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The Blitz Kids were a group of people who frequented the weekly "Club For Heroes" club-night at Blitz in Covent Garden, London in 1979-80, and are credited with launching the New Romantic subcultural movement.[1] Steve Strange and Rusty Egan co-hosted Tuesday nights and imposed a strict dress code. Among core attendees were Boy George, Marilyn, Alice Temple, Perri Lister, Princess Julia, Philip Sallon and Martin Degville (later to be the frontman of Tony James' Sigue Sigue Sputnik), Biddie and Eve[2] (long-standing cabaret act at the Blitz as wine bar), Perry Haines (who became co-editor of the earliest issues of i-D magazine) and Chris Sullivan (who founded and ran the Wag club in Soho for 19 years).

Crucially, the Blitz club lay between two art colleges (St Martin's School and Central School) and it became a testbed for student fashion designers who set London ablaze during the 1980s.[3] These included Stephen Jones, Kim Bowen, Fiona Dealey, Stephen Linard, David Holah, Stevie Stewart, John Galliano, Darla Jane Gilroy and more. The Blitz began making headlines thanks to its outrageous styles of clothes and make-up for both sexes,[4] subsequently documented by Gary Kemp in his 2009 first-person book, I Know This Much.

The team of Strange as greeter and Egan as DJ came together at Billy's nightclub in Soho in autumn 1978, when the post-punk generation found themselves bored with the whole nihilist punk genre, as Smith & Sullivan document in their book We Can Be Heroes. Strange and Egan introduced regular Roxy Music and David Bowie nights at Billy's and, in an effort to find something new and colourful, the denizens took to wearing bizarre home-made costumes and clothing and emphatic make-up, presenting a highly androgynous appearance. After three months, disagreements with the owner prompted this group of kindred spirits to move on from Billy's – which had effectively formalised the once-a-week club-night. Helen Robinson, who ran the shop PX as the flagship for New Romantic ready-to-wear in Covent Garden, employed Strange as an assistant and she it was who encouraged him and Rusty to transfer their energies in 1979 to the more elitist Blitz wine bar in Great Queen Street.[5] Over the next 20 months their fashion-led Tuesday club-night was gradually acknowledged in the media as home to the New Romantic movement and prompted the "Blitz Kids" epithet in mainstream newspapers, led by the Daily Mirror on 3 March 1980.[6]

Contents

Subcultural outcomesEdit

The Blitz club provided roots for several new pop groups, notably Visage with Steve Strange on vocals and Blitz DJ Rusty Egan on drums, then Spandau Ballet who played live gigs there in 1979 and 1980.[7] Later, Blitz cloakroom attendant George O'Dowd was to become internationally famous in his own right as Boy George fronting Culture Club. Marilyn became a singer, but with limited chart success.

Boy George celebrated the Blitz Kids scene in his 2002 musical Taboo, in which he played the part of Leigh Bowery, who hosted the London weekly club-night called Taboo in 1985-87, long after the Blitz closed.

In January 2011, Steve Strange and Rusty Egan threw a one-off reunion party[8] on the site of the original Blitz Club, with performances from Roman Kemp's band Paradise Point and electro punk artist Quilla Constance, plus DJ sets from Egan himself. Egan simultaneously launched an official Blitz Club website[9] incorporating a record label, which published three remixes in as many years.

In 2017 The National Portrait Gallery acquired portraits of Blitz Kids Stephen Linard, David Holah, John Maybury and Cerith Wyn Evans by photographer David Gwinnutt, which were displayed in the exhibition Before We Were Men [10]

List of prominent Blitz KidsEdit

LiteratureEdit

  • Kemp, Gary (2009). I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau. London: Fourth Estate. ISBN 0-00-732330-1.
  • Smith, &Sullivan (2011). We Can Be Heroes: London Clubland 1976-1984. London: Unbound. ISBN 978-1-908717-04-7.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Johnson, David (October 4, 2009). "Spandau Ballet, the Blitz kids and the birth of the New Romantics". The Observer.
  2. ^ "The unknown Mr Big behind London's landmark nightspot". Shapersofthe80s. 2011-01-16. Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  3. ^ "BLITZ KIDS | ➢➢ Shapers of the 80s ➣➣". Shapersofthe80s.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  4. ^ New York Magazine - Google Books. Books.google.com. 1982-07-26. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  5. ^ "Visage: out of the 80s frying pan into the 21st-century fire". Shapersofthe80s. 2011-01-16. Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  6. ^ "Blitz Kids let their hair up". Daily Mirror, republished at Shapersofthe80s, 3 March 1980.
  7. ^ Line, On_The (24 January 1980). "Strange Days, p23". Evening Standard.
  8. ^ Strange and Egan return to the Blitz, “Shapersofthe80s.com, 2006” accessed 30 May 2015
  9. ^ "theblitzclub.com:80/about". Internet Archive, Wayback Machine, retrieved 07-04-18.
  10. ^ Gwinnutt, David. "Before We Were Men". nag.org.uk. National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  11. ^ Elan, Priya (15 May 2010). "It's Blitz: Birth of the New Romantics". the Guardian. The Guardian, 15 May 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  12. ^ Hawkins, Stan (2009). The British pop dandy : masculinity, popular music and culture. Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-7546-5858-0.
  13. ^ Hawkins, Stan (2009). The British pop dandy : masculinity, popular music and culture. Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-7546-5858-0.
  14. ^ Elan, Priya (15 November 2010). "It's Blitz: Birth of the New Romantics". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  15. ^ Elan, Priya (15 May 2010). "It's Blitz: Birth of the New Romantics". the Guardian. The Guardian, 15 May 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  16. ^ Elms, Robert (10 November 2012). "The Blitz kids: How the New Romantics made London swing again". The Independent. The Independent, 10 November 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  17. ^ Elms, Robert (10 November 2012). "The Blitz kids: How the New Romantics made London swing again". The Independent. The Independent, 10 November 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  18. ^ Blitz Kids photograph of Karen O'Connor, Steve Strange, Gene October, Billy Idol:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/60798663698511575/
  19. ^ Hawkins, Stan (2009). The British pop dandy : masculinity, popular music and culture. Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-7546-5858-0.
  20. ^ Nikkhah, Roya (November 22, 2008). "The Queen's Diamond Jubilee". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011.
  21. ^ Elan, Priya (15 May 2010). "It's Blitz: Birth of the New Romantics". the Guardian. The Guardian, 15 May 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  22. ^ Elms, Robert (10 November 2012). "The Blitz kids: How the New Romantics made London swing again". The Independent. The Independent, 10 November 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  23. ^ Elms, Robert (10 November 2012). "The Blitz kids: How the New Romantics made London swing again". The Independent. The Independent, 10 November 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  24. ^ Elms, Robert (10 November 2012). "The Blitz kids: How the New Romantics made London swing again". The Independent. The Independent, 10 November 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  25. ^ Elan, Priya (15 May 2010). "It's Blitz: Birth of the New Romantics". the Guardian. The Guardian, 15 May 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  26. ^ Blitz Kids photograph of Karen O'Connor, Steve Strange, Gene October, Billy Idol:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/60798663698511575/
  27. ^ Blitz Kids photograph of Karen O'Connor, Steve Strange, Gene October, Billy Idol:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/60798663698511575/
  28. ^ Elms, Robert (10 November 2012). "The Blitz kids: How the New Romantics made London swing again". The Independent. The Independent, 10 November 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  29. ^ Pink News – Philip Sallon (April 2011)
  30. ^ Hawkins, Stan (2009). The British pop dandy : masculinity, popular music and culture. Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-7546-5858-0.
  31. ^ Tallulah obituary:http://www.david-hudson.co.uk/archive/tallulah.html
  32. ^ "Alice Temple". Theblitzkids.com. Retrieved 2011-08-25.

External linksEdit