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
◼ A SENSATIONAL DISCOVERY LOST FOR 30 YEARS … This 14-minute TV report captures the subculturally fertile period of spring 1982 when so many of London clubland’s collaborative talents were making their own creative waves, even as nightlife itself went mainstream with a bang and mega-discos started to take hold across austerity Britain.
Here leader of the Blitz Kids and club entrepreneur Steve Strange is discovered by Robert Mugnerot for TF1’s Megahertz in an excellent piece of reportage from London. It was shown in France on 23 March 1982, two weeks before Steve staged his Best of British designers fashion show at Le Palace in Paris, but shot presumably in that pause when Strange and his deejay Rusty Egan were clubless, between the end of Heroes in Baker Street’s Barracuda, Dec 1981, and the opening of Camden Palace in April 1982.
This package intersperses Visage performance clips with initial footage at the always-cool Embassy club showing many of the usual suspects, plus a good sequence inside Helen Robinson’s PX boutique, featuring Helen, the young milliner Stephen Jones and designer Melissa Caplan. It closes with model Julia Fodor in studio for a Visage video shoot, plus Steve Strange dragged up as his pal Francesca Thyssen singing The Lady is a Tramp in a duet with the French singer Ronny, both wearing Antony Price, as featured in Vogue. Cap that!
1982: Milliner Stephen Jones and Steve Strange show off the PX boutique to French TV. (Screengrab © TF1)
1982: Steve Strange dragged up singing The Lady is a Tramp with Ronny for French TV. (Screengrab © TF1)
➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s, my full 1982 report and videos of the Best of British show in Paris: Steve Strange takes fashion to the French
Posted in Clubbing, Fashion, London, Pop music, TV, Youth culture
Tagged Embassy club, Helen Robinson, Melissa Caplan, PX, Ronny, Stephen Jones, Steve Strange, Video