I actually don’t know why I know of Adam Ant. I was born in 1994, long after Adam and the Ants had disbanded. I have one particular memory though, of my Father being overjoyed at the fact that ‘Stand and Deliver’ had come on the radio one day. My Father would have been my age in the late 70’s so it would make sense that he would have known Adam Ant and the likes (Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet).
More recently however, an Adam Ant song had appeared at the beginning of Edgar Right’s stellar Hot Fuzz (2007). The song titled ‘Goody Two Shoes’ was an instant hit for Adam Ant at the beginning of his new solo career and was an instant chart topper in 1982 when it was released. Even before that however, Adam Ant had crept up in Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ (2006) with the song ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’. I think its nice to see that more than 30 years on, Adam Ant still makes the odd appearance in popular culture and stands as testament to the popularity of the New Romantics of the late 70’s and 80’s. The Telegraph quotes Adam here:
“I grew up in the glam era and, for me, every album should have a look as well as a sound,” he says, poring over the gatefold packaging of his vinyl double album. “So I’ve gone back to Kings of the Wild Frontier (his 1980 breakthrough, for which he sported a jacket from the film Charge of the Light Brigade) “and thought what would the young Hussar look like 30 years later, if he’s been through the wars?”
Moving on, New Romanticism was a culture that had sprung up in reaction to Punk and was influenced by Glam Rock of the 70’s, a la David Bowie. New Romantics often wore androgynous clothing from periods of history that had been highly romanticised, for example: Adam Ant and his Hussar jacket, Pirate shirt and makeup. Essentially, any look was considered ‘Blitz Kid’ if it stood out and had been modified accordingly. The point of New Romanticism was to acquire attention and garner looks, especially on the streets of London and Birmingham where the culture had sprouted up.
Clearly New Romanticism has had a major impact on Ireland, with many people over the age of 50 (my Mother and Father included) still listening to Spandau Ballet on occasion or remembering when this culture had first appeared on the scene back in 1978. Their ‘fairytale’ appearance may have added to their popularity in Ireland in the early 80’s, their wild looks not commonly found in Ireland, where New Romanticism may have been a young Irish man or woman’s way of escaping reality for a time.
Below is an image of Adam Ant in the costume that he would have sported in the 80’s and is an excellent example of how someone associated with New Romanticism would have dressed (even though Adam Ant didn’t associate himself or his ‘Ants’ with the culture).