret too.”

This self-styled “alternative” comedy isn’t all heavy social comment by any means, its roots going back more to clowning. What these comics are attempting is deliberately to shake off the influence of the Footlights clan who have shaped British humour for the past 20 years. Mayall himself has a talent for the merciless lampoon. One of his sketches, a punk commuter lamenting his daily lot, is the funniest invention since John Cleese’s Ministry of Silly Walks.

Last weekend he and The Outer Limits were playing to packed houses at the Three Horseshoes, a pub theatre in Hampstead, as if to prove that alternative humour is booming. The Comic Strip promises a varied line-up which this month includes Pamela Stephenson from BBC-tv’s Not The Nine O’Clock News. Entrance will cost a flat £3.

➢ 1980, A new decade demands new comedy
— Birth of the Comic Strip


➤ Anna declares McQueen a pioneer of dreams and drama

St Paul’s Cathedral, McQueen, ceremony, Anna Wintour,Hilary Alexander

A hint of gold from the doyennes attending St Paul’s Cathedral for the McQueen ceremony: Anna Wintour, Vogue editor, and Hilary Alexander, Daily Telegraph fashion director. Photographs © Glenn Copus/PA/Getty

WITH LONDON FASHION WEEK IN FULL SWING, hundreds of leading fashionistas gathered in St Paul’s Cathedral today for a ceremony in memory of Alexander McQueen. A taxi driver’s son who grew up in London’s East End, he became Britain’s most confrontational, unfettered and theatrical designer. He died in February aged 40, having been appointed a CBE and named British Designer of the Year four times by the British Fashion Council.

St Paul’s Cathedral, Alexander McQueen, London Fashion Week, ceremony,  tributes,

Alexander McQueen: enfant terrible of the runway

The world’s most powerful arbiter of fashion, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, led today’s tributes. Models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, actress Sarah Jessica Parker, muse Daphne Guinness and designer Stella McCartney were among the congregation, which also included relatives and former colleagues of McQueen.

Anna Wintour is the English-born daughter of Charles — editor of the Evening Standard during the Swinging 60s when his London paper achieved international acclaim. After removing her sunglasses, something she rarely does in public, Anna paid a moving tribute to McQueen: “He was a complex and gifted young man who, as a child, liked nothing more than watching the birds from the roof of his east London tower block.

Bjork, Alexander McQueen, memorial,

Bjork performing Gloomy Sunday

“He had an 18-year-long career of pioneering his dreams and dramas. He cared what people thought of his clothes but not of him. He never appeared at ease with himself and hated to travel away from his beloved London.”

Björk sang the haunting hymn Gloomy Sunday, which reflects on the horrors of modern culture, and there were also addresses from jeweller Shaun Leane, model Annabelle Neilson, McQueen’s nephew Gary Hulyer and milliner Philip Treacy. Composer and pianist Michael Nyman and the London Community Gospel Choir gave musical performances.

➢ Fuller Evening Standard report of the McQueen service, plus gallery

➢ Backstage with Hilary — Cheek and effervescence spice the Telegraph doyenne’s videos and reports of the autumn shows in New York, London and Milan

➢ “My father really decided for me that I should work in fashion” — Anna Wintour in The September Issue. Out this week on DVD, the most gripping movie ever about editorial decisionmaking, OK, on the world’s most powerful fashion magazine, but for that very reason, junking $50k’s worth of photography is a measure of that power. [“Knocks All the President’s Men into a cocked hat” — Shapersofthe80s]


2010 ➤ Is it goodbye or merely au revoir? Spandau’s questions, questions give us no answers

Spandau Ballet, Heaven club, London, New Romantics

London’s Heaven club, Dec 29, 1980: the tenth of Spandau Ballet’s selected dates, as they were known in those days to avoid the rockist words “gig” and “tour”. Note Gary Kemp, far left, on synth. Photograph © by Shapersofthe80s

❚ TONIGHT AT A SWANK EVENING BASH Spandau Ballet bow out from the Reformation Tour which reunited the five former schoolmates from the Angel, Islington, for one year, one album, one single, one tour, one DVD and umpteen vintage remixes. They headline the second of this year’s Newmarket Nights at the summer racecourse near the Suffolk market town renowned as the birthplace of thoroughbred horse racing.

Tomorrow the mobile knives climb back in the drawer and who knows whether they will ever be sharpened again as a team? Tony Hadley in particular hits the road on July 3 with his own band alongside ABC and Rick Astley. It’s the first of a series of Heart Radio picnic concerts, starting at Borde Hill Garden in Sussex.

Reasons reasons were there from the start, so each member of Spandau returns to his own art. Shapersofthe80s, too, was there from the start, corralling the 22 Blitz Kids who put the show on the road in 1980 for a now-nostalgic team photo at the Waldorf Hotel. Robert Elms even smuggled a copy of my Evening Standard column into the picture in his right hand, sentimentalists as we were at the outset of the big adventure. Blue sing la lune, sing lagoon.

Instead of a traditional retirement clock, here’s a bespoke souvenir of their heyday for the Angel Boys, courtesy of the E4 TV series Skins. It’s a slideshow of Spandau’s biggest No 1 hit True, rendered very poignantly with ukulele backing . . .