In the 1980s, The Thompson Twins rode the wave of fashion-pop, with global hits, media coverage and quite a bit of sneering from the college boy types. But, we argue, this is a band that could only have existed because punk happened.
The earlier musical adventures of Alannah Currie are here in this punkgirldiaries exclusive interview. In it, you can read how non-musician Allannah was inspired by punk to move from New Zealand to a squat in Brixton and have a go at playing sax and bashing things in a band, because …. well, Punk, obviously.
Punk spoke to kids all over telling them they could just get up and do it. And most of all, girls started to get that message. It’s hard for younger people to realise just how important this message was back then for girls who were consistently told that they would be wives, mothers, secretaries, factory workers and not much more.
Punk also brought black/white musical cultures together. The South London squat scene integrated people from different backgrounds; reggae music and Black culture and style were an important part. Jamaican-born DJs and producers added breadth, musical brilliance and credibility to mainly white punk acts.
Punk was hugely about clothing. Once again, there was a teen movement marked out by how you dressed. It might be full-on mohican and studded leather, but more often it was drainpipe trousers, baggy jumper, or a jumble sale granny jacket. Once started on the weird fashion thing, post-punk could only get weirder.
So the logical conclusion of punk ideology – with its girls, people of colour and full-on fashion is …. The Thompson Twins.
When you read this excellent 1984 piece in Rolling Stone magazine, you can see so many layers going on – the band has become mega-successful by accident, they are enjoying the weirdness and still slightly taking the piss by pretending to be serious. The photo-led music press (Smash Hits, Record Mirror, The Face etc) have found the perfect subjects to fill their pages and mainstream kids have found tuneful easy-going music that they can adore. Wins all round!