Tag Archives: Guardian Online

2018 ➤ Judy Blame dies: cherry-picker of cultural detritus

Judy Blame ,Nicola Tyson,fashion, stylist, photography,

Judy Blame in 1983, photographed by Nicola Tyson

THE VERY DAY THIS WEEK WHEN HM THE QUEEN put a smile on the face of the British fashion industry, by attending London Fashion Week for the first time, also brought the sad news of Judy Blame’s death, aged 58. He (yes, he) was one of those self-taught iconoclasts who was acquiring a luminescent reputation in the electric 1980s when Fashion Week came into being, driven in part by the streetwise youth culture that Shapers of the 80s celebrates.

Blame shared friends with the charismatic Ray Petri whose flair gave kudos to the word “stylist” by injecting attitude and dash into the role of the humble gofer who gathered props and make-up for a photo shoot. This was the generation of creatives who asserted their urban savviness and shifted the word style itself from meaning a suspect and second-rate lure with which marketeers sold their wares. By the end of the decade, style and fashion had become distinct goals in their own right, the first announcing individuality in consumer choice and mainstream media, while fashion confirmed convention.

Blame’s own talents as an image-maker were celebrated in 2016 at an Institute of Contemporary Arts exhibition titled Never Again which displayed his DIY jewellery, objets trouvés, clothing, photomontages, sketchbooks and T-shirts, and gave insights into working with Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack.

➢ Pictures and fulsome tributes to Judy Blame
on our inside page

Born Chris Barnes in 1960, Blame died on 19 February 2018 and the tributes flowed in. Dylan Jones, editor-in-chief of GQ, wrote: “He was an artist, a genuine one, someone who could cherry-pick cultural detritus and then mix it all together to create something new, something lasting.”

Nick Knight, photographer and director of SHOWstudio, wrote: “Always totally unique, always a champion of the underdog, always fiercely anti-fascist and anti-establishment, always inspiring, always so immensely talented and always one hundred % brilliant.”

Scarlett Cannon, Blame’s dearest friend and partner in fronting the Cha-Cha club-night 1981-82, said: “I’m heartbroken but so happy to have had him in my life all these years. He left such a rich heritage of inspiration and touched so many people.”

Judy Blame,Scarlett Cannon, fashion, nightclubbing

Judy Blame with his long-standing friend Scarlett Cannon, and little Maude

➢ So much purpose. So much talent – Tribute by Paul Flynn at Guardian online, 20 Feb 2018



➤ The day Gary Kemp reduced hard-nosed Guardianistas to tears

◼ AS WITH ANY ARTICLE AT THE GRAUNIAD about New Romantic cheerleaders Spandau Ballet, the resulting comments published online are always riotously entertaining. This is the one band that really winds up Guardianistas to a pitch of fury. When the 80s band announced their reunion tour in 2009, Michael Hann declared how much he’s always loathed them in a Graudina music blog which then provoked 342 comments — 342! — most of them apoplectic. How many other bands can claim such a following?

books, Lyrics of Gary Kemp,Lyric Book Company,

As it happens the Spandau songwriter has recently published an 88-page coffee-table book, titled The Lyrics of Gary Kemp from Lyric Book Company

Today for no apparent reason, the Guranaid runs an item about how Gary Kemp and Steve Norman made Spandau’s 1983 No1 hit True, in which lyricist Kemp admits: “I’m still berated for the line Take your seaside arms, but it’s straight out of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.”

Readers of Shapersofthe80s already know that the song was inspired by Kemp’s unrequited pash for poppette Clare Grogan — he was 22, she was 18 — who fronted an 80s band of Scottish cuties called Altered Images. On the same page, Steve Norman deconstructs his self-taught sax solo which has a key change in reply to Grover Washington’s Just The Two of Us.

All of which strangely prompts tearful blubbing at the Graun, rather than the usual explosion of acerbic outrage. Specimen comments follow after this gratuitous excuse to run a video…


➢ Meanwhile back to today’s Grauniad Online:
❏ Nietzsche39 (who else?) notes: “You don’t bastardise Nabokov. Seaside arms is absurd. Seaside limbs is genius.”

❏ Nepthsolem moans: “It always sounds to me like See side arms, as though referring to the service revolver I imagine was issued to all New Romantics, but sadly never used on TOTP.”

❏ DeeSawdeley says: “I always thought it was seaside aunt, which (for those of us with a seaside aunt, anyway) makes much more sense. Bet he wishes he’d written that now!”

❏ Stolencar comments: “Note also he says she gave him a copy of Lolita not that she had read it.”

❏ To which Vastariner responds: “There’s a picture of her reading it on the front of the Best Of Altered Images compilation released in 1991. Some might call me obsessed for knowing that, or because I have a username taken from one of her lyrics… etc etc.”

❏ From another planet, Golgafrinchan sobs: “I had unrequited love for Clare Grogan, still do to be fair. If you’re reading this Clare, get in touch, there’s still time.”

❏ DameHedwig adds: “I’ve often told my son that if things had worked out for me, Ms Grogan would be his Mum.”

❏ And Mccaugh: “As for the sublime Miss Grogan, well, just how many times did we go and see Gregory’s Girl? Helped, of course, by the fact that it ran at the Dominion Cinema in Edinburgh for three years non-stop.”

❏ Finally Bloodydoorsoff tells a despicable and blatant untruth about darling Clare, so you’ll just have to go to Grunadia Online to see it. And plenty more.

John Gordon Sinclair, Scott Neil), Clare Grogan, Glasgow Film Festival ,Gregory’s Girl

Glasgow Film Festival 2010: Darling Clare seen with Gregory’s Girl sidekick John Gordon Sinclair. In 1994 — sorry, lads — she married bandmate Stephen Lironi in Glasgow and today the couple live in Haringey, London, with their adopted daughter. (Photography by © Scott Neil)


2012 ➤ Adam Ant: sex, subversion, style, humour but don’t nobble me as a New Romantic

Adam Ant, interview, New Romantics,Proud Camden, photography, live concert

Adam Ant: intensely serious. (Photograph newly posted at Facebook)

➢ Adam Ant, Dandy in the Underworld is a retrospective photographic exhibition at Proud Galleries in London, being launched with a charity performance by Adam and band on March 6, 2012. Hence a superbly considered interview with Decca Aitkenhead in today’s Guardian about surviving stardom, dealing with bipolar disorder and stuff…

Ant still gets annoyed when anyone muddles him up with the early 80s New Romantic scene: “Cos New Romantic was nothing to do with Adam and the Ants. The Ants was a punk band, or a post-punk band if anything, and so historically it’s inaccurate. New Romantic was basically, in my mind, clubbers with too much makeup on with stupid clothes. I never set foot in any of their clubs, so I find it quite distressing to be nobbled into New Romantic, cos it was just a load of guys who looked like they’d had a row with their girlfriends’ makeup. There was nothing tough about it, nothing dangerous about it, it was soft electro stuff and it just looked a bit wet. And I didn’t like being associated with it.”

A man of 58 who still cares this much should probably come across as faintly ridiculous, but the intense seriousness with which Ant deconstructs these arcane distinctions conveys an impression of almost heartbreaking vulnerability… / continued online

“ I never set foot in the f***ing Blitz [club]

Adam Ant drawing his line in the sand with
the New Romantics
(Clink magazine, 23 March 2011)


➢ 1981, How Adam stomped his way across the charts with six records in the same month to thwart the nascent New Romantics:

Adam Ant, Jordan, Jubilee, 1977

Instinctive punks, 1977: Adam and Jordan at the premiere for Jubilee

Shapersofthe80s has always drawn a clear distinction between Adam Ant and the New Romantics. As does Marco Pirroni, the Ants guitarist and co-writer of many of their hits. “Adam is glam-punk,” he told me emphatically at the bar of the Wag when Ant’s first solo single Puss ’n Boots was storming the chart in Oct 1983. “Americans don’t understand he was never a New Romantic.”

As if proof were needed, just gawp at the way Adam goes hoppity-skippiting through the video to Antmusic. The rent-a-crowd extras must have been the least stylish Londoners within earshot of the Blitz club. Gawp again at how these kids can’t dance either!

Yes of course Kings of the Wild Frontier went on to become one of the great slapstick albums of its time. No dispute. And with characters like Prince Charming and Puss ’n Boots, Adam treated us to year-round pantomime.

➢ Adam and Marco in battle of the bands — How I wrote Stand and Deliver, plus the early days of Ant music, plus all about Marco