Early photos of Boy George, Steve Strange & more at the club that launched the New Romantics

DJ and singer Princess Julia with George O’Dowd aka Boy George.
Billy’s was a nightclub in Soho, London, where every Tuesday for most of 1978 two young men—Steve Strange and Rusty Egan—ran a club night playing tracks by David Bowie, Roxy Music and Kraftwerk. The club was in a basement underneath a brothel. From this small cramped space a new generation of artists, writers, performers and DJs first met up and planned the future together. Punk was dead. It was uncool. It had gone mainstream. The teenagers who came to Billy’s wanted to create their own music, their own style and make their own mark on the world.

Among this small posse of teenagers were future stars like Boy George, Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama), Marilyn, Martin Degville (Sigue Sigue Sputnik), DJ Princess Julia, Jeremy Healy (Hasyi Fantayzee), Andy Polaris (Animal Nightlife) and an eighteen-year-old Nicola Tyson who would go onto become one of the world’s leading figurative painters.

It’s rare that someone is savvy enough to ever take photographs of a nascent cultural revolution. But Nicola took her camera along to Billy’s and she documented the teenagers who frequented the club that launched the New Romantics and a whole new world of pop talent.
A blonde-haired Siobhan Fahey with at friend at Billy’s long before she joined Bananarama and later Shakespeare’s Sister.
Club host Steve Strange (in cap) with an unknown friend.
See more photos of Nicola’s photos, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher
01:47 pm
Shakespears Sister’s Siobhan Fahey is back (but you might not know this)
08:16 pm

Photo by Jamie Latendresse
Feast your ears on the pulsating pop perfection of “Bitter Pill” from former Bananarama/Shakespears Sister member, Siobhan Fahey.

Fahey has been performing again under the Shakespears Sister moniker since 2009. Although I’m a big fan of her music, I must confess that I did not know this. I’m glad she’s back. I didn’t know how much I’d missed her.

I first got wind of this track, released under her own name, on Larry Tee‘s Electroclash Mix compilation in 2003—in fact I bought it because of this song—but I was actually unaware until a couple of weeks ago that Fahey has actually recorded quite a lot of worthy music since then. Her 2009 album Songs From the Red Room is a very high quality product, indeed, on constant rotation at here at chez Dangerous Minds. I find her electro-glam sound absolutely relevant in this decade. Siobhan Fahey is a damned fine pop songwriter. Catchy pop music will never go out of fashion and she’s got a genius knack for coming up with effortlessly memorable melodies.

And she’s still freakin’ gorgeous. Always easy on the eyes, and now nearly 53, Fahey looks to be in her mid-thirties and is still a highly credible, sexy, sleekly feline front-woman. If any performer from the dreaded 80s is worthy of a second act—and let’s face it, few are—it’s Siobham Fahey. Don’t tale my word for it, watch the video and see for yourself.

“Bitter Pill” was re-vamped by the Pussycat Dolls for their debut album PCD in 2005, mashed together with the chorus from Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff and re-titled “Hot Stuff (I Want You Back).” No surprises, it’s vastly inferior compared to the original.

Fahey herself recorded a rockier version of “Bitter Pill” with Adam & The Ants six-string maestro Marco Pirroni (a permanent member of my pantheon of guitar gods—he’s so underrated as a musician that it just pisses me off) for Songs From the Red Room. It’s available direct from the Shakespears Sister website and all the usual places. Siobhan Fahey’s got new material out this very week.

Posted by Richard Metzger
08:16 pm