Tag Archives: nightclubbing

➤ Steve Strange remembered by Martin Kemp

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Steve Strange, right, and Martin Kemp at Tokyo Joe’s in London in 1981. Photograph by Robert Rosen/Rex

➢ Spandau Ballet bassist Martin Kemp recalls the Visage frontman, nightclub host and New Romantic pioneer who kickstarted his band’s career – in today’s Observer:

It’s lovely being asked to talk about Steve now, because I couldn’t right after he died. I’d start, but then I’d just burst into tears. He was one of my best friends and he created a big part of my personality. He showed me how exciting life could be, but how you could be a decent person with it. I also genuinely believe that everything that the 80s was, he started it. What people wore, how they did their hair, the decade of excess – that was all him. . .

Steve Strange, pop music, gravestone

Steve Strange’s gravestone erected 18 December in Porthcawl, South Wales

We were both working-class boys who had always wanted to do something else and here he was, doing it brilliantly. I looked up to him. He’d set up punk gigs back home in Wales, came up to London to work for Malcolm McLaren, and now he was carving out his own path away from punk. . . He succeeded because he was smothered in charisma. It drew everyone to him – the working class and the middle class loved him, but even the most upper-class people were immediately in the palm of his hand.

London made Steve, but it wasn’t good for him. He was a very intelligent man, but he got scrambled and crossed the line with drugs. . . The saddest thing is that I could see the end of Steve’s story long before it had been told. I’d waited for the phone call for years, so it wasn’t a shock. But to go to his funeral in Wales… it was incredibly sad. . . / Read the full tribute at the Observer online

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
Original Blitz Kids say farewell to Steve Strange – read exclusive tributes to the King of the Posers

➢ Read the story of Spandau Ballet, the Blitz Kids and the birth of the New Romantics at The Observer, by Yours Truly

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➤ Steve Strange RIP: the great provocateur who led from the front and inspired a generation

Visage ,Blitz Club,Steve Strange ,Blitz Kids, New Romantics, nightclubbing, tributes

The early Visage outside the Blitz Club in 1979: Steve Strange (second right) and from the left, Rusty Egan, John McGeoch, Barry Adamson, Billy Currie, Dave Formula and Midge Ure. (Picture © Sheila Rock)

SO FAR ONLY A FEW SERIOUS COMMENTATORS HAVE glimpsed STEVE’S WIZARDY…

➢ Tom Ewing in today’s Guardian:

The reruns of 1980s Top of the Pops on BBC4 will provide an opportunity to see the change Strange and his friends wrought – a pop scene becoming funnier, more dramatic, and more delightful to look at with each week. By 1981, and Strange’s move to a new venue, Club For Heroes, pop music looked and sounded quite different than when he’d arrived, and he’d played a huge part in the change. Nobody in pop is trusted less than the fashionable. But a generation of small viewers learned more about glamour, improvisation and style from the pop music of Steve Strange’s generation than from anything else on TV, or in real life.

Strange kept making music and running clubs, but the records he left behind – fantastic as they often were – are still only half the story. Steve Strange was important not just as a pop star from a particularly colourful scene, but as one of pop’s secret architects. . . / Continued at Guardian online

Steve Strange, Steven Harrington, Blitz Kids, New Romantics,

Leather-clad Steve Strange photographed in 1982 by Helmut Newton

➢ Neil McCormick in today’s Daily Telegraph:

Strange was a significant figure . . . his influence behind the scenes proving crucial to the newfound confidence and flamboyance of post-punk British pop in the Eighties. . . Dance music became cool again, synths reigned supreme, with Strange amongst the chief instigators of a fresh colourfulness and extravagance that brought fun and glamour back into pop, giving impetus to a flashy, eccentric scene that ultimately inspired the second British musical invasion of America.

His death from a heart attack at 55 may only leave a tiny mark on pop music but Strange himself had already made a much bigger mark. To those who knew, Strange was a genuine pioneer, an inspiration to a generation. . . / Continued at Telegraph online

➢ LISTEN to broadcaster Robert Elms – one of the original Blitz Kids – paying tribute today on BBC London 94.9:

This working-class kid orchestrated London for a couple of years. He was a worker of people, a creator of ideas, a cultural agent provocateur. . . down-to-earth, funny, scurrilous. . . And he made things happen. He played London like a musical instrument

➢ More memories of the man behind the make-up
– by ‘Betty Page’:

I interviewed Steve just before Visage’s first album was released, fully expecting to meet an arrogant 20th-century version of Beau Brummell. He was modelling the Little Lord Fauntleroy look – porcelain face make-up, tumbling curls and two finely drawn black dots placed on the tip of his nose completed the look. I told him that I wished I had the patience to apply such an immaculate maquillage.

“I’ll get up as early as it takes to get my face right,” he replied. “No matter how big the hangover.”

Now there’s dedication. That’s what it takes to be A Creation. I no longer feared that the room was too big for the three of us – Steve, his reputation and me. He was just a sweet working-class boy from Wales who liked to dress up and party. . . / Continued at Berverleyglick.com

18 FEB UPDATE: SULLIVAN’S SOHO RADIO SHOW

I had the immense pleasure of dedicating my radio show today to my old partner in crime and friend since early teens Steve Strange and rounded up some of his best friends to tell us some great Strangie stories including Princess Julia, Jennie Matthias of the Belle Stars, Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Jeanette Calliva who ran Double Bass and The Bank with him. A real honour to do as it was a privilege to be his good friend for 40 years. He was a complete and utter maverick. He had balls the size of basketballs. He didn’t know when to stop and he never knew when the night had ended. Steve’s greatest achievement was that he sussed out he could become notorious being himself in every way and he made a living out of it.

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
Nowt so Strange as Steven John Harrington, 1959–2015

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➤ Return to the Blitz 2011 – London Tonight reports

◼ FLASHBACK TO 17 JAN 2011 – ITV’s six o’clock news magazine London Tonight reports on Saturday night’s RETURN TO THE BLITZ party hosted by Steve Strange & Rusty Egan. They’re celebrating the launch of their official website theblitzclub.com and a load of nostalgic New Romantics from 1979 find themselves mingling with Neo Romantics from 2011.

ITV’s intrepid entertainment correspondent Lucrezia Millarini dives into the scrum and Shapersofthe80s topped and tailed her report – all content is © itv.com … Includes three classic Blitz photographs of Boy George and Spandau Ballet by Derek Ridgers, plus one by yours truly of George and Stephen Linard

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➤ Smith & Sullivan sign off We Can Be Heroes with a sigh

We Can Be Heroes,Unbound publishing, books,Graham Smith,Chris Sullivan,Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Boy George,nightclubbing, Swinging 80s, photography,

Graham Smith: signing advance copies of We Can Be Heroes between coffee and cake today at Soho’s Society Club. Photographed by Shapersofthe80s

❚ THE BOOK OF THE DECADE has arrived and early buyers of the 2,000-copy first edition had it in their hands today. The photo-story of 80s clubland, We Can Be Heroes, felt reassuringly hefty to the touch and we finally discovered the page size to be generous at 235 x 280mm. The five-colour printing gives intensity especially to the black-and-white photography on the high-gloss paper and author Graham Smith’s verdict on the quality was simple: “Stunning.” Collaborator and 80s club-host Chris Sullivan breathed a sigh: “We got there in the end.”

The 320 pages of story-telling and voxpops from perhaps 100 contributors will raise plenty of smiles when the postman delivers the book during the next week. Even if you’ve read Shapersofthe80s from top to bottom, you’ll find as many more quotes and insights from the original Blitz Kids themselves. Deejay Jeffrey Hinton reminds us in the book: “People think this was a premeditated scene but it was not. It was childlike, thrown together. We didn’t do it for the money, we were innocent. It’s all so marketed today.”

We Can Be Heroes,Unbound publishing, books,Graham Smith,Chris Sullivan,Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Boy George,nightclubbing, Swinging 80s, photography,

Ringleaders who shaped the style of the 80s celebrated in We Can Be Heroes: Chris Sullivan, Fiona Dealey, Lee Sheldrick, Stephen Linard and Kim Bowen — the rebels within St Martin’s School of Art, all photographed by Graham Smith

We Can Be Heroes,Unbound publishing, books,Graham Smith,Chris Sullivan,Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Boy George,nightclubbing, Swinging 80s, photography,

Bournemouth was the destination on bank holidays: good-natured hijinks brought London clubbers to the south-coast resort, and Smith has included many of their snaps in We Can Be Heroes

While the main images reveal just how small in number was the coterie who initiated the sounds and styles of the 80s, Smith has supplemented his own portfolio of pictures with many snaps from clubland wags themselves whose ambitions were liberated by the spirit of collaboration inspired in 1980. Nevertheless, designer Fiona Dealey makes a valid point in the book: “When anyone has written about the Blitz it has been by the same few blokes giving the same old soundbites with never a mention of what the women were up to. The Blitz was our youth club and I feel they hijacked it.”

Today John Mitchinson, the book’s publisher, said he was reasonably confident that a commercial edition of Heroes might follow in the autumn of 2012. In the meantime a limited number of copies of the first edition are still available only from Unbound Publishing.

➢ 1976–1984, Creative clubbing ended with the 80s — we profile three of the bright sparks behind We Can Be Heroes and how they shaped the decade

➢ View Shapersofthe80s video — Chris Sullivan telling his “ribald tales of excess” from the Blitz era at a launch party for We Can Be Heroes… with Graham Smith and Robert Elms on video too

We Can Be Heroes,Unbound publishing, books,Graham Smith,Chris Sullivan,Blitz Kids, New Romantics, Boy George,nightclubbing, Swinging 80s, photography,

Chris Sullivan signing today: “Now people can see the book itself we might shift a few more copies.” Photographed by Shapersofthe80s

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➤ A swelle hello from upstart Judith, returning in an explosion of colour

Blitz Kids, David Bowie,Ashes to Ashes , Judith Frankland

Blitz Kids chosen by Bowie to star in his Ashes to Ashes video, 1980: Darla-Jane, Steve, Judith and Elise with Bowie at centre as Major Tom. © EMI

❚ WE ALL REMEMBER DESIGNER Judith Frankland’s nun-like appearance in David Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes video in 1980 alongside Steve Strange who was wearing her infamous black wedding dress. Tomorrow Judith unveils her first women’s collection in eight years at the Holy Biscuit gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne, in a week-long show by a mixed group of women artists. She says her new outfits are designed for “The Woman Who Likes to say Hello!”

Judith Frankland, fashion, Holy Biscuit gallery, Newcastle

Judith’s flyer illustrated by Manny More

They are joyous explosions of colour that, she insists, “come from within my well travelled head” — and here we’re talking the shock tactics of an eternal punkette, whose own looks veer between the immaculate cool of revue star Bea Lillie and the fruitiness of dancer Carmen Miranda. At the height of the Blitz club’s notoriety, Judith’s playful yet tailored outfits adorned Steve Strange as vocalist with Visage to become some of the most distinctive styles of the New Romantics movement. Most memorable was the taffeta jacket with medieval flourishes on the cover for Fade to Grey.

Judith Frankland, Milan, clubbing, Pussy Galore,

Milanese night warrior: Judith during her Pussy Galore hostess era, 1989-96

Where did the last 30 years go for Judith? She has lived more lives than the rest of us ever will, in a whirl of bespoke design partnerships and nightclub promoting from Vancouver to LA to Milan to Paris, fuelled by acerbic wit and a mighty big heart. With such landmark clubs as Pussy Galore and Chocolat City, the Italians branded her one of “i guerrieri della notte” — the warriors of the night.

In the end she returned to Tyneside to look after her ailing mum, and only now has she found the time and energy to return to the fashion fray. Judith’s last business was based in Paris and that’s where she plans to return next year. The new Winter 2011/12 collection is a modest calling card that exploits a secret stash of “school-blazer fabrics” in stripes and vibrant colourways. Judith has suffused uniform wool suitings with a positively romantic glow.

With the left hand, she has been contributing to a smart new blog called The Swelle Life, run by writer-photographer Denise Grayson. Here in her own uninhibited confessional style, Judith pays generous tribute to the inspirational circle of friends she has acquired on her travels.

Judith Frankland, fashion,nun,Sound of Music

Judith’s nun look from 1980, left, echoed in 2011, right. After fashion, her second passion is the film The Sound of Music. “I hate revisiting the past,” she maintains, but for her Swelle Life blog, she couldn’t resist accessorising this vintage German skirt with her own nun’s collar and cuffs. Photographs by Derek Ridgers and Denise Grayson

Judith Frankland, Paris, 2002

From Judith’s 2002 collection while living in Paris: her apartment in rue Montorgueil just by Les Halles converted into a showroom during fashion week

Judith Frankland, Christian Lacroix , fashion

A couture original: When Shapersofthe80s visited Judith’s Old Curiosity Shoppe of a home last summer, she showed off the latest treasure acquired from her local thrift shops, this Lacroix coat, priced 25 pence! Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

➢ HERE’S HOW JUDITH INTRODUCED HERSELF
AT THE SWELLE LIFE BLOG

I’m an upstart and a woman like many who loves — and in my case lives — fashion and the world that lurks around it, a world I have stepped in and out of all my life. I have an excitable, excruciatingly inquisitive mind; I never stop thinking, plotting and some would say talking! I am not a lover of the term ‘On trend’; I like to say ‘On form’. Micro mini to maxi. If it feels right on the day I’ll wear it — no sheep mentality for me. I mix bargain buys, charity shop finds and my own creations.

 Denise Grayson, Judith Frankland,The Swelle Life, fashion,Winter 2011-12

Judith models her Hello! look for Winter 2011/12: day wear and evening wear giving new life to school-blazer suitings. Jewellery from the designer’s own massive collection. Photographed © by Denise Grayson

London’s Cafe Royal, 1980: Judith’s graduation show from Ravensbourne college of art caused a sensation with a glamorous evocation of the 50s in black and white taffeta, brocade, velvet and satin. Its climax was this black wedding dress worn by Sheila Ming, gloriously crowned by Stephen Jones’s veiled head-dress made of stiffened lace on a metal frame. Blitz club host Steve Strange was later to wear it in David Bowie’s video for Ashes to Ashes. Photographed © by Niall McInerney

Ashes to Ashes, video, Judith Frankland, David Bowie, fashion, Blitz Kids

On the beach at Hastings filming Ashes to Ashes: Judith (right) in the ecclesiastical habit Bowie had seen her in at the Blitz, with Steve Strange (second left) in Judith’s black wedding dress he’d also worn that night (head-dress by Stephen Jones). Elise and Darla-Jane wear their own outfits. What with the shingle and the quicksand and Steve trying to outrun the bulldozer, Judith says the wedding dress was completely destroyed. © EMI

➢ An Eclectic Mix of Arts & Design runs April 8–15 at the Holy Biscuit gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne. Join Judith for a chat at the preview this Friday 6–8pm. Others showing are Tutu Benson, Anne Johnson, Helen Moss, Sheelagh Peace, Susan Stanton, Jill Stephen

➢ Update — Judith’s new collection for Winter 2011–12 reviewed

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