Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Continue Shopping
This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
US
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

ALL I WANTED WAS TO CREATE A HAVEN FOR ALL THESE INDIVIDUALS WHERE THEY COULD BE FREE TO BE THEMSELVES WITHOUT THE THREAT OF TROUBLE FROM THOSE WHO DIDN’T GET IT

AT THE TAIL-END OF THE 70S A GROUP OF YOUNG OUTSIDERS SOUGHT REFUGE FROM LONDON’S MEAN STREETS AT A SUCCESSION OF SELF-PROMOTED CLUB NIGHTS. THIS – IN THEIR OWN WORDS – IS HOW IT REALLY WENT DOWN…

STEVE STRANGE

George O’Dowd at the Blitz, September 1980; “I was working as a coat-check girl. I was barred for robbing handbags while necking with Kirk Brandon…”
© Graham Smith

It all started innocently enough. We’d all found ourselves en masse at the David Bowie concert at Earls Court on Saturday July 1, 1978.

Subsequently we toddled off to a club called Billy’s, where the DJ was the former jock at Louise’s, the legendary Sapphic nightspot at 61 Poland Street where punk aristocracies used to hang out. Billy’s was owned by a 300lb, six-foot four-inch tall black convicted pimp named Vince who, with his huge black fedora, long black leather trench coat and fingers full of diamond rings, looked as if he’d walked off the set of Shaft. Apropos, the nightspot was populated with Soho ne’er-do -wells, bull dykes, trannies, gays, and gangsters who made money from Soho – an iniquitous square mile with red lights in almost every window, 164 licensed sex shops, and lots of dodgy drinking dens. Billy’s was at its centre, and no one was banging down the club’s door asking to do a night there. But its potential did not go unnoticed.

How the Steve Strange and Rusty Egan-organised ‘Bowie night’ that kicked off the whole Blitz kid/New Romantic era began is in dispute. The former says he was brought in by fellow Welsh bloke David Claridge (who later started the S+M brand/night club Skin 2, and was also the puppeteer behind morning TV star Roland Rat), while Egan says that it was he who first suggested the idea to Steve. Whatever the truth, the night hit the zeitgeist head-on. “I had a great record collection,” remembers Rusty Egan, “so I decided to DJ and play Lou Reed and Bowie, and we were immediately successful.”

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Classic Pop - New Romantics
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - New Romantics
$8.99
Or 899 points
Please be aware that this issue and other special issues are not included in any of the subscription options unless stated.
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.58 per issue
SAVE
23%
$54.99
Or 5499 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.99 per issue
SAVE
17%
$4.99
Or 499 points

View Issues

About Classic Pop

In our latest Classic Pop Presents special, we immerse ourselves in the flamboyant world of the New Romantics. From the scene's origins as an underground movement born out of the Blitz Club in Soho through to the worldwide surge of popularity that led to mainstream success for some of the major players who made their musical mark, such as Boy George, Spandau Ballet, Visage and Duran Duran. Inside we tell the story of the Godfather of the scene, Steve Strange, and explore his pioneering band Visage with the help of Blitz DJ and band member Rusty Egan and fellow band-mate Midge Ure, who moved on to front Ultravox. We chat to Spandau Ballet's Steve Norman, who guides us through the making of their game-changing debut album Journeys To Glory, plus we head up to the Midlands to the Rum Runner club, which gave rise to another of the scene's major success stories, Duran Duran. This issue has plenty more to be enjoyed, including an exploration of David Bowie's influence on the movement plus eye-opening interviews with some of the scene's faces to get their side of this fascinating era, including Toyah, Princess Julia and Mark Shaw. Raconteur, author, DJ – and Soho's Wag Club founder – Chris Sullivan shares his hilarious memories of the times, and we strut the cat-walk with Blitz Kids, fashion designer Judith Franklin and photographer Graham Smith for our New Romantic fashion feature. Also inside, there's our Top 40 Essential New Romantic playlist, the design styles and artwork of the scene's many fine releases, and all with stunning photos throughout!