The second series of Ashes To Ashes began last Monday night on BBC1. It’s by no means as great as its predecessor, Life On Mars, but it’s a lot of fun nonetheless; Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) is still the finest current comic creation on TV. Anyway, this isn’t a TV review, it’s about the clothes.
The 1980s is generally the most unfairly maligned decade of the 20th Century. Yes, people in the UK were living under the Thatcherite junta for the entirety of it, which was horrific, but, pop music-wise, it kicks the 1990s’ arse up and down the street and back again. Yet, what gets the most vicious criticism is ’80s fashion. (Or at least, that used to be the case – now, Top Shop looks like it had an accident and woke up in 1982.)
It was an extraordinarily colourful time, as any viewing of Top Of The Pops from that era will show you. Like any era’s fashion, the clothes had to be worn properly and with conviction in order to be carried off, the gentleman’s suit being no exception. And no one, but no one, in popular music can wear a suit like Bryan Ferry.
Take the little, shiny blue number in the video above. I defy anyone to wear such tailoring and convince me it was meant to be worn. It’s not just the jacket; it’s the shirt and matching teeth; the thin, pink tie, worn fully knotted at first and then loosened later; the cut of those trousers; and the white sock/shoe combo. Not even Robert Palmer himself would have attempted to get away with this.
As for the song: well, in 1981, I hated it. I was never a great fan of John Lennon’s solo work, so, while I appreciated that Roxy Music wanted to pay tribute to him, I didn’t really like how they went about it. Fast forward 28 years, however, it actually stands up really well and bears repeated listening. Not to mention viewing. Take it away again, Bryan.