PHOTOGRAPHY, DESIGN and INTERVIEWS by GRAHAM SMITH

MAIN TEXT by CHRIS SULLIVAN

 

FOREWORDS by BOY GEORGE, GARY KEMP and STEVE STRANGE

INTRODUCTION By ROBERT ELMS

 

 

Welcome to a trailer for my book

 

SCROLL               DOWN

 

 

HELLO

 

HOME

PUNKS, POSEURS, PEACOCKS AND

PEOPLE OF A PARTICULAR PERSUASION

 

INTRODUCTION

WE CAN BE

HEROES

 

FLYERS

 

THE CLUBS

 

VIDEO

 

BLITZ CHAPTER

 

REVIEWS

LONDON

CLUBLAND

1976-1984

 

 

BIOGRAPHIES

 

CONTACT

INTRODUCTION

In the early 1980s, when a small group of misfits began acting out their nocturnal fantasies, London nightlife blossomed and fashion, music and clubbing would never be the same again. Against the backdrop of recession-hit Britain, this was the birth of club fashion, style magazines, futuristic synth pop and blue-eyed funk.

 

Energised by punk’s do-it-yourself attitude and David Bowie’s ceaseless image shifting, a new generation of pop stars, designers, journalists, artists and filmmakers emerged, adopting wild, theatrical attire and an ethos of continual change.

 

Led by the enigmatic Steve Strange and the ever dapper Chris Sullivan, their scene flourished in a succession of legendary clubs: from Billy’s and the Blitz via Le Beat Route and the Mud Club, to the the Dirt Box and the Wag.

 

It gave us stars including Boy George, Sade and Spandau Ballet, as well as the faces who would shape London nightlife up to the rave era. The press dubbed these nightbirds the New Romantics; in truth this was just one stage of their endless reinvention.

 

Together with his schoolmate, future broadcaster Robert Elms, and art-school buddy Chris Sullivan, Graham Smith was at the centre of this creative cult. He designed its record sleeves, cultivated its graphics and captured its characters, taking extraordinary pictures throughout the period, most of which have never been reproduced before. There are interviews with all the major players, incendiary and hilarious text by Chris Sullivan, an introduction by Robert Elms and forewords by Boy George, Steve Strange and Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp. This beautiful book is the first insider account of this uniquely creative time.

‘Where so much that has been published is 99% crap

this is the real thing. It really is firing on all cylinders;
elegant pictures, erudite writing, amazing rhythm
and beautiful production. Every design studio in
the world will be desperate to get a copy.’

STEHEN JONES OBE (Milliner)

FLYERS

‘What a wonderful book, I have never seen anything that has
or I’m sure will, capture those fabulous early days so vividly.
It brought back so many memories, I could almost taste the
air of those clubs again....I will treasure it all my life.’

MARTIN KEMP (Spandau Ballet)

 

Rollover

spreads

to reveal

quotes

‘This book reminds me why I moved to London in 1979.
I had watched punk form and blossom in London and, as soon as
I was old enough, I packed my bags and experienced the wonderful club culture from Le Beat Route through the Blitz Club to The Wag. This was creative London at its most vibrant and set the scene
for why London is revered for its cool, all around the world...’

WAYNE HEMINGWAY MBE (Designer)

VIDEO TRAILER FOR WE CAN BE HEROES

The book was originally ‘Crowd funded’ by Unbound publishing.

This meant I had to get approximately 1200 people to pledge (pay upfront) £30,

in order to get the book published, as the cost to produce it was £35,000.

To my amazement this was achieved over a period of 3 months

and ‘We can be heroes’ was printed in December 2011.

The above video was used on the Unbound website to help achieve this.

 

‘It's a fantastic record of fantastical times, I love it ’

SIOBHAN FAHEY

(Bananarama & Shakespears Sister)

 

Rollover

spreads

to reveal

quotes

+

+

+

+

+

‘If you want to find out what it was like to be young in the
late 1970s and early 1980s then you'd do well to take a look at
a new book called We Can Be Heroes...

...But, however you regard this somewhat over-zealous nightclubbing scene one thing is certain, what the photographs of Graham Smith have in abundance is soul. It is obvious that Smith was part of
the world he documented and ultimately the photographs reveal
a world full of hopeful opportunists and charming chancers who, without much thought for tomorrow, changed the future of
fashion and music and more besides...This book shows how we believed we could be heroes...if only for one night!’

IAIN R WEBB in Huffington post

REVIEWS OF WE CAN BE HEROES - Click boxes

  •   THE GUARDIAN

    ‘We Can Be Heroes is a gorgeous history of 80s London clubland, in the years leading up to acid house. It recalls in forensic detail the authors' reign as New Romantic tastemakers.’

  •   METRO NEW

    ‘They changed music, fashion and clubbing for a generation. Now a new book documents the punks, poseurs and peacocks who dominated London's clubland’.

  •   VOGUE

    ‘The book captures the decades' most creative figures in their “natural habitats” - London's legendary nightclubs... Smith became well known in the scene and grew close to many of the era's key protagonists - from Boy George, Spandau Ballet and Sade, to Steve Strange and Robert Elms - even creating record sleeves for them.’

  •   THE INDEPENDENT

    ‘Late-Seventies Britain, and everything looked grim - until the New Romantics came along.
    As a new book celebrates the era, Robert Elms introduces the intoxicating photographs of Graham Smith.’

  •   DAILY EXPRESS

    ‘To anyone who dismisses Eighties nightlife with the words “Peter Stringfellow”, a thorough reading of this fascinating and definitive account should be a priority.’

  •   DESIGN WEEK

    ‘We Can Be Heroes is a tome that ticks all the boxes for Design Week: sublime photography and design, alliteration, punks and Boy George!’

Limited edition of 50 books from Unbound.

We Can Be Heroes is available from

www.unbound.co.uk and Amazon

 

Unbound have also produced a special deluxe, numbered edition of 50. These are cased in a unique, black linen , embossed box with two signed, limited edition, photographic prints from the book

DELUXE VERSION OF WE CAN BE HEROES

‘Beautifully thorough and, unsurprisingly, stylishly constructed.

It’s now my desert-island book!’

GARY KEMP (Spandau Ballet)

‘We Can Be Heroes is the V&A Museum's 11th best seller for the year which is incredible considering that includes sales of all the
David Bowie books from his exhibition here.’

ANNI TIMMS V&A Museum Book Buyer

 

PRINTS FOR SALE

Limited edition prints from Graham Smith's definitive book about the London clubbing scene in the early eighties.

SIGNED, LIMITED EDITION PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS FROM THE BOOK ARE AVAILABLE TO BUY

They are printed on 308gsm Giclee Photorag which is heavy matt art paper with a fibrous finish

Please email me direct at

grsmith@mac.com

BIOGRAPHIES

Aged 18, in the midst of the punk explosion, Graham Smith picked up a camera and spent the next six years photographing bands, his mates and contemporaries, becoming unofficial house photographer to the burgeoning London nightclub scene. During this period he designed the record sleeves for most of the key performers including Spandau Ballet and Sade, while creating the flyers for many of the clubs.
In the ‘just-do-it’ spirit of these pioneering days, he also DJed and ran one-nighters with fellow DJ Robert Elms and promoter Chris Sullivan at the St. Moritz and Le Kilt, followed by a regular Saturday night spot as DJ at the original Fridge in Brixton. Graham is now a freelance magazine art director and married to Lorraine Davies-Smith, who he met in the Spice of Life pub, on his way to Le Beat Route, in 1982. They have two grown children, Carla and Dexter, and live in Bushey, Hertfordshire. He still likes a dance.

Born a long time ago in Merthyr Tydfil, Chris Sullivan studied at Camberwell and St Martin’s Colleges of Art and in 1978 began running regular warehouse parties, followed by one night clubs such as the St. Moritz, Le Kilt and Hell with Steve Strange and Rusty Egan. In 1981 he signed a record deal with Virgin Records for his band Blue Rondo a la Turk. Two years on, fed up with life as a pauper, he opened the Wag Club in Wardour Street, which he ran for the next 18 years, ruining his health. His career as a writer began with The Face in the early 1980s. By the mid 1990s he was a regular contributor to Loaded and Style Editor at GQ. In 2000 he turned freelance and wrote the highly acclaimed book Punk. Now a full time scribe, he writes for several newspapers and style magazines and is the resident film critic for Redbull.com. He lives in West London with his extremely patient better half Leah Seresin, their six-year old son Finbar and Nancy the cat.

‘This book brings back so many wondrous memories

and for once it has been put together

by someone on the scene.’

BOY GEORGE

We Can Be Heroes

is available from

Unbound.co.uk

CONTACT GRAHAM

at grsmith@mac.com

Submitting Form...

The server encountered an error.

Form received.

Website designed by Graham Smith

View his portfolio at www.grahamsmithdesign.co.uk

or click logo button on left  

Graham is available for freelance commissions

 

Copyright 2014 Graham Smith