Richard Canning

Sequins & Synthesizers

Sweet Dreams: From Club Culture to Style Culture – the Story of the New Romantics

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Faber & Faber 680pp £20 order from our bookshop

Bananarama: Really Saying Something

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Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics

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The term ‘New Romantic’ was coined by the pioneering electronic musician Richard Burgess to describe the showy pop subculture that exploded in the British club scene in the late 1970s. As those present will attest, the New Romantics were never anything as unified as a movement. Some called themselves ‘Futurists’ and ‘gender benders’. The press labelled them ‘New Dandies’ and ‘Blitz Kids’. If you dressed to impress, danced in your pants and had attitude or style, you might be any of these. As with punk, talent didn’t matter.

Presenting a composite of oral testimony, Dylan Jones’s Sweet Dreams offers innumerable contrasting shards of soundbites and anecdotes – not to mention a fair bit of posturing and self-regard to go with the synth pop. The aim is to create

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