The Blitz Kids were a group of young people who frequented the weekly Blitz club-night in Covent Garden, London in 1979-80, and are credited with launching the New Romantic subcultural movement. Among them were Rusty Egan, Steve Strange, Boy George, his friends Marilyn and Alice Temple, Perri Lister, Princess Julia, Philip Sallon, Carl Teper and Martin Degville (later to be the frontman of Tony James' Sigue Sigue Sputnik). Crucially, the club lay between two art colleges (St Martin's School and Central School) and became a testbed for student fashion designers who set London ablaze during the 1980s. These included Stephen Jones, Fiona Dealey, Kim Bowen, Melissa Caplan, Stephen Linard, Judith Frankland, David Holah, Stevie Stewart, John Galliano, Darla Jane Gilroy, Dinny Hall, Iain Webb, Simon Withers, Willy Brown, Richard Ostell, Rachel Auburn and more. The Blitz began making headlines thanks to its outrageous styles of clothes and make-up for both sexes, subsequently documented by Gary Kemp in his 2009 first-person book, I Know This Much.
After coming together at Billy's nightclub in 1978, the Blitz Kids had found themselves bored with the whole punk genre. Billy's introduced regular Roxy Music and David Bowie nights and, in an effort to find something new, the denizens took to wearing bizarre home-made costumes and clothing and emphatic make-up, presenting a highly androgynous appearance. After three months, the group moved on from Billy's – which had effectively formalised the once-a-week club-night – to another at the more elitist Blitz wine bar, which is widely considered as home to the New Romantic movement.
The Blitz club proved to be the birthplace of several pop groups, notably Visage with Steve Strange on vocals and Blitz DJ Rusty Egan on drums, then Spandau Ballet who played live gigs there in 1979 and 1980. Much later, Boy George was to become internationally famous in his own right fronting Culture Club. Marilyn became a vocalist, but with minor chart success.
Boy George celebrated the Blitz Kids scene in his 2002 musical Taboo, in which he played the part of Leigh Bowery, who hosted the London weekly club-night called Taboo in 1985-87, long after the Blitz closed.
Alice Temple joined Eg White in 1991 to form the short-lived but critically acclaimed Eg and Alice.
Through the early 1990s, the Blitz and Taboo ethos lived on through another London club-night, Kinky Gerlinky.
In January 2011, Steve Strange and Rusty Egan threw a one-off reunion party on the site of the original Blitz Club, with performances from Roman Kemp's band Paradise Point and electro punk artist Quilla Constance, plus DJ sets from Egan himself. Egan simultaneously launched an official Blitz Club website incorporating a record label, which has published three remixes in as many years.
List of prominent Blitz Kids
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- Leigh Bowery
- Boy George (Culture Club)
- Steve Strange (Visage)
- Michael Clark
- Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet)
- Martin Degville (Sigue Sigue Sputnik)
- Rusty Egan (Visage)
- Robert Elms (Radio DJ)
- Tony James (Sigue Sigue Sputnik)
- Stephen Jones
- John Keeble (Spandau Ballet)
- Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
- Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
- Perri Lister (Hot Gossip)
- Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet)
- Princess Julia
- Philip Sallon
- Alice Temple
- Kemp, Gary (2009). I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau. London: Fourth Estate. ISBN 0-00-732330-1.
- Johnson, David (October 4, 2009). "Spandau Ballet, the Blitz kids and the birth of the New Romantics". The Observer.
- "BLITZ KIDS | ➢➢ Shapers of the 80s ➣➣". Shapersofthe80s.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- New York Magazine - Google Books. Books.google.com. 1982-07-26. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- Line, On_The (24 January 1980). "Strange Days, p23". Evening Standard.
- Strange and Egan return to the Blitz, “Shapersofthe80s.com, 2006” accessed 30 May 2015
- "The Blitz Club – Steve Strange And Rusty Egan Present the Official Blitz Club Website". Theblitzclub.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- Nikkhah, Roya (November 22, 2008). "The Queen's Diamond Jubilee". The Daily Telegraph.
- Pink News - Philip Sallon (April 2011)
- "Alice Temple". Theblitzkids.com. Retrieved 2011-08-25.