Style guru Peter York meets Steve Strange’s family at Club Café Royal last night – sister Tanya, nephew Connor and mother Gill at right – with old friends centre, Judi Frankland and Anne Pigalle. (Photographed by © Shapersofthe80s)
◼ A BUZZING REUNION OF OLD ROMANTICS partied hard last night in memory of the inspirational host of the 80s Blitz Club Steve Strange, who died suddenly last February. He would have been proud of the gathering at London’s Club Café Royal last night, organised by his close friends Rosemary Turner, Amanda Lloyd and Steve Mahoney. Along with Amanda, Steve’s mother Gill and sister Tanya Harrington have created a charity called the Steve Strange Collective to sustain his legacy as style icon, popstar and one of the key shapers of the 80s. This celebration of Britain’s New Romantic heyday was the first of their projects.
The most impressive turnout last night came from the St Martin’s Massive ’78-84, a galaxy of original Blitz Club regulars whose attitude and talent ignited a new pop culture that became the Swinging 80s. Significant absentees included those living abroad or currently on the road with their still-active acts, such as Rusty Egan, Culture Club and Spandau Ballet.
The champagne party warmed up with a series of Steve’s admirers providing intermittent entertainment, opening with poet Celine Hispache. As Two Blondes and a Harp, former Shock dancer Lowri-Ann Richards in leather jacket and her accompanist Glenda Clwyd gave us a Berlinesque rendering of Visage’s Pleasure Boys. Cabaret chantoose Eve Ferret shimmied in a full-length black peignoir before the Harrington family, first setting fashionistas Stephen Jones and Fiona Dealey a-boogeying before animating her number All Ze French I Know by scattering mangetouts o’er the guests. Eve reminded us how Steve became the nucleus around whom a generation of like-minded spirits came to express themselves. For her the night became more special when she was reunited with her onetime partner James Biddlecombe of their act Biddie and Eve which was a backbone of the Blitz wine bar’s cabaret programme.
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All photography by © Shapersofthe80s.com
Gill Harrington congratulates Lowri-Ann Richards onstage
Milliner Stephen Jones with Amanda Lloyd and X Factor finalist from 2009, Lloyd Daniels
Connor, Tanya and Gill Harrington with Neena Richies
Peter York meets Steve’s mother Gill
New-generation Visage musicians Steve Jones and Logan Sky
The Harringtons brace themselves for Eve Ferret’s cabaret
Eve Ferret shares her mangetouts with guests
Later Romance vocalist Jamie Lovatt reminded us of his near triumph on The Voice TV talent show, and electro-swing deejay Lee Being gave us Love Croaks. Finally came the loyal friends who joined with Steve in recent years to revive the 80s clubbing spirit with their Face club-nights, Camden Palace doyenne Rosemary Turner and new-generation deejay Alejandro Gocast. He hushed the guests gently and reminded us with intense poignancy of Steve’s giant influence on possibly every single person in the room tonight.
Another giant figure quietly circulating the party was style guru Peter York, who in this context we could dub the Anna Wintour of subcultural commentators, having documented all manner of British tribes from Sloane Rangers to his unique discovery, Them, in his landmark book Style Wars. Back in the day, York claimed that Steve’s Blitz club created “a powerful mix of magpie retro, fastidious taste and market exploitation, tailor-made for what they were calling the art form of the 80s”. Last night, he was charm itself, evidently wowed to meet the Harrington family.
The evening’s music was absolutely on fleek. While David Holah resurrected the fabulous Blitz Jive amid some hefty dancing to good old Romo tunes from Roxy and Japan and Bowie, spinning the platters was a sequence of deejays from Lee Being, Dennis Da Silva, Alejandro Gocast, Steven John Proctor to Little Andy.
Lifelong friend of Steve and bright spark of the Welsh contingent Kim Smith reported today: “Steve, we celebrated your life last night and it was fabulous to meet people that you have told me about.”
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Paparazzi greet guests arriving at the Café Royal… All these pix © Shapersofthe80s.com
One-time Blitz Kids Stephen Jones, Judi Frankland and Franceska Luther King
Hirsute James “Biddie” Biddlecombe and Kiki (17 years at St Martin’s!)
Peter York, Judi Frankland and Pam Hogg
Onetime Blitz Kids Stephen Jones and Fiona Dealey boogeying on down to Eve’s hot funk
Romance vocalist Jamie Lovatt takes the stage
Blitz cabaret duo Biddie and Eve reunited
Onetime Blitz Kids Mick Hurd and David Holah with Ajay Kenth
Steve Strange’s partners in revival club-nights, Rosemary Turner and Alejandro Gocast
Café Royal guests having a fab night out
Paul “Scoop” Simper, with Steve Mahoney
WHO WAS WHO AT THE CLUB CAFÉ ROYAL
In no particular order here are few of the guests we recognised at the Club Café Royal celebration, with apologies to many more whose names we hope to add once they become known. . .
Gill, Tanya and Connor Harrington, Kim Smith, Mark Fuller, Mark Paul Jones, Lorraine Fitzgerald, Amanda and Shannon Lloyd, Lloyd Daniels, Trevor Byron Jones, Richard Lewis, Peter York, Princess Julia, Fiona Dealey, Stephen Jones, Greg Davis, Judith Frankland, Duggie Fields, Darla Jane Gilroy, David Holah, Steve Mahoney, Jennie Belle Star Matthias, Dennis Da Silva, Alejandro Gocast, Steven Proctor, Little Andy, Leo Baker, Paul Simper, Mark Wardel, Pam Hogg, Daniel Lismore, Franceska Luther King, Anne Pigalle, Mick Hurd, Peter Ashworth, Kiki, Gabriella Palmano, Paul Lonergan, Gemma O’Brian, Bob Biewald, Louise Prey, Ajay Kenth, Kenny Campbell, Nelson Santos, Robert Gordon Eddie, Tamara Adair, Lowri-Ann Richards, Janice Long, Tommy Mack, Mark Tabard, Laura D’Alessio, Steven Jones, Logan Sky, John Harlow, Kevin Buck, Marc Albert, Pinkietessa Pinkie, Caroline Fox, Terry Challingsworth, Soraya Wilkinson-Wyke, Sandra Fox, Angelina Emma Whelan, Bart Barton, Francesca Shashkova, Crimson Skye, Philip Anthony Gable, Nigel Marlow, Tony Vickers, Mark Allen, James Leigh, Ffio Welford, Fifi Russell, Peter Barney, Jurgita Kareivaite-Hamblin, Alejandro Dante, Neena Richies, Dave Baby, Glenda Clwyd, Matthew Mullane, Lee Being, Issidora Mua Rose, Heather Crimson, Andy Adamson, Jamie Karl, Alex Gerry, Sasha De Suinn, Stephanie Henie, Dane Goulding, Michelle Deyna-Hayward, Kevin Bennett…
➢ Click to view Nigel Marlow’s brief video at Club Café Royal
➢ Click to view video by Francesca Shashkova of Alejandro’s moving tribute to Steve
➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
A Strangely Steve farewell – the funeral video, 2015
➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
Original Blitz Kids say farewell to Steve Strange, their host, pivot, style icon, friend