Former door-girl at the Blitz: “Your Look isn’t extreme enough, you’re not coming in!” Janet Lyon guards the door to Lucy Bell’s photo gallery in St Leonards where vintage Blitz Kids gathered to view themselves in their prime
◼ EVERY TUESDAY FOR A YEAR as the 1980s dawned, Steve Strange had been declaring a “private party” in the shabby Blitz wine bar near London’s Covent Garden. Inside, precocious 19-year-olds presented an eye-stopping collage, posing away as stiletto-heeled vamps dressed for cocktails in a Berlin cabaret. Others came as wicked witches, kohl-eyed ghouls, futuristic man machines. Bored by the nihilism of punk with its message of “No future”, these school-leavers were determined to shape a future for themselves. At the Blitz only outrage secured entry: and some Blitz Kids spent the whole of Tuesday perfecting their Look.
Last Thursday in Sussex, previously unseen images taken in 1980 inside the club by ex-Time magazine photographer Terry Smith went on show and for sale for the next six weeks. In the spirit of the Blitz, we set up a snap of Janet Lyon with a red rope barrier on the door at Lucy Bell’s gallery for this week’s Private View. Back in the day Janet helped Steve Strange to vet new arrivals by judging how much wit and outrage they had invested in their Look. Turn inside to read our report on the vintage Blitz Kids and others who made it past the door. . .
➢ Visit the Lucy Bell Fine Art gallery website
Terry Smith, the former Time magazine photographer: recalling his shoot with Malcolm McLaren and proteges Bow Wow Wow in the mid-70s
➢ Exclusively at Shapers of the 80s:
20 of Terry Smith’s unseen Blitz Club pix – in colour
➢ Exclusively at Shapers of the 80s:
20 more of Terry Smith’s unseen Blitz Club pix . . . plus the resulting Time magazine feature from September 1980
Posted in art, Britain, Clubbing, collecting, exhibitions, Fashion, History, journalism, Media, New Romantics, photography, Swinging 80s, Tipping points, Youth culture, zeitgeist
Tagged Andy Bulled, Clare Thom, Debbie Ripley, Eve Ferret, Fiona Dealey, Francesca von Thyssen, George O’Dowd, Hattie Pearson, Helen Robinson, Ian Meek, Janet Lyon, Jon Lockwood, Kirsten Reynolds, Lucy Bell Fine Art, Paul Freyler, St Leonards Sussex, Stephen Jones, Steve Strange, Sue Tilley, Terry Smith, Tommy Crowley
“Double, double, toil and trouble” . . . Mandy d’Wit, Judith Frankland and Darla-Jane Gilroy await the casting call in case Mr Bowie drops in at the Blitz
◼ A SURPRISING NEW CACHE of photographs of the Blitz Club in colour has been discovered from the spring of 1980 when TIME magazine asked British photographer Terry Smith to turn his lens on the nightlife posers at Covent Garden’s Blitz Club. They were to become feted as the New Romantics.
Tuesdays at the Blitz were all ritual. Everyone supped and danced on the same spot every week according to some invisible floorplan: downstairs near the bar stood the boys in the band (no make-up), their media and management by the stairs, credible punk legends such as Siouxsie Sioux along the bar, suburban wannabes beside the dancefloor.
Deep within the club, around Rusty Egan’s deejay booth, were the dedicated dancing feet, the white-faced shock troops, the fashionista elite – either there or near the cloakroom, ruled first by Julia Fodor (still going strong as deejay Princess Julia) and later by George O’Dowd (known today as ex-jailbird Boy George). Downstairs, the women’s loo was hijacked, naturally, by boys who would be girls. Upstairs on the railway banquettes might be respected alumni from an earlier London: film-maker Derek Jarman, artists Brian Clarke and Kevin Whitney, designers Antony Price and Zandra Rhodes…
➢ Previously at Shapers of the 80s:
1980, Just don’t call us New Romantics
Posted in Britain, Clubbing, dance music, Fashion, London, New Romantics, photography, Pop music, Swinging 80s, Tipping points, Youth culture
Tagged Chris Sullivan, Darla-Jane Gilroy, David Holah, Dick Breslaw, Fiona Dealey, George O’Dowd, Harley Price, Helen Carey, Jeremy Healy, Judith Frankland, Ken Banta, Kim Bowen, Lesley Chilkes, Lucy Bell, Mandy d’Wit, Philip Sallon, Rose Turner, Rusty Egan, Stephen Jones, Steve Strange, Terry Smith, Time magazine, Tracey Rivers
Never before published: Steve Strange, co-founder with deejay Rusty Egan of the legendary Tuesday night at the Blitz in London
◼ AN ENORMOUS NEW CACHE of photographs of the Blitz Club in colour has been discovered from the spring of 1980 when the UK media started to take an interest in the Tuesday-night antics of the nightlife posers at Covent Garden’s Blitz Club. They were to become celebrated as the Blitz Kids by some and as New Romantics by others. Until this moment it has been easy to count the number of surviving professional pictures ever taken inside the Blitz during its 20-month life – all of them in black-and-white – and the total doesn’t even approach 100.
Now a call to Shapers of the 80s by the British photographer Terry Smith has unearthed probably 300 more images, commissioned by Time magazine. Many of them are in glorious colour, shedding extra light on the creativity of the night-owls who were in the throes of transforming the fashion and pop landscape of Britain in the Swinging 80s.
Shapers of the 80s today showcases the first of four batches of Terry’s pictures capturing the Blitz in colour, while a selling exhibition of his black-and-white images is preparing to open on 7 June in St Leonards-on-Sea.
➢ Terry Smith/Blitz and Pieces: Unseen Blitz Club Pictures
& 80s Bands runs 7 June–21 July 2018 at Lucy Bell Gallery,
St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex TN38 0EJ.
Preview 7 June, 6-8pm
Blitz Club 1980: Can you name these early New Romantics in the frilly-shirt posse?
Posted in Clubbing, exhibitions, Fashion, History, journalism, London, Media, New Romantics, nightlife, photography, Pop music, Swinging 80s, Tipping points, Youth culture
Tagged David Holah, Fiona Dealey, George O’Dowd, Harley Price, Jeremy Healy, Judith Frankland, Ken Banta, Kim Bowen, Lesley Chilkes, Lucy Bell, Philip Sallon, Rose Turner, Rusty Egan, Stephen Jones, Steve Strange, Terry Smith, Time magazine, Tracey Rivers