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Thursday, 7 April 2011

Interview: Steve Strange

1979 Boy George and Steve Strange at Blitz Club London

When I went to see Steve Strange, it was a really strange experience. He is a legend, and was one throughout the 80’s, being one of the leaders of the New Romantic movement. He’s now evolved that into a new movement, the ‘Neo-Romantics’ (get it?), which seem to be gathering at the monthly ‘Face’ night with house DJ’s like Princess Julia. He’s got this great presence about him but it seems he’s slowly losing it. People just aren’t that interested anymore. He’s become somewhat more of a tourist attraction than an innovator. Still… he deserves a lot of respect for what he’s created, done, and the people he namedrops – I mean, knows.

So tell me about the blitz club reopening earlier this year…
It’s like what me and rosemary created 30 years ago and we knew there’d be an interest because I do a monthly event every month called ‘The Face’. ‘The Face’ is controlled about who comes in and who doesn’t – I’m very strict on the door. That night, there were obviously a lot of people who originally were here 30 years ago and also so tickets were sold online. When I heard that and got there I was like ‘Whaaat?!’. I had to control the line, and people have got tickets and I was going to them and saying, ‘really, you can’t come in…’

Right…Do you enjoy rejecting people?
Not really, but what I want, I want people who are original, who are creative and individual. I don’t want them to be inside a club full of people staring at them. I want them to be inside somewhere which is theirs, uniquely theirs, so they can dress however they want and not feel like they’re being gawped at. So it’s not gay, it’s not straight, It’s metro-hetro-sexual friendly. Basically anything goes – in one way or another. I turned 100 people easily away that night and only was on the door for an hour and a half, on top of how many rosemary turned away. The queue at 7 o’clock’ was to the end of the road and there were three tv stations in there. There’s itv, hbtv and the bbc, and there’s our own camera man for our website which is, its relatively new.

What’s your site about?
It’s about fashion, it’s also got a gallery with original Blitz photographs. It’s got my gallery, and a celebrity gallery with people like Jack Nicholson, Elton John, Sylvester Stallone, Grace Jones and then new pictures which we done last week. We just employed Steven Jones who makes all my hats, he’s going to be out fashion editor and we’re obviously going to have his hats on the fashion section. I’ve also contacted an original blitz kid, John Galliano to be a Fashion correspondent, because we change the fashion ideas every 3 months for the website.

Sounds cool, so tell me more about ‘The Face’…
I do ‘The Face’ every month, so successful. For next time we got another venue in mind (instead of Punk soho), its 1920s art deco, 700 people capacity, I can’t say much else…Also Paradise Point, I’ve been nurturing them, they’ve played the past two Face parties, so I’ve been nurturing them like what to look out for in the music industry, what to be wary of…Vogue wrote a column on them, and said them to be this year’s biggest band. If you go to vogue online, you’ll see it, I’m not just talking bullshit. You know.

Yeah, I believe you…and what would you say is your favourite Blitz club memory?
Most people thought it would be when I turned Mick Jagger away, but I didn’t turn him away because I didn’t think he was cool enough. We had fire officers saying if you let any more in, the shutters are going down, your waitress, the barmen, your club owner are not going to have a club any more. So thank god, a really good friend of mine, the heiress Sarah Guinness, was with him, and he was pissed. He was like ‘don’t you know who I am’, and I was like ‘yeah course I know who you are but I can’t let you in’. And he was having none of it. The best moment was when Bowie came and he asked me if I would style and cast the extras for the Ashes to Ashes video and I gave him my makeup artists and I did all the clothing and styled all the Ashes to Ashes video.

That’s mad… What do you think of the current music scene?
I think it’s great La Roux, Gossip and Little Boots all give us credit for the electro scene. Beth and La Roux say if it wasn’t for Steve Strange and Visage, they wouldn’t be in the electro music scene. And that’s great because when we were at our height and we had a number one single in 17 countries, the music press hated us because they never created us and they were putting us down. That’s basically what the music industry do, they like to take care of a band, rub them in cotton wool, build them up but once they’re successful, ‘boom’, knock them straight back down.

Yeah totally.

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