Launch Time

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A London launch party at the Vinyl Bar, hosted by TV presenter Steve Blacknell, celebrated the release of The 80’s Annual on 1st November. Guests including Jona Lewie, John Otway, Owen Paul, Modern Romance’s Andy Kyriacou and Department S joined me in an evening of nostalgia, as features from the annual were shared against a backdrop of some of the decade’s best music videos.

Huge thanks to everyone who came to the event and made it such a success.

 

Buy your copy of The 80’s Annual from the Book Depository, Amazon, Waterstones and independent book stores.

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The Vinyl Word In Fashion

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My love of vinyl means I have sometimes held onto to records out of sentimentality, simply because I cannot bear to be parted from the shiny, black discs, even though they are far beyond ever being able to produce a coherent tune again. Scratched copies of Steve Walsh’s ‘I Found Lovin” and ‘Now Those Days Are Gone’ by Bucks Fizz nestle beside albums such as Ultravox’s ‘Quartet’, an LP I played so much in my early teens that the grooves wore down to almost nothing. Yet these prized possessions remain in their rightful place in the collection I have built up over the last 35 years.IMG_20151225_184213.jpg

Some have mustered up more strength than I have been able to, and put their old vinyl to good use. Artists, like those exhibiting at the Vinyl Resting Place on 16th September, use the records as a support for their artwork. This piece I have by the late Terry Sue-Patt beautifully illustrates how music can be come art in more than one way. For your chance to purchase some similarly fantastic vinyl art, head on down to Monty’s in London’s Brick Lane, from 6pm.

There are also a number of people creating clocks from their redundant vinyl collections, and then there is always the option of going completely retro, warming and shaping them into dishes and bowls. However, I recently came across a wonderfully innovative use for these precious pieces of plastic which I think is amazing.

Wendy Norris of Forever Vinyl uses albums (handbags), 7″singles  (purses and bags) and 12″ singles (clutch bags) to create an eye-catching range of original fashion accessories.Vinyl 1

The sumptuously padded interiors are lined with various fun and patterned fabrics, and some of the bags incorporate the record sleeve into the design.

Based on the Isle of Wight, Wendy had a stall at this year’s Jack Up The 80s festival on the island. Her bespoke creations were first brought to my attention by Kim Bailey, whose partner Russell Hastings was performing there with From The Jam. Kim had purchased a beautiful shoulder bag, fashioned from an Ella Fitzgerald album. Unfortunately, by the time I made my way to the stall the following day, those designs had sold out, but I shall be first in the queue next year!

Wendy regularly updates her stock and produces new styles. To find out more, take a look at the Forever Vinyl Facebook page.

 

My Eighties Book

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Tomorrow (Friday 14th Nov) sees the release of my book, “My Eighties”. The first in a series of books on the decade, “My Eighties”, as the title suggests, uses my own recollections of the 80s as a basis for a nostalgic but realistic look back at the decade that subtlety forgot. Alongside my own (sometimes embarrassing) anecdotes, are interviews with some of my Eighties’ favourites, including Hazell Dean, Owen Paul and Paul McCarthy (aka Tommy Watson, from the best kids’ TV show ever, Grange Hill!), plus a visit back to some of the greatest (and some of the worst) tracks to ever find their way onto vinyl.

My Eighties Cover

I hope that in sharing some on my memories, you will be inspired to share some of your own. I would love to hear your stories of my favourite decade, and maybe even feature some of them in a book I am currently working on. You can send them to me via my website: Your Eighties

For those of you who would like to read my book, it is available from Amazon for less than the price of a cup of coffee!   Order here

Although currently only available in Kindle edition, you do not need a Kindle to read it – just download the free Kindle App which allows you to read it on PC, tablet, mobile, iPhone, etc.

Let me know what you think…

Adamant About Adam Ant

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The first record I ever bought was Adam and the Ants’ “Stand And Deliver”. I was 10 years old, and madly in love with the dandy highwayman, with the white stripe across his face! By the time Prince Charming was released as a single a few months later, along with its accompanying video, featuring Diana Dors, I was completely hooked by the beautiful man in make-up. So, it’s no surprise that whenever I hear the first “aah, hah” as the song begins, I’m immediately transported to pre-adolescence.

Last week, I happened to hear Prince Charming three times in one day; on my MP3 player on the morning commute, at work on Radio 2, and in the evening listening to Absolute 80s Radio. Hearing the song so frequently prompted a childhood memory. I can’t remember why, but I remember being sent to my room for some wrongdoing. At the age of 10, I was fortunate enough to have an old record player in my room, and sought solace by playing Prince Charming. For those of you old enough to remember them, my record player was one where you could stack the records on the spindle, where an arm held them in place. The arm had a dual purpose, in that if you pulled it back, the record that was playing would play again (or in my case, again and again and again!). Yes, I was so incensed at being sent to my room, that I left the arm back, and let the record play repeatedly, for the whole time I was being punished. I know I missed the whole of The Dukes of Hazzard whilst I was in my room, so that’s got to be at least 15 consecutive plays of Prince Charming, at the highest volume my record player could go to! I laugh now, but at the time it was me and Adam against the world, as I sang “ridicule is nothing to be scared of” at the top of my voice. Such passion and angst in one so young. It lasted at least until I was called downstairs for my tea!