Steve Strange, Pioneer of Avant-Garde New Romantic Culture, Dies

Steve Strange AP

Strange, one of the brightest lights of the 1980’s counter-cultural movement the New Romantics, who will be remembered for his music hits and eccentric dress passed away aged 55, while on holiday in Egypt this week.

As the front-man of Visage, Strange found fame with his 1980 hit single Fade to Grey which reached number eight in the UK, but hit the number one spot in Germany and Switzerland. Strange’s Blitz nightclub in Covent Garden was an incubator of the outrageous styles and sounds that characterised alternative London of the 1980’s and was frequented by the likes of David Bowie, Boy George, and Spandau Ballet.

In common with many of his contemporaries, Strange struggled with drug addiction in the public eye, and was once arrested for shoplifting a child’s toy, but continued to work on his music.

London-based DJ and clubland bon-vivant David De Vynel recalls appearing opposite Strange in an episode of the BBC’s crime drama Ashes to Ashes, named for the noted David Bowie single, in which Strange also appeared. Speaking to Breitbart London he said: “It was set in the Blitz Club, Steve’s old haunt, and I was dressed and made-up by the costume department as Steve Strange whilst Steve, bizarrely, was performing Fade To Grey on stage.

“After the shoot, at which Steve was a little worse for wear, we were having a conversation where he went completely off-piste and started telling me, by calling me Steve, about how ‘our’ artist manager at Polygram hadn’t been returning his calls.

“It became fairly obvious fairly quickly that, for Steve, being back in the Blitz Club and performing Fade To Grey in front of someone who was playing Steve Strange was a bit confusing and the only way he could reconcile that in his head was to have a full-blown conversation with ‘himself’ about a record label he hadn’t been signed to for twenty years.

“That was typical Steve, really. He seemed to live in dual timelines, never quite moving on from the days of Visage yet, conversely, approached the naughties with a zest, and a back-catalogue of stories and experiences that is rare to find nowadays.”

Watch: Strange’s 1980 hit Fade to Grey