➢ Bowie obituary at The Guardian: “The world is never short of self-absorbed would-be artists, but Bowie was able to break out and become the first misfit megastar. That undoubtedly had a good deal to do with talent.”
A humanoid alien comes to Earth with a mission… What a spooky coincidence that David Bowie played the alien Thomas Jerome Newton in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth
Today’s Times: the masks and the man behind them
◼ ALL 10 BRITISH NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS filled their front pages today with the death of David Bowie at 69 – and so did scores of newspapers overseas. The last pop star whose death justified such deification was Jacko in 2009; and the last British pop star to do likewise was John Lennon, in 1980. The Times of London dedicated 18 pages including an outer broadsheet wrapper to honouring Bowie, plus an editorial comment as blessing. The Guardian topped that with 20 pages, plus the most enlightened editorial comment of them all. Not only did this misfit megastar and cultural icon radiate consummate flair as a performer but he displayed “an instinctive affinity with his times”. He had a “way with the zeitgeist”.
All media, notably social media, captured the dominant sentiment of generations of fans suddenly plunged into mourning. Again and again they claimed: He changed my life. . . He taught me how to be myself. . . David was my inspiration. . . David was my tutor. And most could quote their own favourite song lyric expressing their faith: Oh no, love – you’re not alone. . . Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it. . . It’s only for ever, not long at all. . . All you’ve got to do is win. . . We can be heroes just for one day.
Blanket coverage: Bowie on all UK front pages… Image updated 14 Jan to include news magazines
◼ HERE IS THE FULL TEXT of the first celebrity eulogy at Steve Strange’s funeral, given by Spandau Ballet sax player, Steve Norman. (An earlier address had been given by ‘Kimbo’, a local friend, who was almost inaudible inside the church.) The audio quality generally was too poor to publish more than the short clip of Steve that you hear in the funeral video, above, created by Shapers of the 80s.
Steve Norman’s voice faltered in the most touching way because he was feeling strong emotions and apparently speaking spontaneously.
The Steves Strange and Norman: friends to the end
NORMSKI’S SPEECH: ‘HE HELPED SHAPE THE 80S’
In full, he said: “A lot has been said since Steve passed about his contribution to the pop culture and how he helped to shape the 80s. We wished a few more people had said it when he was around. Steve needed that affirmation of how much he was loved.
“He was a very generous man, but first and foremost he was my friend. I’ve known Steve since the 70s. He took myself and Martin Kemp under his wing. We didn’t have any money back then and he took us to all the groovy places in London back in the 70s and early 80s when things weren’t really happening at all, but Steve found out what was going on, took us there and paid for everything and our drinks, whatever we wanted, and we had a great time. And that relationship lasted all throughout his life – we were very close to the end.
“The last time I spoke to Steve was before Christmas and he called up and he was a little distraught and we had a mutual friend he’d fallen out massively with, and Steve was worried I might take the other side. I reminded him of the early days and what he did for myself and how he was always there. He would turn up at my parents’ house for a cup of tea and a chat – he loved people and really needed to connect with people.
“I remember saying to him I love you dearly and he said he loved me. And I put the phone down – and he hadn’t put it down properly and I heard him telling somebody ‘Ah, I love Steve and Steve loves me.’ He was so sensitive. It was a great comfort that I could tell him how much I loved him.
“He was a very sensitive, generous, caring, special human being with a massive heart.”
BOY GEORGE’S POEM FOR STEVE STRANGE
Steve Strange and Boy George: “first-class show-off, fellow freak”. (Photo by Yui Mok)
❏ Even though the service took place in a high Anglican church, George O’Dowd wore his cap throughout. He adjusted the microphone before declaiming= his eulogy which took the form of a poem, saying: “I’ve known Steve some time so I’ve written a few things. . . you might not have heard in a church before.”
Life asked Death
why do people love you but hate me?
because you are a beautiful lie
and I am a painful truth .
part-time nemesis, rogue, glam rocker, punk rocker,
new romantic, old romantic,
first-class show-off, fellow freak,
beautiful gay man, seminal pop star,
wrecking ball, costume ball, masked ball,
Blitz Kid, blitzkrieg,
Welshman, wild card, weirdo,
sister, sinner, saint,
whirling, swirling, in your warpaint.
If you pray
all your sins are hooked upon the sky.
Pray and the heathen lie will disappear.
Prayers they hide
the saddest view.
(Believing the Steve Strangest thing,
loving the alien)
❚ THURSDAY 12 MARCH HAS BEEN SET as the date for Steven Harrington’s funeral, known to most of us as Steve Strange, the singer frontman for the 80s pop group Visage. Plans for the day are now different from earlier reports, as his family have been overwhelmed by the public response to Steve’s sudden death from a heart attack in Egypt. Shapers of the 80s has received more than 21,000 visits since publishing the many moving tributes by Steve’s friends among the original Blitz Kids.
Steve Strange at home with his mother Gill who is renowned for her cooking
Today, the person coordinating all the arrangements, Steve’s personal assistant and family friend Amanda Lloyd, has asked us to set out the family’s wishes, after rather exaggerated claims by friends were reported at Wales Online and were taken up by other national media.
The family remain shocked by the suddenness of Steve’s death. Amanda says: “It was so unexpected. I miss him terribly. A lot of other people are missing him, he was such a lovely guy.”
She admits the flamboyant side of Steve would probably be pretty pleased with all the attention the past fortnight has generated but she stresses that Steve’s family hope the church service won’t become a media event. It is intended to be an intimate celebration of his life for his family and for Steve’s close personal friends, such as musicians Martin and Gary Kemp and Steve Norman, who wish to attend. Essentially, invitation-only friends will be name-checked on the door. (Amanda asks Steve’s friends who wish to attend to contact her in advance directly or via Shapers of the 80s.)
“Steve’s family hope the church service
won’t become a media event”
A loudspeaker relay outside the church will enable members of the public to follow the service and those who wish to gather there are asked to respect the solemnity of the occasion – which might be a hard ask for some crazier members of Steve’s following! One highlight, Amanda says, will be the award-winning Bridgend male voice choir singing in both Welsh and English.
Hi Tide Inn: venue for the wake
The free event that is open to the public follows in mid- afternoon at the huge Hi Tide Inn on the sea-front at Porthcawl. Members of Steve’s current band will be playing the music of Visage as a tribute, while screens will show his life on film. Amanda says: “Steve would have wanted his fans to enjoy a celebration of his life.” But let’s all remember that the occasion is a wake after all, and to respect the privacy of a family in mourning and of the close friends who are being invited into a secure area at the inn.
A larger event in tribute to Steve is likely to follow in central London around the time of his birthday in May, but details have not yet been confirmed.
FUNERAL SERVICE FOR STEPHEN JOHN HARRINGTON 1959–2015
Thursday 12 March 2015 12.30pm at All Saints Church, Victoria Avenue, Porthcawl CF36 3HE, Wales
3pm at Hi Tide Inn, Mackworth Road, Porthcawl CF36 5BT, Wales
(tel 01656 782432)
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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
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