Monday, January 10, 2011
Studio 21 / September 1980 - "The Face"
OXFORD Street, London, on an Arctic-summer Saturday night. The pubs are emptying, the tourist trade is thinning out; hands
clutch sky every time a cab comes into a view. Up by Tottenham Court Road tube station something different is coming to life
Studio 21 : the discreet nature of the sign conjures visions of some pornographic den, beneath flights of stairs. But the music
emerging from the speaker positioned above the entrance is The Human League´s ´The Path Of Least Resistance´.
Every pleasure has its price. For this you part company with 2.45 pounds, sign your name, which automatically registers you as a
member, collect your meal ticket ( this entitles you to a plate of about a dozen chips, a beefburger and a dollop of relish) and
descend the stairs to the basement 4 Be 2´ ´One Of The Lads´.
This is the Saturday night residence of God´ nocturnal pretty-ugly things. Gathered in groups under red lighting, observing and
waiting to be observed. Doesn't matter if you´re male or female, here you can be what you want and nobody gives a toss. the
wilder the better : these barnets are constructed with the same architectural precision as nearby Centrepoint.
Joy Division´s ´She´s Lost Control´. A drink in the bar area - larger 80p a pint, spirits 70p a tot - not as extortionate as you might
expect - then into the disco chamber. Barely sweating bodies twitch the night away to anything that sounds credibly posey . Telex
to T. Rex, Roxy Music to Manicured Noise. The D.J. spot rotates between Dave Archer who tries hard to be noticed and fails, and
Jock McDonald, who tries hard and succeeds.
The air is strong with the stench or stale hair spray and deodorant. The dancers hold hands and slide to and fro careful not to
dishevel a hair on their heads. The atmosphere is friendly, even if there is a certain rivalry between the ´odd couples´
For every Clark Gable there´s two David Bowies. Magazine´s ´Back To Nature´.
At 2.30 the music slows down. Cabs queue outside for the homeward bound. The clientele of Studio 21 appreciate more than
most the dangers of walking home
words - VAUGHN TOULOUSE / photos - VIRGINIA TURBETTI / September 1980 - THE FACE