This club's called The Blitz, it's this month's pick...
Ex-Visage singer and club entrepreneur, Steve Strange, has a newly published autobiography. 'Blitzed!' is the latest in a line of books by Eighties pop icons who have acknowledged the influence of David Bowie upon their careers. Off the top of my head, previous biographies with a similar message include those by or about, Boy George, Holly Johnson, Marc Almond, Joe Jackson, Gary Numan and Billy Mackenzie. I'm sure to have forgotten a few, but even this short list is some indication of just how David Bowie helped shape the sights and sounds of that very fertile late Seventies/early Eighties period.
Steve has a lot of good stuff to say about DB, including how his walls were covered with posters of the man who inspired the haircut that got Steve thrown out of school. He also talks of the birth of the New Romantic movement from it's humble beginnings as a regular Bowie Night in a 250-capacity club in 1978, (where more people were turned away every week than actually managed to squeeze in) to the infamous Blitz club, which David visited one night in search of extras for his 'Ashes to Ashes' video. Here's a small excerpt from Steve's memory of that evening:
"Word soon spread like wildfire that David Bowie was there. He was probably the reason most people at the club had got into pop music in the first place. Travel back to the childhood bedroom of most Blitz habituÃƒÂ©s and you'll find a David Bowie poster on the wall. He had changed his look and his sound so many times, there were more than enough images to go round. The alien from Low and The Man Who Fell To earth. Aladdin Sane. Diamond Dogs. Ziggy Stardust.
"Hello Steve, David Bowie here...would you like to be in
my new video...you'll have to get your own clobber together.
I've already got my outfit sorted, it's a bit Joseph Grimaldi!"
He was the one person that everyone there would cite as an influence, even more important than punk. Everyone wanted to go upstairs and see him. We had to have extra security to keep people back. He said it was a great scene and asked me if I would like to appear in the video for his next single, Ashes to Ashes."
You can watch a small snippet of Steve talking about the 'Ashes to Ashes' video on HTV Wales by clicking on the book cover above. 'Blitzed!' The Autobiography of Steve Strange is out now on Orion.