Saturday, May 22, 2010

Carl Teper: Did the Blitz Kid switch barrister's wig for mascara?

Is Carl Teper in this photo? I don't think so

I was disapppointed to see the philanthropist, barrister and sometime deputy district judge, Carl Teper, not depicted in the recent Boy George TV biopic Worried About the Boy. Or, if he was depicted, I couldn't pick him out in the Blitz nightclub shadows.

It only occurred to me after I'd reviewed it that Carl, whom I very unhappily encountered as a law student at the Middle Temple around 1980/1, was one of the so-called Blitz Kids - a curious and rather wealthy addition to the clubber clique that included Steve Strange (Gemini), Boy George (Gemini), Marilyn, Martin Degville, and others bound for i-D Magazine-plus celebrity.

Quite what drew him to this milieu I do not understand: for the most part, the Blitz Kids were working class, self-created androgynes seeking escape from stifling suburbia to pop/fashion infamy. Rich boy Carl in his sober suits, or the Carl presented to me at the time, was intent on a career at the Bar: politics interested him, too - certainly I recall him telling me that he'd joined both Tory and Labour constituency parties in two different parts of London, which I thought glamorously nonpartisan at the time. These days I'd call him a tart.

Looking back now, I assume he threw his barrister's wig off at night for the piratical shirt and dayglo cake eye liner and shimmer powder; ooh yeah, baby. Well, one is forced to speculate, playfully....

Nothing Carl ever said to me made much sense - he was inclined to the self-empoweringly cryptic when not doing the football pools or eating his din-dins at the MT - but I'm sure our judiciary (or at least the English Bar) is better for this intrepid social voyager who has many friends in showbiz (eg Boy George, Barbara Windsor), journalism (eg Matthew Parris, Adam Mars-Jones), and in several other areas of life. I wonder if he's still a Freemason.

Aged nearly 55 now - yes, another fucking Gemini - he may not want too much attention focusssed on his New Romantic period. But surely a fly-on-the-wall doc of his life - with the gaudy 80s flashbacks interspersing glimpses of his doubtless intriguing work as a parking adjudicator - would make fascinating TV.


Ian Shuttleworth said...

There's an Ulster punk single by Victim entitled "Strange Thing By Night" that, judging by your account, might as well have been written about him.

Madame Arcati said...

Then we have a theme tune for my proposed fly on the wall ...

Anonymous said...

You don't explain why meeting Mr Teper was very unhappy. Out with it!

Anonymous said...

There is an undercurrent of ill-feeling in this piece. Just reading through it again is like walking tentatively over a minefield.

Anonymous said...

Your friend Molly's daughter Sophie was a member of that scene, along with her chum Timna. At least it was fun!

Madame Arcati said...

Mmm, I bet Sophie never heard of Carl.

Anonymous said...

For the brief encounter many years ago, my gift to you

Ultravox - Hiroshima Mon Amour (As opening credits roll)
Siouxsie & the Banshees - Hong Kong Garden
David Bowie - Heroes
OMD - Electricity
Human League - Empire State Human
Kraftwerk - Das Model
Hazel O'Connor - Will You
Mary Wells - My Guy
David Bowie - Beauty And The Beast
Soft Cell - Memorabilia
Velvet Underground - Venus In Furs
Sex Pistols - Anarchy In The UK
Bow Wow Wow - Go Wild In The Country
Ultravox - Vienna
Adam & The Ants - Stand & Deliver
Steve Strange - Fade To Grey
Culture Club - White Boy
David Bowie - Always Crashing In The Same Car
Culture Club - Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?

former Blitz Kid now respectable citizen said...

There was also one very good reason for going to the Blitz. It was a great pick-up joint for boys who had not quite decided where their preferences lay but thought as they had slapped on some slap-they may give it go with another chap.
As an example there was one lad who declared he was definitely heterosexual but if a chap arrived with a rock'n'roll quiff he was yours for the night. A secret 3 of us jealously guarded (and as we later found it, influenced by his mother's obsession with Elvis Presley)
Well that's why I went there.

veritas said...

Your interesting piece and link to the Wikipedia entry on the Blitz discloses a glaring ommision. Why no entry for Phillip Sallon who without, none of that madness would have happened ?. Sallon has the fastest and wittiest tongue to ever emerge from Golder's Green and was the spark for Boy George, Strange and all the others. I hear lately he is slowly morphing into his mother complete with twin set and pearls.

Madame Arcati said...

Dear Former Blitz Kid, your recollection sounds about right. x

Madame Arcati said...

Dear Veritas, Sallon pops up on some lists, not others. Yet Carl is always on them. I wonder why. Was he Mr Moneybags or something?

veritas said...

Surely any involvement in the 'New Romantics' would be a plus to anyone's CV no matter what their position. At least it was a tiny age of fun and attempted glamour in a gloomy London scene.
I was watching the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 10 years ago when a ghastly drag queen in a garish outfit strode over and slapped me on the back with a "hello darls!". It was the barrister who had recently acted in a civil matter for me.

Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

I missed the Blitz by about three years due to being too young. That's Stephen Linard in the picture with George. Stephen's St Martins menswear show caused a huge stir at the time. He sent 'real men' down the catwalk - East End boxers with tatoos and stubble. He had his own label for a while. He was very good and I believe is having a resurgence. He went on to make clothes for George, Spandau, Pet Shop Boys etc. He used to host a night the Wag I used to go to called Total Fashion Victims which was quite hysterical xx

operababe said...

Are you so desperate for something to say that you pick on someone you met briefly 30 years ago!

Madame Arcati said...

But I say it sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo well, and in such detail. Plainly you have a personal interest in the matter.

Madame Arcati said...

Oh and 'briefly' is not quite the right adverb, dearie.

theundergroundrestaurant said...

Ah yes, thanks for reminding me, it's Stephen Linard. What happened to him then?
And Melissa Caplan?