❚ A CRACKLING EXCHANGE OF OPINIONS has given Facebook some edge this week. Legendary Wag club host, the deejay Chris Sullivan poured scorn on the term “jazz-funk” and its followers, igniting a barrage of responses from 70s fans of the Gold Mine, Caister and the Lacy Lady, sampled below.
➢ Chris Sullivan at Facebook, Nov 15:“ A friend of mine asked me what I played at Novikov every Sunday. I replied “jazz and funk” and he said “jazz-funk” and so horrified was I that anyone would think I play that rubbish, I recorded the start of my set for him and here it is… ”
Paul Carter: Nuthin wrong with jazz-funk at all – was the soundtrack to many young Londoners’ lives… The Gold Mine was one of the best clubs ever… When everyone was obsessed with punk and post punk, the really cool kids (black and white) were groovin to jazz-funk and soul. Just sayin.
Chris Sullivan: When I went to the Gold Mine it was funk but later came jazz-funk like Brazilian Love by George Duke and jazz-funkers started getting their hair permed and wearing dungarees and going to Purley All-Dayers… bloody horrible… Most true funk I love and jazz, especially Blue Note, is impeccable but jazz-funk is shite… and its emergence ruined a good little scene – remember the Cortinas with the car stickers “Wayne and Shirley” for example, and the furry dice.
Paul Carter: Bit of snobbery there I think… and it is an opinion Chris, no more… I remember some incredible nights down the Gold Mine with Chris Hill, Pete Tong, and the rest of them – a lot of wedges but not a perm in sight – just great music – I think it’s a real shame that it’s been written out of club culture in favour of Northern soul (dull dull dull) and the West End scene in which you played such a large part. I was in both scenes and I always loved that the suburban scene was just about the music, not about the width of your turn-ups (much as I loved Le Beat Route and the rest). Oh and it was far more racially mixed too… / Continued at Facebook
Cultural clairvoyant Douglas Coupland: photographed in Shanghai for Time Out by Yang Xiaozhe
❚ DOUGLAS COUPLAND CAPTURED THE ZEITGEIST of a generation with his 1991 debut novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, and he kept his finger on the pulse of our times with such books as Microserfs, jPod and Generation A. However, Coupland’s first great artistic passion was not writing, but visual art. The Canadian cultural clairvoyant is in Shanghai this week for a group show at Art Labor. He talked to Sam Gaskin for Time Out Shanghai about the rise of smartphones for decoding and recoding the post-everything milieu…
“ If a UFO landed on Earth,” Coupland said, “and it had one of these on its roof you wouldn’t know what it meant, but you’d know it meant something. We could even go into some sort of Mad Max future where all the scanners are dead but you’d still wonder what it said. That’s what I like about them. There’s wonder in these things.”
These things are the Quick Response codes (a 2-D version of barcodes), upon which Coupland has mapped his Memento Mori series of paintings. On one level, the works are colourful abstracts reminiscent of Damien Hirst’s spot paintings, Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie and TV test screen patterns. Using a smartphone app, the paintings can also be scanned to reveal encoded messages. This fusion of image and text brings together two Couplands: the conceptual artist who got his start at a Tokyo art school and the novelist and aphorist who wrote Generation X and jPod… ” / Continued online
❏ Scan this Coupland painting with your smartphone to reveal its hidden message about the future … or right-click to download the image, then upload it into the online QR reader at onlinebarcode reader.com
“ Now you young twerps want a new name for your generation? Probably not, you just want jobs, right? Well, the media do us all such tremendous favors when they call you Generation X, right? Two clicks from the very end of the alphabet. I hereby declare you Generation A, as much at the beginning of a series of astonishing triumphs and failures as Adam and Eve were so long ago. ” — Kurt Vonnegut, 1994
ANOTHER SHOW OPENED IN CANADA LAST WEEK
❏ Coupland graduated from Vancouver’s Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1984 with a focus on sculpture. The 49-year-old artist was in Calgary this month for the opening of his newest exhibition, Douglas Coupland: Twenty-first Century at TrepanierBaer Gallery, which features thought-provoking sculpture, paintings and a collection of Marshall McLuhanesque “slogans for the 21st century” formatted into his paintings as QR codes.
“ Q: Regarding your Memento Mori QR paintings — which can be scanned with a cellphone QR app to reveal the title of the paintings — what inspired this approach and what do you hope it awakens in people?
❏ Scan the above installation, photographed by The Calgary Herald, to reveal the message about truth in the Memento Mori painting … or right-click to download the image, then upload it into the online QR reader at Inlite Research
HOW TO READ QR CODES
❏ QR codes are similar to the barcodes used in supermarkets, but store much more complex data arranged in a square pattern on a white background. They are familiar in Japan and Europe on home-printed tickets for flights, trains and entertainment events, and on the walls of art galleries for providing detailed information about the exhibits. The QR code in the right-hand column of Shapersothe80s will take you to a different random page within this website each time you scan it.
QR codes are usually scanned with a smartphone after you have downloaded the relevant app — or by taking a photo of the code on your phonecam. The alternative is to visit the website of a QR reader and upload the QR image for it to be decoded. You can do this with each of the Coupland paintings here, though many online readers do seem to have difficulty scanning his multicoloured images and only two readers succeeded.
❏ Scan another Coupland canvas showing at the TrépanierBaer Gallery to reveal its hidden message about the dead … or right-click to download the image, then upload it into the online QR reader at Inlite Research
NEW THIS WEEK: FIRST INTERACTIVE MUSIC VIDEO TO INCLUDE SCANNABLE QR CODES
+++ ❚ ON NOV 28 SPANDAU BALLET’S 1983 chart hit Gold is re-released as an iTunes download newly remixed by superstar trance deejay Paul Oakenfold. But there’s a twist involving 20 fans who stepped up to the mike to record the chorus of the song that has echoed throughout sporting arenas the world over.
In 1981, Cadbury launched its Wispa chocolate bar with bubbles as a competitor to Rowntree’s Aero. Now that Cadbury is the Official Treat Provider of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the bar is relaunched as Wispa Gold with caramel, retailing at 56 pence. The London 2012 Games offer a billion-pound retail opportunity that is unlike anything Britain has experienced before and a quarter of these sales are likely to be made in the final months of this year. When 25m Brits watched the recent Royal Wedding, total revenue hit £50m, so retailers are keen to capitalise on London 2012.
Cadbury is investing £8m in an advertising and sponsorship campaign plus another £1.5m on marketing, all aiming to support Team GB ahead of the 2012 Olympics with the slogan Keep Them Pumped.
Fan, commuter bike, shoelaces: all gilded ready for the video of the remixed Gold
Six of pop’s greatest power training anthems have been re-recorded as campaign soundtracks to encourage athletes preparing for the July Games. New music videos have been shot for The Final Countdown, Simply the Best, Danger Zone while an epic video for We Will Rock You [below] has enlisted more than 200 inhabitants of Merthyr Tydfil to cheer on their Olympic hockey player Sarah Thomas.
Spandau’s sleek and glitteringly golden video for the Oakenfold remix features Team GB athlete and BMX champion Shanaze Reade, plus the 120 fans selected in online auditions who then came into the studio to give full voice to the chorus. Below, we see one of them definitely getting into the Olympic spirit. “The song will be equally at home in the charts as it will in the clubs,” reckons the optimistic sax player Steve Norman. Oakenfold has one word for it: “floor-filler”.
❚ THE MOST EXCITING GENERAL ELECTION FOR 31 YEARS takes place in the UK this week. Since the Conservative landslide that put Margaret Thatcher into Downing Street on this day, May 3, 1979, British voters have seen only one change of political ideology, from right to left (to use the word generously), with the Labour party landslide of 1997. The Conservative government won four consecutive general elections, and Labour governments subsequently won three.
Boy wonder: “Vote for one party…” Old lags: “… and get one free!”
This points up unique new aspects of generation gaps. Half the adult population who are entitled to vote – and this embraces the UK’s delayed Generation X – have known only one political sea-change, while everybody younger than 31 – the 11m that include Generation Y who reached voting age since Labour came to power – have experienced only one flavour of government. Consider the tensions that should be reverberating within this nation’s breasts.
During the 1980s the Thatcher administration shifted for ever the tectonic plates underpinning society (though the concept of “society” was one she as prime minister famously denied). Parallels with today are spookily similar: an unprecedented recession has toppled many supporting pillars of the economy, while unemployment is passing 2.5m just as it did in 1979. Currently one-fifth of all people of working age are “economically inactive”. Among today’s 18-24-year-olds the unemployment rate is 17%, even for graduates. And a decade of austerity is set to declare itself just after the election.
UK population by age: 18-49 year-old clout (ONS)
By the dawn of the Swinging 80s, the young had grown very angry indeed with the grown-ups’ way of running things. Yet in the 20-tens, we find ourselves still unsure whether Generation Y are activists or slacktivists. Meanwhile those researchers at Pew already have a shrewd idea about the politics of online social networkers and whether they can be bovvered enough to stray offline and put an X on a ballot paper. Don’t hold your breath.
Would these songs change your vote? Newsnight invites rappers Nu Brand to create an anthem for the Conservative Party (BBC)
➢ Choose “View full site” – then in the blue bar atop your mobile page, click the three horizontal lines linking to many blue themed pages with background articles.
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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