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New Romanticism was a music and fashion movement of the 1980’s and was a direct reaction against the punk movement. It first emerged in London nightclubs such as ‘Blitz’ on Great Queen Street and soon moved to Barbarella’s in Birmingham. People involved in New Romantic club nights wanted to protest against the anti-fashion ethos of punk and appear as flamboyant and frilly as possible. The look was everything for a New Romantic and it involved wearing glitter, make-up, and ostentatious clothing. The appeal of the New Romantic scene proved so popular that it rapidly filtered into mainstream fashion.

Designers linked with the New Romantic period include, Stevie Stewart and Colin Swift. Vivienne Westwood is also often associated with the Adam and the Ants’ pirate and buccaneer look. This look was extremely popular with New Romantics and it included the wearing of frilled bell sleeves shirts, and blazers made of brocade and velvet

Adam & The Ants – Stand and Deliver

I’m the dandy highwayman who you’re too scared to mention
I spend my cash on looking flash and grabbing your attention
the devil take your stereo and your record collection!
the way you look you’ll qualify for next year’s old age pension!

Stand and deliver your money or your life!
try and use a mirror no bullet or a knife!

I’m the dandy highwayman so sick of easy fashion
the clumsy boots, peek-a-boo roots that people think so dashing
so what’s the point of robbery when nothing is worth taking?
it’s kind of tough to tell a scruff the big mistake he’s making

Stand and deliver your money or your life!
try and use a mirror no bullet or a knife!

and even though you fool your souls
your conscience will be mine
all mine

We’re the dandy highwaymen so tired of excuses
of deep meaning philosophies where only showbiz loses
we’re the dandy highwaymen and here’s our invitation
“throw your safety overboard and join our insect nation”

Stand and deliver your money or your life!
try and use a mirror no bullet or a knife!

and even though you fool your souls
your conscience will be mine, all mine

da diddley qa qa da diddley qa qa
da diddley qa qa da diddley qa qa

Stand and deliver your money or your life!
Stand and deliver your money or your life!…

 

New Romanticism music is often closely connected to the glam rock of the late1970’s. The major difference being that New Romantics did not rely so much on their guitars but used synthesisers and rhythm machines. Although he created this look ten years earlier with Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie was considered the father of New Romanticism with his androgynous appearance . Other bands associated with the New Romantic movement are Spandau Ballet, Adam and the Ants, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and Soft Cell.

By the late 1980’s the popularity of New Romanticism began to die down. It did make a brief comeback in the mid 1990’s throughout nightclubs in the US, where it was referred to as Romo. More recently bands like Ficherspooner are responsible for a new growing popularity in the New Romantics scene

Human League – Don’t you want me 1982

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