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Blitzed: The Autobiography of Steve Strange is the candid, if lumpen autobiography, of night club impresario, pop star and founding father of New Romanticism, Steve Strange. For a nanosecond in the early 1980s he was the most fashionable man on the planet; the driving force behind of the legendary Billy's and Blitz clubs and the "singer" with electro pop pioneers Visage. Nearly 20 years and over £100,000 of heroin later he was caught stealing a Teletubby doll from a supermarket. Ignominious declines have rarely been more spectacular but Strange, who in 1982 spent £1,500 on a fetching leather zoot suit, always did have a penchant for excess.
Born Steven Harrington in South Wales, he was officially Newport's first punk rocker. After organising a few local punk gigs, one of which resulted in a night of passion with Stranglers' bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel, Steve moved to London in 1976. Here he took vast quantities of speed and mingled with Billy Idol, Vivienne Westwood and Boy George. Bored with punk, he and Rusty Egan set about creating their own more glamorous--New Romantic--scene (or, as he modestly puts it, they started a whole "leisure revolution"). An appearance in David Bowie's Ashes to Ashes video was swiftly followed by hit records (and equally silly promotional videos) of his own with Visage. "A lethal cocktail of success and drug abuse" was soon making him "demanding and difficult" (Midge Ure, for example, walked out of the group after Steve insisted on riding down Fifth Avenue on a camel to promote the American tour). The hits and the money dried up and Steve went from supping champagne and snorting cocaine with celebrities to forging cheques to score heroin. He cleaned up but after a short renaissance as a club promoter tragedy (and heroin) struck again. Although his book covers similar ground to the memoirs by fellow 80s popstars (and drug addicts) Marc Almond and Boy George, it's rather po-faced; he lacks their humour and their gift for self-deprecation. That said there are enough revelations here to satisfy fans (and even detractors) of those hair-gelled days. --Travis Elborough
Steve Strange was head boy of the New Romantic movement. He ran the best clubs in London: Billy's, Blitz and Camden Palace, which defined the glitzy banality of the era; places where Spandau Ballet and Boy George came to life. He was the glamourpuss of glamourpusses, the campest boy in town. He formed, with Midge Ure, Visage, which became one of the biggest bands of the time, selling millions of records and gaining tabloid notoriety. This work recounts the rise and fall of the Blitz Kid himself and recounts from the epicentre the excess of the early eighties: the clubs, the people, the music, the money, his time spent recovering in Ibiza and India, the subsequent steady decline into cocaine and heroin abuse and his rise back to sanity. Steve recounts how he lost all his possessions in a house fire and days later learned of the death of his close friend Michael Hutchence. Within a couple of years Paula Yates had also committed suicide and Strange had ended up back in South Wales, homeless, mentally unstable and facing a court order for shoplifting. Somehow he managed to pull himself back from the brink
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