INDEX OF ALL 800+ POSTS➢ 2009 till now : Everything at Shapers of the 80s...
Now in our eleventh year.
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MORE INTERESTING THAN MOST PEOPLE’S FANTASIES — THE SWINGING EIGHTIES 1978-1984They 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 Shapersofthe80s to which I am hugely indebted” – Political historian Dominic Sandbrook, in his book Who Dares Wins, 2019
A UNIQUE HISTORY➢ WELCOME to the Swinging 80s
➢ THE BLOG POSTS on this front page report topical updates
➢ ROLL OVER THE MENU AT TOP to go deeper into the past
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❏ 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
TOLD FOR THE FIRST TIME
◆ Who was who in Spandau’s break-out year of 1980? The Invisible Hand of Shapersofthe80s draws a selective timeline for The unprecedented rise and rise of Spandau Ballet –– Turn to our inside page
- 2020 ➤ Gaz still rockin’ those blues a lifetime later
- 1980 ➤ Why Bowie came recruiting Blitz Kids for his Ashes to Ashes video
- 2020 ➤ Singer Ross reveals how Spandau drove him to try ending it all
- ➤ Why every Stephen Jones hat casts its own magic spell
- 1979 ➤ Ethereal Bowie sets the bar for one of his inadvertent hits
- ➤ Sullivan & Elms relive their clubland double act
- 2020 ➤ Sheeran and Radcliffe bag the big bucks in Sunday Times Rich List
- 2020 ➤ Steve Dagger recalls Spandau Ballet’s fifth gig and why it detonated their lift-off
- 2020 ➤ And now Bowie pays the ultimate tribute to Little Richard
- 2020 ➤ Bowie on Kraftwerk and his tribute to Florian Schneider
- 2020 ➤ Beyond: Learning how to be black and gay and blaze a trail to the future
- 1980 ➤ 40 years of musical freedom thanks to what we Brits enjoyed calling the Sony Stowaway
SEARCH our 700 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 new 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
LANDMARK FAREWELLS. . . HIT THE INDEX TAB UP TOP FOR EVERYTHING ELSE
✱ “I’m not a rock star” Bowie often said – No, David, you were a messiah – Obituaries and key videos on the godlike one
Archive — Many publication dates are arbitrary, so click and take pot luck!
Tag Archives: Ted Polhemus
❚ IN ITS FIFTH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE, i-D MAGAZINE asked its photo-gallery of People of the 80s to sum up that year, 1985. Shapersofthe80s replied: “It is the year the style supermarket repackaged the previous four as an over-the-counter culture.” What was being signalled was the end of the Swinging 80s, the symbolic sub-cultural “decade” which had seen Soho become the crucible for new sounds and new styles as they broke free from the stadium-rock and post-punk past. 1985 saw a torrent of colour and attitude and tunes drive the mainstream of British youth culture that then came to characterise the “Thatcher decade”, at best personified by Stock Aitken Waterman, and at worst traduced by nightclub impresario Peter Stringfellow.
Tonight in Shoreditch, the new London pool of cool, an eponymous exhibition opens to launch an updated edition of Street Style, the 1994 picture book by Ted Polhemus that celebrated the style-tribes which postwar Britain’s class-ridden society excelled at evolving, from mods and rockers, to goths and casuals, to ravers and what he called riot grrrls (which inevitably invoked the dread term bricolage, so much more cultural studies than saying DIY). Publication coincided then with a groovy exhibition around the V&A costume court.
Images and graphics from the new Street Style inevitably feature many of our original Shapers of the 80s, if current Facebook twitterings are any indication. These are being exhibited (Sep 30-Oct 31) in the former Victorian warehouse in EC2 refurbished as The Book Club. Polhemus’s new publisher is PYMCA, the Photographic Youth Music Culture Archive which was established in 1997 by Jon Swinstead, brains behind Jockey Slut and Sleazenation. His aim was “to create a collection of images that capture the real essence of life as a young person”. PYMCA was launched this spring as a research resource, having teamed up with leading cultural commentators to offer detailed analyses of youth subcultures, music and movements around the world. Swinstead maintains: “PYMCA is both edgy and documentary and the newest material will visually reflect the hottest stuff happening among the youth of today.”
Next month Polhemus, the self-styled “anthropologist, author and photographer extraordinaire”, leads a discussion at The Book Club titled “Supermarket of Style in the 21st century” (Oct 27, tickets £8). This is the theme that introduces his new book and which he calls “his latest theory”. Well, better late than never! The supermarket has certainly entertained us for 25 years but a general consensus agrees that Britain’s youthful creative juices finally ran dry in the noughties as Cowell X-culture came to dominate our televised lives. Presumably Ted has fresh observations to offer…