I remember learning that John Foxx was an English electronic music artist in 1980, but I had no idea at the time that he was from Chorley. People didn’t advertise their links with the Manchester area at that time.
In the Chimp interview, Foxx says: “By the early seventies… there was no scene in Manchester and nothing was really happening. That’s why I decided to move to London… “
I heard this song on the radio in 1980 and I saw the video once or twice, probably on Top Of The Pops:
John Foxx – Underpass (1980)
I vaguely knew that John Foxx was in Ultravox before they became chart-friendly teen pin-ups. He wasn’t chart-orientated, which made him cooler, but also harder to find out about.
The Mancunian school-child’s view in 1980 was that all the good ‘old’ music had been made in Liverpool (a fact rammed home that year by John Lennon’s death) and all the modern ‘New Wave’, ‘New Romantic’ electronic music innovators were based in London or Sheffield:
Gary Numan & Tubeway Army’s ‘Replicas’ (1979), David Bowie’s ‘Scary Monsters’ (1980), Visage (1980), Human League (1980/81), Ultravox (1981), Spandau Ballet (1981)…
Everything exciting and cool seemed to be happening somewhere else.
Barry Adamson was involved with Visage’s ‘Fade To Grey’, but no local link was evident to me at the time.
Visage – Fade To Grey (1980)
When Steve Strange & Rusty Egan’s glamourous Blitz Club was booming in London, people in Manchester were going to Pips, behind the cathedral; the Bowie boys had to share their club with all the other youth tribes.
There was a fashion in Manchester at the time for ‘striking a pose’ – I assume it originated in London. Elaborately made-up and unusually dressed young people would remain motionless in the middle of the street for half an hour at a time! There was a name for this activity but I can’t remember what it was. It was similar to the much later notion of ‘showing out’ (late ’80s)… except that it involved staying completely still!
I remember seeing someone draped across a bus-stop, on the way into town, looking like an enormous stricken bird with fantastic plumage. It was a risky occupation… motionless people make very easy targets. This is what passed for entertainment in my youth… this and glue-sniffing.
So it really was an unexpected bonus in 1982, when Affleck’s Palace and The Hacienda opened, and The Smiths formed, all in the year when I turned 16… although it took me about 12 months to discover them all.
I wonder how Manchester’s 14-to-16-year-olds feel about this place now?