Tag: Peter Ashworth

PETER ASHWORTH Mavericks

A graduate of the London College Of Printing, photographer Peter Ashworth created some of the most iconic images from New Romantic and beyond.

His photographs adorned albums covers such as the debut long player by VISAGE, SOFT CELL ‘Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret’, ASSOCIATES ‘Sulk’, EURYTHMICS ‘In The Garden’, DEAD OR ALIVE ‘Sophisticated Boom-Boom’, ADAM & THE ANTS ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’, TINA TURNER ‘Private Dancer’ and many more.

Meanwhile, his memorable portraits have included artists as varied as FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD, ERASURE, ULTRAVOX, THE THE, THE CLASH, THE CULT, THE ART OF NOISE, SWING OUT SISTER, PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED, THE LIGHTNING SEEDS and SPACE while his photos of BLANCMANGE, DAVID SYLVIAN, EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL and THE CULT appeared in ‘Smash Hits’.

But it was his image of Annie Lennox in a mask and an ironic strong arm pose for ‘The Face’ that was to become his best remembered shot; the visually powerful statement was then used on the cover of ‘Touch’, the third album by EURYTHMICS.

At a time when image was critical to how an act and their music were perceived, record covers were the first port of call for any potential fan. Thus Ashworth’s eye was ideal as he worked mostly with large square format Hassalblad cameras, so there was never that dilemma of what might be cropped out in a landscape format shot.

Having already debuted the ‘Mavericks’ exhibition in Liverpool, the London variant was specifically adapted for the Lever Gallery in Islington. In Ashworth’s own words: “the prints have deep colours, strong graphics, and are beautifully printed”.

Ashworth loved to create extravagant sets for his backgrounds like The Jungle Of Desire for various formats of FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD’s ‘Welcome To The Pleasure Dome’ or the kaleidoscopic horticultural menagerie for ASSOCIATES to inhabit on the cover image of ‘Sulk’. What Ashworth helped to reinforce was the element of artifice in music of this period, which ultimately allowed the listener to embark on a truly escapist adventure.

So it was a total honour and privilege to have Peter Ashworth personally guide The Electricity Club around his wonderful ‘Mavericks’ exhibition and to hear the stories behind his iconic photographs. Many are now time capsules of fashion and popular culture like his dressing room photo of TRANSVISION VAMP which adorned their ‘Velveteen’ long player, capturing a time before mobile photos when bands would pass the hours away before showtime reading books about THE VELVET UNDERGROUND and sex movies!

Interestingly, Ashworth confessed to rarely listening to the artists he was photographing so that he could focus on the best visual presentation possible. Meanwhile, he also admitted he wasn’t really a fan of anybody except perhaps the late German producer Conny Plank and that his favourite type of music was deep house.

Though his cool portrait of BRYAN FERRY dragging on a Marlboro has been popular with many casual observers, Ashworth’s own favourites are actually of two lesser known New Romantic personalities RONNY and PETER GODWIN. The former was a French protégée of Rusty Egan who cut a striking figure androgynously suited in Anthony Price, while the latter released two singles ‘Torch Song For The Heroine’ and ‘Images of Heaven’ which featured members of ULTRAVOX.

Although never having a hit in his own right, Godwin hit paydirt when DAVID BOWIE covered ‘Criminal World’ by his previous band METRO on the ten million selling ‘Let’s Dance’ album.

A regular visitor to The Blitz Club, Ashworth was a natural choice for the eponymous debut VISAGE album cover image in 1980. Shot in the actual club itself, he had titled the photo ‘The Swing’ thanks to the dancing pose captured of Steve Strange and model Vivienne Tribbeck in front of three silhouetted jazz musicians, one of whom was the soon-to-be famous milliner Stephen Jones. The eventual artwork was actually hand tinted by Iain Gilles, so it was fabulous to see the original photo which to be honest looks better!

One of the acts most closely associated with Peter Ashworth has been SOFT CELL and he took many photographs of Marc Almond and Dave Ball during their career, as well as being an occasional drummer in Almond’s MARC & THE MAMBAS venture. The ‘Bedsitter’ image highlighted Ashworth’s use of props which in this case were a number of kitchen utensils. But the duo’s tense facial expressions can be explained by the fact that the props kept falling off the wall behind them!

‘Mavericks’ is a must see exhibition for anyone remotely interested in pop music and its visual presentation. There is also the opportunity to purchase a quality greeting card set of six iconic Peter Ashworth images which because they measure 6″ x 6″, four can fit perfectly into one of those album artwork frames available in HMV or Fopp… so guess what The Electricity Club did? ??


The Electricity Club gives its sincerest thank to Peter Ashworth

‘Mavericks’, a photographic show by Peter Ashworth runs at the Lever Gallery, 153 -157 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7HD until 20th December 2018 – entry is free and open Tuesday to Sunday or by appointment

http://www.ashworth-photos.com/

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https://twitter.com/peterashworth

https://www.instagram.com/p_ashworth/

https://levergallery.com/

https://www.facebook.com/levergallery/

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https://www.instagram.com/levergallery/


Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
20th November 2018, updated 11th December 2018

Return To THE BLITZ CLUB 2011

The Blitz Club celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a special reunion at its old site which is now The Red Rooms in Holborn, London.

its original soundtrack centred on the music of DAVID BOWIE but also included KRAFTWERK, ROXY MUSIC, ENO, LA DUSSELDORF, GINA X PERFORMANCE, ULTRAVOX, THE NORMAL, THE HUMAN LEAGUE, YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA, TELEX and MAGAZINE amongst others.

This vibrant post-punk scene, whose clientel were dubbed ‘The Blitz Kids’ and ‘The New Romantics’, became the catalyst for several bands including SPANDAU BALLET, CULTURE CLUB and of course, VISAGE as well as assorted fashion designers and visual artists.

Hosted by its founders Steve Strange and Rusty Egan, among the special guests attending tonight’s party are SPANDAU BALLET’s Martin Kemp and John Keeble, Martin Kemp’s wife and WHAM! backing singer Shirlie Holliman, SPANDAU BALLET manager Steve Dagger and renowned photographer Peter Ashworth whose striking images adorn the covers of SOFT CELL’s ‘Non Stop Erotic Cabaret’ and ‘The Art Of Falling Apart’, ASSOCIATES ‘Sulk’, EURYTHMICS ‘Touch’ and the very first VISAGE album.

Also reunited for the first time in many years were members of The Blitz Club dance troupe SHOCK including Carole Caplin, LA Richards, Tim Dry aka Tik from TIK & TOK and Barbie Wilde who appeared in ULTRAVOX’s ‘Passing Strangers’ promo video with the absent Sean Crawford aka Tok.

After an initial DJ set by Rusty Egan, PARADISE POINT took to the stage to deliver a lively performance with their bassist Roman Kemp following in the footsteps of his father Martin by playing The Blitz Club. His mum Shirlie looked on proudly. Despite at least three members of the group looking barely old enough to be playing on licensed premises, they were impressive with a polished danceable pop style that wholly suited the occasion.

Singer Cameron Jones has a charismatic confidence which should see PARADISE POINT fill the gap in the market for a smart boy band that actually plays their own instruments. During the interlude to remove the stage to reveal the dancefloor proper, both Steve Strange and Rusty Egan took to the mic to thank everyone for attending. Rusty even took great delight in mentioning The Electricity Club by announcing: “These guys know more about the music I play than I do!!” Merci beaucoup Rusty!

The old Blitz Club dancefloor filled as its original resident DJ spinned classic after classic with many songs from the original Blitz Club playlist.

It was quite surreal to not only be hearing the 12 inch mixes of ‘Fade To Grey’, ‘To Cut A Long Story Short’ and ‘R.E.R.B.’ in the very place that helped inspire them, but to also be in the presence of the very people that were involved in their genesis and recording.

However, one particular highlight with a modern twist occurred when the EMP 09 dance remix of ULTRAVOX’s ‘Visions In Blue’ was warmly received by the crowd.

With the essential inclusion of DAVID BOWIE’s ‘Heroes / Helden’, ‘The Model’ by KRAFTWERK, OMD’s ‘Enola Gay’, JOY DIVISION’s ‘She’s Lost Control’ and a bit of BRYAN FERRY et voila… this was the perfect combination to celebrate nearly four decades of fantastically inventive avant pop music.

julia & rustyNext to take the decks was Princess Julia who famously appeared in the iconic ‘Fade To Grey’ promo video with Steve Strange. Again, it was surreal to see the pair standing together in the DJ booth.

Onlookers were even treated to the former Steven Harrington doing some impromptu miming over the soon-to-be released reworking of VISAGE’s ‘Frequency 7’ which now features extra lyrics borrowed from HEAVEN 17’s ‘Temptation’.

This is a song which incidentally also has Blitz Club connections as it was Rusty Egan who recommended Carol Kenyon to Messrs Marsh, Ware and Gregory when the Sheffield trio were seeking a soulful backing vocalist for their then yet-to-be completed 1983 single.

Meanwhile Princess Julia’s set was varied, ranging from the not entirely unexpected like DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ to the biggest surprise of the night, FANCY’s cult Euro hit from 1983, ‘Slice Me Nice’. The various Germans and Scandinavians, who have made the journey specially to be at this reunion tonight, were particularly appreciative!

But with the landlords The Red Rooms reverting to their usual source of income as a table dancing establishment, it was time for The Blitz Club, like Cinderella, to make its exit before midnight. The whole night was terrifically friendly with lots of great electronic pop music and many attendees got into the spirit of things by togging up as New Romantics, Peacock Punks or in the case of The Electricity Club, 1950’s German bank clerks!

The Return To The Blitz Club 2011 couldn’t have been any better. With ULTRAVOX having just signed a new recording deal with Universal Music and plans also for a new VISAGE album, the legacy of The Blitz Club is alive and well! Tonight really was a Club For Heroes!


Rusty Egan’s DJ setlist

THE KNIFE Pass This On
THE STOOGES I Wanna Be Your Dog
THE BLUE NILE Headlights On The Parade
THE HUMAN LEAGUE Being Boiled
TOM TOM CLUB Genius Of Love
KRAFTWERK Neon Lights
DAVID BOWIE Sound & Vision
IGGY POP Sister Midnight
tapio & martin & SteveKRAFTWERK Trans Europe Express
DAVID BOWIE Fashion
GINA X PERFORMANCE No GDM
SIMPLE MINDS Changeling
LIAISONS DANGEREUSES Los Ninos Del Parque
BLONDIE Heart Of Glass
SHOCK R.E.R.B.
ULTRAVOX Visions In Blue (EMP 09 Remix)
ABC Tears Are Not Enough
blitz girls 2011-02YOKO ONO Walking On Thin Ice
BRYAN FERRY Let’s Stick Together
DAVID BOWIE Ashes To Ashes
DAVID BOWIE Boys Keep Swinging
SPANDAU BALLET To Cut A Long Story Short (Long Mix)
HUMAN LEAGUE The Sound Of The Crowd
OMD Enola Gay
SOFT CELL Tainted Love
THE CURE In Between Days
blitz girls 2011JOY DIVISION She’s Lost Control
DEPECHE MODE See You
ULTRAVOX Hiroshima Mon Amour
VISAGE Mind Of A Toy
DURAN DURAN Planet Earth (Night Version)
IGGY POP The Passenger
ASSOCIATES Club Country (12″ Version)
DAVID BOWIE Heroes/Helden
KRAFTWERK Das Modell
VISAGE Fade to Grey (Club Mix)


With special thanks to Rusty Egan

http://rustyegan.net

https://www.facebook.com/rusty.egan/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Richard Price
24th January 2011, updated 15th February 2015