Planets club in Piccadilly, 1981: George O’Dowd before he became Boy, his sidekick and future singer Marilyn, and fashion goddess Kim Bowen. Photographed by Shapersofthe80s
❚ 2011 WAS A BUMPER YEAR for Shapersofthe80s. Visits to this website have doubled year on year, to a total of 174,658 page views during 2011. Also during the past six months, views increased by 40% over the previous six months — driven substantially by our exclusive pictures of Steve Norman’s wedding, and by exploring the heritage which informs We Can Be Heroes, Graham Smith’s definitive new photobook about 80s clubbing.
1 — Spandau Ballet — Total page views include Tony Hadley’s international tour with John Keeble, Steve Norman’s wedding, Martin Kemp’s cinematic triumphs and Gary Kemp as cultural pundit, as each of the band members has been pursuing his own interests since their farewell performance in July 2010.
2 — Boy George whose rise and fall seems Greek in its tragedic possibilities.
3 — Duran Duran who have patiently rebuilt their credibility over the past year. (Of their total page views here, almost half came in one day, yesterday*)
4 — Paradise Point — Britain’s brightest new pop musicians who mysteriously vanished from the stage almost as soon as they had published one of the most seductive videos of the year [see below].
5 — Sade whose long-awaited world tour slaked her fans’ thirst and gave her a No 1 album on both sides of the Atlantic.
6 — George Michael — another 80s survivor whose vulnerability almost renders him indestructible.
* It is an astonishing statistical exception that yesterday proved our busiest day of the year thanks entirely to Duran Duran sharing on Facebook the link to our choice of the 10 most creative tribute videos celebrating their comeback. So, despite our having followed Duran’s world tour since their newest album was launched in 2010, almost as many fans visited in a single day as during the entire year to date. ❏ iPAD, TABLET & MOBILE USERS PLEASE NOTE — You may see only a tiny selection of items from this wide-ranging website about the 1980s, not chosen by the author. To access fuller background features and site index either click on “Standard view” or visit Shapersofthe80s.com on a desktop computer. ➢ Click here to visit a different random item every time you click
Choirs of Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, during today’s wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton
❚ VYING WITH MANY VISUAL TREATS TODAY at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in Westminster Abbey was the well chosen and home-grown music. Three pieces were drawn from every Sloane’s wedding favourite, Hubert Parry, the 19th-century composer who knows how to tug at toff heartstrings. Despite which, he does rank among England’s finest and is best known for his rousing hymn Jerusalem, which inevitably followed the prayers today.
Spiritual: John Rutter
But to modern ears, the musical highlight was a soaringly beautiful choral anthem that followed the bride and groom’s marriage vows and preceded the Bishop of London’s address. Titled This is the day which the Lord hath made, the romantic three-minute piece was specially commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster for this service. Its uplifting theme wove together words from four Psalms (as published in The Book of Common Prayer) including these from Psalm 121 — “the sun shall not burn thee by day: neither the moon by night”.
The music was written by the English composer John Rutter (b 1945) who is also a conductor, editor, arranger and record producer with his own label, Collegium Records. The past day has seen reaction to the new anthem cause an immediate surge of hits at Google. Dr Rutter is said not to see himself as predominantly a composer of sacred music though he has set many psalms and carols and much of his work has a spiritual dimension. Most of his choral work has been subsequently transformed with an orchestral accompaniment so with luck this elegant piece too might be released in this way. Listen here to the new anthem, as sung at the wedding by the choirs of Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, conducted by Mr James O’Donnell, organist and master of the choristers, Westminster Abbey. The organ is played by Mr Robert Quinney, sub-organist, Westminster Abbey.
❚ WHETHER YOU’RE A MONARCHIST OR NOT, the rest of the world went ape for the royal family yesterday. By 11am BST, 10 of the top 20 Google searches in the US related to the royal wedding. Likewise on Facebook, the top 10 keywords trending as public status updates in the US and UK were all wedding-related, led by Royal Wedding, Prince William, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton.
The royal wedding swept Twitter’s worldwide trending topics Friday morning. During the bishop’s address, all ten were related to the wedding: royalwedding, rw11, casamentoreal, William & Kate, QILF, Sarah Burton, Grace Kelly, Westminster Abbey, Rutter, Abadia.
By way of translation — “casamentoreal” and “abadia” mean “royalwedding” and “abbey,” respectively, in Spanish. QILF is a play on the acronym “MILF,” where “mother” is replaced with “queen.” Sarah Burton, number six, is the designer of Kate’s dress, and the creative director of British label Alexander McQueen. Kate’s dress and look were likened to those of the Hollywood actress Grace Kelly, who married the Prince of Monaco in April 1956. Number nine, Rutter, refers to John Rutter, who composed the anthem played during the wedding.
The royal wedding group in the throne room at Buckingham Palace, April 29, 2011. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are flanked by their respective family members and attendants. Front row (left to right): Grace van Cutsem, Eliza Lopes, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, HM the Queen, Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Lady Louise Windsor, William Lowther-Pinkerton. Back row (left to right): Tom Pettifer, HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, HRH the Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Henry of Wales, Michael Middleton, Carole Middleton, James Middleton and Philippa Middleton. Photograph: Hugo Burnand
FOURTH HIGHEST ‘KETTLE EFFECT’ EVER IN UK
INTERNATIONALLY, the advance estimate predicted two billion people would tune in to Friday’s TV coverage of the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, though this figure has yet to be confirmed. About 8,500 journalists were in London for the event.
➢ IN THE UK, across the whole BBC, 34.7m viewers tuned in to watch some part of the wedding, including a million people online using BBC iPlayer. There was a peak of 6.1m viewers watching the coverage on ITV1 as the service began, the commercial broadcaster reported. Sky News had a peak of 661,000 viewers at 11am, with roughly one million people using its website.
➢ YouTube’s live feed brought the BBC’s pictures to a global online audience through its Royal Channel — which was the 23rd most-visited YT channel of the day, but trailed behind America’s Next Top Model and Top Gear.
➢ Surge in electricity demand suggests record television ratings — Daily Telegraph report
The surge in demand for electricity in the UK at the end of the royal wedding was the fourth-highest ever caused by a televised event. National Grid said that, when the couple reached Buckingham Palace after the ceremony at 12.40pm, demand for electricity increased by 2,400MW — the equivalent of nearly a million kettles being turned on at the same time. The surge was a third higher than that recorded after the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, which registered 1,800MW when 28m people had been watching in the UK.
That dazzling dress effect: National Grid also registered a 1,500MW drop in demand when viewers had their first glimpse of Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress as she got into her car to the abbey — with such a drop (rather than a surge) indicating that people were flocking to their televisions rather than carrying on with more electricity-hungry activities.
Electricity demand surges do not directly correlate with TV ratings, because they indicate how many people got up to switch their kettles on to make a cuppa — rather than the total number of people watching to begin with.
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MORE INTERESTING THAN MOST PEOPLE’S FANTASIES — THE SWINGING EIGHTIES 1978-1984
They 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
“See David Johnson’s fabulously detailed website Shapers of the 80s to which I am hugely indebted” – Political historian Dominic Sandbrook, in his book Who Dares Wins, 2019
“The (velvet) goldmine that is Shapers of the 80s” – Verdict of Chris O’Leary, respected author and blogger who analyses Bowie song by song at Pushing Ahead of the Dame
“The rather brilliant Shapers of the 80s website” – Dylan Jones in his Sweet Dreams paperback, 2021
A UNIQUE HISTORY
➢ WELCOME to the Swinging 80s ➢ THE BLOG POSTS on this front page report topical updates ➢ ROLL OVER THE MENU at page top to go deeper into the past ➢ FOR NEWS & MONTH BY MONTH SEARCH scroll down this sidebar
❏ 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
VINCENT ON AIR 2022
✱ Deejay legend Robbie Vincent returned to JazzFM on Sundays 1-3pm in 2021… Catch Robbie’s JazzFM August Bank Holiday 2020 session thanks to AhhhhhSoul with four hours of “nothing but essential rhythms of soul, jazz and funk”.
SEARCH our 800 posts or ZOOM DOWN TO THE ARCHIVE INDEX
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 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
CHEWING THE FAT
✱ Jawing at Soho Radio on the 80s clubland revolution (from 32 mins) and on art (@55 mins) is probably the most influential shaper of the 80s, former Wag-club director Chris Sullivan (pictured) with editor of this website David Johnson
LANDMARK FAREWELLS. . . HIT THE INDEX TAB UP TOP FOR EVERYTHING ELSE
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