Posts Tagged ‘Derek Ridgers’

Books | London Youth 1978-1987

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Boy George, Le Beat Route 1981

London Youth – Derek Ridgers

Photographs by Derek Ridgers
Introductory text by John Maybury
Published by Damiani / February 2014
21.5 x 31.5 cm / 160 pp / hardback

Steve and friend, left, and Matin, right, Bowie Night at Billy’s 1978

Eye-witness and participating member of London’s edgy youth culture scene during the unique period this book documents, video artist and film director John Maybury’s introductory text is so sharp and well-written that all we’re going to do is select a few short edited passages from it and allow Derek Ridgers formidable images, as they appear in this beautifully-produced book, do the rest.

Charlotte at the Dayglo Ball, Heaven 1984. Right, Paul, Kings Road 1984

John Maybury: Curiously the London represented in these images might be recognisable to a twenty-year-old today – a recession coming after an extended period of boom and bust, but there the similarities end. Post swinging London, the euphoria dissolved into a grey reality, with a political and media class confused by the rallying cry of the Sex Pistol’s [sic] No Future – but there was…

At Feltham Rugby Club 1981. Right, Mark, Leicester Square, 1981

JM: Against the depressing backdrop of a grey London demoralised by IRA bombs, riots in Brixton, Toxteth and at the Notting Hill Carnival, the miners’ strike and general civil unrest, going clubbing offered an escape…  The Roxy and Louise’s begat the Vortex, Bowie Night at Billy’s, Le Beat Route, the Blitz, Le Kilt, the Batcave, Hell, White Trash, Legends, the People’s Palace, and Taboo, where events would take place mid-week. To walk into one of them was to enter a kaleidoscope world of like-minded hedonists.

Martin and Steve, Kings Road 1981. Right, Chelsea, 1980

JM: Suddenly ordinary kids were adopting styles and attitudes that threw their parents into tailspin. Before long the streets of Soho, Camden Lock, the Kings Road and Kensington High Street were crawling with ‘these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds’.

Charlotte and Jeffrey at the Alternative Miss World, Earls Court 1981

JM: Sex (that became Seditionaries and mutated into Worlds End, Boy and PX, the stalls at Beaufort market and Kensington market, provided street-style catwalks. Punk was about watching bands. Now we were watching each other.

Southend Seafront on Bank Holiday, 1979

JM: Notorious camera whores like Boy George, Marilyn or Steve Strange not only deserved to be photographed but expected it. Being photographed served as an affirmation that your particular ‘look’ set you apart as somebody… In 78–87 London Youth, Derek Ridgers makes each and every one a hero or heroine of their own drama with one click.

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