Click pic to open the Wham Rap! video in another window … “Man or mouse” Andrew Ridgeley establishes his group’s clubbing credentials in the opening shots of the Wham video by reading my cover story on Club Culture first published in The Face in 1983 and in recent years the No 1 read at Shapers of the 80s!
❚ OVER THE PAST 14 YEARS Shapers of the 80s has received 2.2 million views, according to year-ending stats measured by our host, WordPress. Our 850+ published items total half-a-million words, which is several times more than most books, so it pays to explore the various navigation buttons. Here are the half dozen posts which remained among the most popular with readers during 2022…
For sale: Tartan tabard designed by Blitz Kid Melissa Caplan
◼ WITH SPANDAU BALLET very much in the news this week you’ve a chance to pick up a tartan tabard created by one of their early student designers, Blitz Kid Melissa Caplan. The one we see here was owned and worn by soulboy Lance Mccormack to their gig aboard HMS Belfast in 1980. Yours for £40, or whatever the highest bid is in five days’ time.
Lance says he’s having a clear out, so while you’re browsing you’ll also see a “very rare” Lewis Leathers jacket (pictured below) for sale for £250 or better offer. Other classics available include Johnson’s Lurex peg trousers bought spring 1978; Johnsons BC Ethic Larocka shirt with artwork by Vince Ray; men’s vintage Bowie jacket handmade by Carnaby Cavern London only £15.
No excuse for not looking cool at next Wednesday’s big gig.
◼ 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!
❚ “JEAN PAUL GAULTIER SENT SADE LOOK-ALIKES down his Spring-Summer runway last month, and Olivier Rousteing borrowed her signature hoops and shoulder pads for his Balmain collection. The up-and-coming British soul star Jessie Ware owes everything to Sade, down to her painted lips and single braid.” So says the prestige fashion website Style.com today in its Beauty Icon spot. “As it turns out, fashion has played no small role in the life of Helen Folasade Adu,” it adds, while sketching her distinctive contribution to music and style.
Best of all, Style.com includes a classic early shot of Sade taken by Shapersofthe80s, long before she became a singer, when she modelled clothes by Melissa Caplan in New York during the now legendary invasion of America by London’s trend-setting Blitz Kids in 1981. Catch our eye-witness report inside:
On this day 30 years ago, 21 Blitz Kids, average age 21, took Manhattan by storm. Spandau Ballet provided the new British electropop, the Axiom design collective provided the radical London fashion show, while Tina Turner and Robert de Niro joined the coolest audience in New York City to witness the new sounds and new styles of Swinging London…
First published in the first issue of New Sounds New Styles in July 1981
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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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