Boy George: still pouting. Photograph by Magnus Hastings for The Observer
❚ SIX THINGS WE HAVE LEARNED from today’s 2,000-word interview in The Observer Magazine:
1 — George O’Dowd opens his mind the way others open their front door. Not that he answers everything – but he has an unusual emotional honesty.
2 — He recognises the strange dichotomy of drag. “You are wearing a mask, but on the other hand trying to draw attention, so it’s a kind of Look at me, don’t look at me.”
3 — In 2009 he was jailed in Britain after a bizarre case involving the false imprisonment of a 29-year-old Norwegian male escort… Does he have an instinctive emotional response to the episode – perhaps regret or guilt or shame? “No, I don’t think about any of those specifics.”
4 — “When it was time to [leave jail] I was thinking: Oh my God, I’ve got to go out of here and deal with my life. I am not sure I want to leave!”
5 — George loves and admires his mum hugely but steered clear when he was messed up. She saw through him and he couldn’t take the scrutiny.
6 — Only after his father’s death did [his family] achieve a real unity. “I think his death got everyone back together… I think we are a better family than we have ever been. In the past, everyone would turn up for a crisis. Now, we all turn up for dinner.”
“As a cherishable example of alternative British culture,
it makes you wonder why this isn’t the orthodoxy”
— Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
❚ ANDREW LOGAN. BRITISH ARTIST. SOCIAL MAGICIAN. Here is one of the giants of the subcultural landscape during the 70s who helped shape the imaginations of the Blitz Kids of the 80s. In 1972, Logan created the anarchic and outrageous Alternative Miss World Show, a spectacular costume pageant and fancy dress party for grown-ups, which has been reborn in 12 incarnations over the years. In a new film, The British Guide to Showing Off, director Jes Benstock takes us under Logan’s glittering wing to share this joyous and exotic subcultural event. Raucous, liberating and sexually charged, The British Guide to Showing Off “speaks to the outsider in all of us”, they say. At the ICA cinema from today.
“Makes Salvador Dali look like a painter and decorator”
— Empire magazine
Two of Logan's choice show-offs: clubhost Daniel Lismore (pic from Rex) and the Binnie Sisters, aka the Neo-Naturists
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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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