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