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The Blitz Club’s 30th bash

It’s hard to imagine anyone not loving music. Whether your taste is classical, rhythm and blues, Jazz, sixties rock and roll, whatever.

Every few years or perhaps every generation, musical creativity expresses itself in different ways

But it’s also true that every few years or perhaps every generation, musical creativity expresses itself in different ways.

The sixties for example saw bands like the Beatles, The Animals, The Troggs and The Spencer Davis group who were often from working class backgrounds who just loved to play and perform and were influenced by rhythm and blues strains coming over from America

Lynn spoke to Steve Strange about his past in 2009 – watch that report online at ITV.com/Wales

But the early eighties was different again and set against a background of recession kids were looking for something glamorous and extravagant , they wanted a space of their own to have fun and express themselves and this is where Welsh rock star Steve Strange became a key player.

Born in Newbridge, his family moved to Rhyl when he was quite young to successfully run a string of seaside cafes. But when his parent’s relationship broke down, Steve was brought back to South Wales to be brought up near family that lived in the valleys.

Living now in much poorer circumstances, he was keen to escape to the

Steve had an unusual dress code - if you wanted to come into the Blitz Club you had to look outrageous

glamour and nightlife which he craved.

He loved dancing and by the age of thirteen or fourteen was climbing out of the bathroom window and hitching a lift to Wigan Casino to dance to the strains of Northern Soul.

By the age of 17, with only thirty pounds in his pocket he left home for London.

Watch Lynn’s report at ITV.com/Wales

It was there he became front man and creative inspiration for the band Visage, joined by Rusty Egan and Midge Ure. They were massive.

Thirty years on and I’m on a train with Steve Strange on the way to London to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Blitz club.

The Blitz was the melting pot of creativity bubbling with ideas that lead to the creation of a string of new romantics bands like, of course, Visage but also other greats like Spandau Ballet, Depeche Mode and Soft Cell.

Steve ran the club and was on the door. You could only get in if you looked outrageous.

But it wasn’t just about how people looked.

Steve along with Rusty Egan provided a form of cafe society, along the lines of the French salon of yesteryear that attracted fashion designers, photographers and milliners like Stephen Jones who was and is certainly one of the most radical figures of the day creating hats for the catwalk shows of Galliano at Dior and Vivienne Westwood. He credits Steve as the one who made it all happen.

But back to the present and we joined the party at the premises of the old Blitz in Covent Garden. Rusty Egan was there, organising the music and what a brilliant set list it was. Music that I hadn’t heard for some time. Music like Neon Lights by Kraftwerk, Duran Duran Planet Earth and Iggy Pop The passenger.

I went armed with a video camera and had plenty of material to film.

There were names and faces from the eighties like Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet who spoke of his early days at the blitz club but there were also new faces like the band Paradise Point who are just starting out.

And again like the eighties, Steve is like a magnet drawing to him new creatives; performers like Alejandro Gocast who have taken inspiration from the eighties and emerged with a neo electronic sound… watch this space



5 thoughts on “The Blitz Club’s 30th bash

  1. Those were the days. I remember seeing Spandau Ballet in some obscure club in Tiger Bay on a Sunday Afternoon. The venue was buzzing in the early 80s does any one else remember that Gig? Also night clubs in Cardiff that were playing bands like Depeche Mode,Flock of Seagulls and Bowie….it was brilliant to be different from the norm….Rock On

    Posted by lindy kowalski | January 29, 2011, 7:17 am
    • It’s so fantastic to hear about all these memories.
      For me I saw soft cell and Frankie Goes to Hollywood previous incarnation as Big in Japan in tiny clubs much the best experience compared to big concert. it was like that at the Blitz the other week, a small club meeting everyone and seeing up and coming talent as well

      Posted by Lynn Courtney | February 1, 2011, 10:51 am
  2. Spandau at a disused chapel rechristened Casablanca’s, Dec 1980, size of a hankie, what a scrum. Certain Londoners missed their bus back.

    Posted by blitzbabe | February 1, 2011, 1:16 am
  3. If you have memories of seeing bands in the eighties, leave a comment! I would love to know where you went and who you saw

    Posted by Lynn Courtney | February 1, 2011, 10:53 am
  4. I, too, was at the Casablanca that afternoon. The place was so rammed I couldn’t move from my badly chosen spot next to the PA stack, and it was LOUD. To cut a long story short, I lost my hearing in one ear for a couple of days. The best gig I went to in Cardiff was (unexpectedly) The Boomtown Rats at Sophia Gardens Pavilion some time before it fell down; the worst gig was Adam and the Ants at the Top Rank when the bouncers confiscated any article of clothing likely to cause a mild abrasion in the event of fisticuffs. Nero’s was always a good place to see bands and to avoid singing Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve.

    Posted by Mr. Jones | February 21, 2011, 1:16 pm

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