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& RUSTY EGAN
|Steve Strange retired from the public limelight after such a start to work in the Rich Kids' London office. There, in late '77, he met Rusty Egan. The Rich Kids fell apart and they began the Friday nights at Billy's. In the beginning, Visage started out to remedy the shortage of suitable music for Rusty's disco. Midge Ure, another ex-Rich Kid, came to the club and offered Steve some free studio which he had left over from the band's deal with EMI.
They cut some demos with Steve singing and, although EMI passed them over, producer Martin Rushent - who was just beginning his own Genetic record label - heard them being played at Billy's and put up the money for more recording. More musicians joined in: Billy Currie, who was weathering a difficult phase in Ultravox's history, and three members of Magazine - whose career sometimes seems, very unfairly, to be one long difficult phase - john McGeoch, Dave Formula and Barry Adamson.
An album was recorded at Rushent's studio in the garden of his Berkshire home, only to end up in cold storage for nearly a year when his record label collapsed through a complicated business cock-up.
Meanwhile, the club scene was blossoming. Rusty and Steve moved across Central London to the Blitz wine bar in Covent Garden, taking it over every Tuesday night. Commentators, lost for a label to describe Steve and the kids who share his tastes for costume and nightclubbing, still refer to the Blitz and him in one breath even though he hasn't been using the place for a year now.
Since then there's been Hell, where everyone dressed in gloomy black "ecclesiastical" garments. That was closed down somewhat abruptly by the police. More recently they've been using London's big soulless rock showcase, The Venue, on Thursday nights.
That hasn't worked out; Steve is dissatisfied " because half the people were dressing up and the half that weren't were just there to laugh at the rest; I can't handle that, it ruins the atmosphere."
Next they're moving on to a very expensive upmarket Mayfair club, Legends, though they've got the owners to drop the entrance fee to ?2.00 and halve the price of drinks. Legends will tide them over until their new, specially kitted-out club, The People's Palace, is ready.
They keep at it, says Steve, because "London's so absolutely dead. The only places you can go are gay clubs or very expensive places like the Embassy - what else is going on?"
Since Steve and Rusty began their clubs, there has been an explosion of small venues in Central London, not just discos, but places like the Comedy Store where budding comedians can try their hand, and the new clubs
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