Our Futurist Friends: The New Romantics of Our Generation.
Work in Progress!
A more Futuristic, experimental and less hardcore side had existed within the circles of Punk practically from its very inception. Ultravox led by Punk pioneer John Foxx were a group very keen to take the concept of trying out new musical ideas and pushing the boundaries of the new musik further than the accepted 3 chords and 3 minutes of standard garage sounding Punk rock. If The Clash were Punk Rock's 'garageband', then Ultravox in 1977 to 1978 were the new wave's 'synth noir band'. Thier first album released in early 1977 contained a hybrid of Brian Eno produced Roxy Music and Kraftwerk influenced New Wave mixed with a cocktail of Bowie sounding Punk with a very slight hint of contemporary r&b (see 'Saturday night in the city of the dead'). Their Spring released 45 'Young Savage' and 2nd Lp giveaway single 'Quirks' along with a scattering of that LP's songs were Ultravox's departure from the energy and speed of Punk. Following 'Ha Ha Ha' Ultravox incorporated a more fluent and to the fore sound of the synthesiser: consequently influencing a generation of Punks and ex-Roxy fans along with future stars such as Gary Numan and Sheffield's very own Human League.
With the arrival of Steve Strange and Rusty Egan's Blitz nights and the empthasis away from Punk's straight-jacket, a whole crowd of kids began to dress up in clothes even more outlandish than Punk's shock aimed atire. The music of Kraftwerk, Bowie, Roxy Music, Ultravox and more was now the soundtrack to this new romantic futuristic generation. The Human League appeared in a post-punk climate to produce two original albums. David Bowie himself was once again going through a metamorphis of image change and the result coincided almost exactly with the new era of our futurist friends.
Tony Beesley ... "In 1980 I was very much still into Punk rock, though my tastes had rapidly expanded to include the many varied Post-Punk sounds being braodcast on the John Peel show.
I was also listening to Magazine, Bowie, B-Movie and others. I saw more than a few of my mates cast aside their Punk gear for the New Romantic look. I dug some of the music and even bought a handful of the singles that were now appearing. Visage Fade to grey, Spandau Ballet's To Cut a long Story Short and most of O.M.D'S singles along with my Ultravox singels etc. The music at the youth club seemed to changed over night to a set list of New Romantic favourites: and then came the frilly shirts etc. Even so the new Emperors clothes were not for me. The Mod influenced Punk look was still for me."
Ivor Hillman (Vision founder member and Pierrot Doll singer and early local New Romantic)
Above: Ivor with his cousin Skids singer
To be continued