Tag Archives: Evening Standard

➤ Thanks, Steve, for my invitation to the Swinging 80s

Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Observer Music Magazine, Derek Ridgers,Spandau Ballet, Steve Dagger, Steve Strange, Tipping points,London, Media, Politics, Pop music, Swinging 80s,,

The Observer Music Monthly, Oct 4, 2009. Pictures © by Derek Ridgers


WHEN MY PHONE RANG IN JANUARY 1980, little did I realise its message meant: “Put out the cat. You’re coming to the party of your life.” The voice on the other end spoke without pausing: “My name’s Steve Strange and I run a club called the Blitz on Tuesdays and I’m starting a cabaret night on Thursdays with a really great new band…. they combine synthesised dance music for the future with vocals akin to Sinatra, they’re called Spandau Ballet and they’re going to be really big. . .”

➢ Click through to continue reading Yours Truly’s eye-witness account of Spandau Ballet, the Blitz Kids and the birth of the New Romantics at The Observer Music Monthly

➢ Elsewhere at Shapers of the 80s:
The Invisible Hand of Shapersofthe80s draws a selective
timeline for the break-out year of 1980


➤ Student verdicts on the new Central Saint Martins, contrasted with LCC’s sad home

CSM ,vox pops, King’s Cross , art school, Central Saint Martins

CSM student vox pops on the King’s Cross campus: views range from “good to be under one roof” to “an architect’s ego trip”. Pictures by Matt Writtle for the Evening Standard

University of Arts , CMS,King’s Cross, St Martins, Grayson Perry❚ THE ARTS AND DESIGN GLITTERATI turned out last night to celebrate the official launch of the University of the Arts’s new home for Central Saint Martins at King’s Cross.

Around 1,000 guests partied in the Grade II listed Granary Building, which has been massively renovated and extended in a £200m scheme that can accommodate 4,000 students and staff. Transvestite artist and university governor Grayson Perry wore full make-up and a vast printed dress-cum-smock while announcing the building officially open. Guests were guided to the party by a colourful light display on the outside of the building, and serenaded as they arrived by Drama Centre London’s Choral Society.

University of Arts , CSM, Grayson Perry, launch party, King's Cross,

Age of the transvestite university governor: Grayson Perry declaring the fab new college open last night

➢ In tonight’s Evening Standard Emma McCarthy tests the temperature on campus: “ After 100 years, fashion’s fledglings have flown the Soho coop. They are coming to roost instead in the heart of King’s Cross, as tonight’s launch party marks the official opening of the new Central Saint Martins campus. The renowned college of art and design — previously spread across six London sites — leaves behind its two most frequented central London campuses in Charing Cross Road and Holborn’s Southampton Row… /continued online

➢ Cross Over is the first exhibition at CSM’s new campus, celebrating the work of  2011 graduates, and runs until Nov 24.


now contrast north of the river with south

❏ Today the University of Arts (UAL) released this sleek commercial [above] showing us inside CSM’s new building at King’s Cross, talked up in a string of soundbites from celebrity alumni such as Anthony Caro and Terence Conran… In sharp contrast [below], Hollie Cradduck, a third-year journalism student, reminds us in her own video that the London College of Communication in south London — which also belongs to the UAL trust — is in serious need of renovation.

❏ Meanwhile fashion graduate Oleg Mitrofanov is still hoping to raise funds to finish I Hate My Collection, a film documenting the glorious impact of the old St Martin’s over the past half century…

➢ Will the magical blasts from the past follow St Martin’s out of Soho? Special feature by Shapersofthe80s


➤ 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