INDEX OF ALL 700+ POSTS➢ 2009 till now : Everything at Shapers of the 80s.
Now in our tenth year.
Thanks for 1.6 million visits.
MORE INTERESTING THAN MOST PEOPLE’S FANTASIES — THE SWINGING EIGHTIES 1978-1984They didn’t call themselves New Romantics, or the Blitz Kids – but other people did.
“I’d find people at the Blitz who were possible only in my imagination. But they were real” — Stephen Jones, hatmaker, 1983. (Illustration courtesy Iain R Webb, 1983)
“The truth about those Blitz club people was more interesting than most people’s fantasies” — Steve Dagger, pop group manager, 1983
An “invaluable website” — historian Dominic Sandbrook, 2012
A UNIQUE HISTORY➢ WELCOME to the Swinging 80s
➢ THE BLOG POSTS on this front page report topical updates
➢ ROLL OVER THE MENU AT TOP to go deeper into the past
➢ FOR NEWS & MONTH BY MONTH SEARCH, see the sidebar below
❏ Header artwork by Kat Starchild shows Blitz Kids Darla Jane Gilroy, Elise Brazier, Judi Frankland and Steve Strange, with David Bowie at centre in his 1980 video for Ashes to Ashes
TOLD FOR THE FIRST TIME
◆ Who was who in Spandau’s break-out year of 1980? The Invisible Hand of Shapersofthe80s draws a selective timeline for The unprecedented rise and rise of Spandau Ballet –– Turn to our inside page
- ➤ Ross leaps out of the Ballet into the cauldron of grunge
- 2019 ➤ This would have been Steve Strange’s 60th birthday
- 2019 ➤ Another Spandau bombshell – Kemp Brothers drive out Ross their ‘perfect’ new singer
- ➤ Sullivan’s manifesto for the Rebel Rebel life
- 2019 ➤ For three nights only, Ziggy’s stylist Freddie stars in his own musical
- 1967 ➤ Secret of how Scott Walker achieved a new adult voice as he went solo
- ➤ Elms the storyteller on why some stories are ‘too good to check’
- 2019 ➤ Spandau vocalist Ross rocks fans by announcing his own new band Mercutio
- 2019 ➤ George Michael’s art for sale: funky, X-rated and naughty as you’d expect
- ➤ A personal tale about the genius staring out from a painting expected to sell for £30m tonight
- ➤ My own Rondo moment immortalised by Sullivan, the grand Wag of Soho
- ➤ Bowie TV trilogy triumphs thanks to candour and a few tears
SEARCH our 700 posts or ZOOM DOWN TO THE ARCHIVE INDEX
NEWS — OLD FACES, NEW MIXES FOR THE 20-TEENS
✱ Visit Radio2 online before 25 June to catch up on this sweeping three-hour musical panorama of what made the Swinging 80s so compelling a chapter in British youth cultural history. Stars among the guests on Martin Kemp’s New Romantics are veteran motormouths, the broadcaster Robert Elms and Wag club director Chris Sullivan, who remind us energetically why they are rightly key Shapers of the 80s. We hear other great stories from Blitz Club deejay Rusty Egan, Blitz Kid and clubbing legend Princess Julia, journalist Paul Simper, ex-Bananarama member Siobhan Fahey, deejays Mark Moore (S’Express/Mud Club) and Playground’s Fat Tony. High-octane playlist of 35 tunes demonstrates the innovative range of sounds that fuelled our dance-floor excesses. Abs no rock.
✱ The new track Dance In The Hurricane from Toyah Willcox’s album In The Court Of The Crimson Queen is out now… Toyah is performing live dates through summer to her Crimson Queen autumn tour – details at Toyah’s own website
✱ Watch out for ex-Wag Club supremo Chris Sullivan’s new book Rebel Rebel for £11. It runs to 320 pages with his own illustrations of the likes of Bowie, Iggy and Robert Mitchum. Cheapest bought from Waterstones
✱ Yet another audience with the gabbiest deejay in town, Rusty Egan, co-founder of the legendary Tuesday clubnight at the Blitz – ever up for a laugh and for challenging questions from the audience! At PizzaExpress Live (Holborn) on 19 June 2019 price £15. . . Visit his output online: Welcome to the Remix at Bandcamp, plus Welcome to the Beach in which Austrian producer HP Hoeger and Egan have taken last year’s Welcome to the Dance Floor and transformed it for the beach. . . More Egan mixes at Mixcloud and personal playlists at Soundcloud
✱ Jeff Young on Jazz FM last year made the new 18-track Siren his album of the week. This January it won the Bright Star Music Award for Best Soul / R& B Album 2018, brainchild of Colourful Radio. It was superbly crafted by Londoner Robb Scott, with strong supporting lineup, for the Expansion label. Soul Brother Records says: “A collection of classy soul/jazz grooves on that has jazz at its heart but with some superb soulful brushstrokes applied.” Purchase directly from the artist’s store
UNTOLD BLITZ STORIES
✱ If you thought there was no more to know about the birth of Blitz culture in 1980 then get your hands on a sensational new book by an obsessive music fan called David Barrat. It is gripping, original and epic – a spooky tale of coincidence and parallel lives as mind-tingling as a Sherlock Holmes yarn. Titled both New Romantics Who Never Were and The Untold Story of Spandau Ballet! Sample this initial taster here at Shapers of the 80s
LANDMARK FAREWELLS. . . HIT THE INDEX TAB UP TOP FOR EVERYTHING ELSE
✱ “I’m not a rock star” Bowie often said – No, David, you were a messiah – Obituaries and key videos on the godlike one
Archive — Many publication dates are arbitrary, so click and take pot luck!
Tag Archives: Heaven 17
❚ SPOTTY TEENAGERS DIDDLING WITH TWO FINGERS. Electronic music has usually had a dourly downbeat image for most of us. Synths in bedsits, and all that. Yet the tunes of our youth are the spark that fuel our creative adventures. That’s the inspirational notion behind a new monthly radio show titled Music for… Growing Up To, compiled by Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware of Heaven 17 for Radio Ditto. Drawing from their own idiosyncratic record collections and their undiminished curiosity, these electronic pioneers of the early 80s — founders of The Human League who broke away in 1980 — will also be scanning the web for new discoveries in a segment they call Found on Soundcloud. And, they say, anybody can also submit their own new tunes for the webcast.
All of which is by way of a trailer for their British Electric Foundation’s two-day festival, Music of Quality and Distinction Live, at London’s Roundhouse venue in the autumn. They were encouraged by the full houses during Heaven 17’s Penthouse and Pavement 30th anniversary tour last year, built around what many of us regard as the most progressive album of 1981. Playing synthesisers live onstage seldom offers the most dramatic of experiences. Yet, despite the pretentiously named BEF, their original production company, Heaven 17’s imaginatively presented tour generated a real party atmosphere thanks to exceptional supporting musicians and innovative digital light displays — rather more than you’d expect from paunchy veterans standing at keyboards, and a darn sight more good-humoured than some recent po-faced electro-revivals. From Soul Warfare and Let’s All Make A Bomb to Fascist Groove Thang, Ware & Gregory’s rebel anthems lent themselves to enthusiastic singalongs.
➢ The Roundhouse celebration of seminal electronic music from the past 30 years consists of a major concert each night. Friday October 14 sees a live premiere of Heaven 17’s top-ten album The Luxury Gap from 1983… October 15 will be BEF’s first live show featuring guest vocals from Elly Jackson (LaRoux), Green Gartside (Scritti Politti), Shingai Shoniwa (Noisettes), Boy George (Culture Club), Midge Ure (Ultravox), Andy Bell (Erasure), Sandie Shaw, Polly Scattergood and Kim Wilde.
➢ Other summer festival gigs by Heaven 17 — brilliantly backed by Billie Godfrey, Asa Bennett, Joel Farland being dynamite on LinnDrums, Julian Crampton being a god on bass and Me’sha Bryan — include Coventry, Sheffield, London, Whitstable, Perth and Nottingham.