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The Art Nouveau Archive

March 16, 2014

KajaFax takes a lot of time to write and research, and hours of work are put in every week in an attempt to bring you the best in all things ‘goo! Every now and again, we inadvertently find something that is a real gem, and what we feature today I would suggest falls very much into that category.

The KajaFax site is soon to be expanded, and we are at present working on some extra pages that we hope will ‘go-live’ at some point towards the end of the summer. In the process of researching those pages, we have been talking to many people – trawling back through the history of the band and to their earliest days as a four piece in Leighton Buzzard. One of the leads that we unearthed took us right back to their club circuit days of the late 1970’s and early 80’s, and it is to those times that the KajaFax time machine is about transport you to, and the days when Kajagoogoo were simply the four piece Art Nouveau.

Art Nouveau

The Statics, English Dream, Fashiøn, Canadian New Waver’s Strange Advance, and the BBC’s Jonathan Miles have all contributed to our cause and deserve credit, but it is local act The Innocent Vicars who have really ‘come up trumps’ with something special from their archives for us to share with you now.

I would like to extend a massive ‘thank you’ to Richard Taylor for the below scans. Not only was he a really friendly guy to chat to, but he has been incredibly helpful, providing us with invaluable information and really ‘going the extra mile’ to help us with our research…..

“I can still recall Nick Beggs in his army combats, blonde hair and (I think) nose ring.  He was a very friendly guy. He also laid down some mean timbales on stage…..Very contemporary for the 80’s genre!”

Moving on to the business end of this article, it’s time for the good stuff 🙂

On August 1st 1981 at St Albans City Hall, Jez, Steve, Nick and Stuart were busy….Art Nouveau had a gig. We think it was probably one of the last ones before they morphed into Kajagoogoo. The band were on stage as a part of ‘5 Band Night’, a local event promoted by local impresario Barry Clarke, a man responsible for most of the gigs on the local scene at that time. Clarke was also a promoter of the big names and was a major player on the UK music scene. His particularly popular Extravaganza events are the stuff of legend – Art Nouveau had played Extravaganza VI, held in Dunstable at the Queensway Hall, as recently as the June of ’81.

What we have for you now are some newspaper articles, scanned from Richard’s original cuttings from ’81. The first image is an advertisement for the event. The second is pre-event and contains a quote from Art Nouveau’s manager, Paul Ryan. The third is a review of the event.

These scans give a real insight into the music scene in the area at that time and KajaFax are incredibly happy to have them in our possession and to be able to share them with you now.

As usual, click on the images to open a large version in your browser to enable easier reading…

Innocent Vicars 1

Innocent Vicars 2

Innocent Vicars 3

To finish, it seems only right to bring you some Art Nouveau. Here is a favourite of mine – ‘Trend Setter’.

Thank you for visiting KajaFax, the premier Kajagoogoo site on the internet.

2014 KajaFax

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Diana Jennifer permalink
    March 16, 2014 9:57 am

    Many thanks for your hard work! We appreciate it so much!! 🙂

    • March 16, 2014 10:04 am

      Thanks Diana. This article (and indeed the new pages that will soon be being added to the site) have been good fun to research and really very interesting. Not just about Kajagoogoo but also interesting to get more of an insight into the local music scene in the LB area back in the late 70s and early 80s. 🙂

  2. Adam permalink
    March 16, 2014 10:06 am

    well found!!

  3. Denny permalink
    March 18, 2014 11:35 pm

    Great stuff. There’s so little in the way AN ephemera about.

    • March 19, 2014 7:55 am

      Very little, Denny. I have spoken to so many people about Art Nouveau, mainly people from other bands on the scene at that time, and it’s incredible what people don’t know! A few of the punk bands (for which there was quite a big scene at that time) were less than complimentary of course. There were tales of AN gigs being ‘stormed’ by punks and allsorts of nonsense. Anybody who was at a gig played at ‘Bossard Hall’ in 1981 may be able to tell the tale of that particular incident 🙂

      I reckon that Art Nouveau must have gigged many times, but only a small number are mentioned anywhere or retained in the memory of the people who were there. I guess that is being an ‘unsigned’ band though. Nobody thought to log anything just in case 30 years later…..

      What Richard gave me for this article was just brilliant 🙂

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