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Gillian Thomas describes a very private Fame party
(March magazine 1983)
On December 31st a very special private party was held in the banqueting suite of the Kensington Close Hotel in London for everyone on the Fame tour, and that's where Debbie, Gene, Erica, Carlo, Lee and Lori saw in the New Year!
But the Fame stars had something more to celebrate than just bidding farewell to 1982 and welcoming in 1983. It had just been announced that their LP, “The Kids From Fame”, had sold one million copies in this country, so BBC records, RCA and the publishers, April Music, decided that it would be a good night to throw a joint party for most, if not all of the people who sang on the record – Valerie and P.R. Paul couldn't be there, of course.
The hotel where the party was being held was just a short walk away from the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington High Street, where the Fame troupe were staying, so after their evening performance at the Royal Albert Hall was over, everyone went back to their hotel to freshen up and change, ready for the festivities. Over three hundred people had been invited to the party. A lot of them came from the record business and show-biz world, but just about a third of the guests were closely connected with the Fame tour – the backstage staff, the technicians, the musicians, the dancers . . . . . . They tried to make sure nobody who had worked hard with Gene, Lee, Carlo, Debbie, Erica and Lori got left out.
The first guests started to arrive around ten o'clock. The evening was quite warm for the time of year, which was a stroke of luck for the Fame followers gathered in front of the hotel, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite people. Several uniformed doormen waited at the entrance to check tickets and usher in the invited guests. Security had to be tight as space inside the banqueting hall was limited and quite a few famous people were expected to turn up, so gatecrashers were certainly not going to be let in.
As people arrived, they left their coats in the cloakroom, then drifted over to the bar, from where they had a good view of the entrance. A deejay was busy setting up a disco, and the atmosphere was excited and happy as everyone waited to congratulate the Fame stars when they arrived. And there were plenty of famous personalities to chat to while they were waiting. The Jets pop group arrived, sporting caps and braces. Then came Culture Club, wearing spectacular wide brimmed hats. By now the night air outside the hotel was punctured with explosions of light as flash-guns went off left, right and centre!
There were oohs and aahs from the onlookers as Dollar and Brotherhood of Man rolled up. By now, it was past eleven and everyone knew the Fame Kids couldn't be much longer. Heads turned as the first of them arrived – Lori Singer, her hair newly washed and shining, very smartly dressed in a white blouse and black trousers.
The others soon followed. Erica looked extremely pretty in a blue, tie-dyed Indian dress. Lee was comfortably dressed in an open-necked shirt and trousers, and Carlo looked quite outrageously casual in a shirt and baggy beige trousers, teamed with a floppy green hat. By complete contrast, Debbie was looking very elegant in a long, black, back-less dress with a flowing lacy shawl worn over it.
However, it was Gene who won the prize for the most outstanding outfit of the evening, for he appeared in a snazzy cowboy suit topped with a real cowboy hat, which he wore at a jaunty angle throughout the party!
By now the disco was in full, noisy swing and flashing lights shone on the happy crowd clustered around the bar, or seated at tables around the dance-floor. The dee-jay played lots of Fame records and quite a few couples took to the dance floor – some a little nervously, obviously wondering how they looked by comparison to the famous dancers around them!
If anyone had wondered whether Lori, Erica and Co. danced as well off the stage as on, the answer is a resounding yes! You'd think they would have been too tired for enjoyment after the two exhausting shows they had given that day, never mind the others they'd done since arriving, but most of them seemed only too keen to dance the night away. Erica hardly left the floor and her lovely dress rippled as she leapt rhythmically around. The team of dancers who accompanied them in the shows hardly ever seemed to sit out a dance. Debbie and Carlo looked an incongruous couple as they took to the floor in their ill-matching outfits! Carlo had been suffering from a sore foot but it didn't seem to be bothering him how.
Only Gene sat out, perhaps because he was suffering pangs from a torn muscle, which almost caused him to cancel his appearance in the following day's shows. Lee, too, seemed to prefer to chat, and circulated amongst the guests, looking very relaxed and cheerful.
Soon the chimes of Big Ben striking midnight could be heard booming from the loudspeakers. All the guests formed circles and linked arms. “Auld Lang Syne” was struck up amidst cheers and kisses, and showers of balloons floated down from the ceiling. As people were getting their breath back and recovering from that emotional outburst, it was announced that a buffet meal was ready in the bar. By now they'd all worked up a good appetite and queues formed to sample chicken legs, vol au vents, sausages, scampi and quiches. Anyone who had any room left was then encouraged to follow their first course down with Black Forest gateau and fruit salad.
Although the party lasted until the wee small hours, by one o'clock the Kids from Fame had to call it a day. They had an early start ahead of them, with appearances next morning on BBC 1’s “Saturday Superstore” show, and then they had to travel to Birmingham for two concerts there, so they desperately needed top catch some sleep. But, although they were a long way from home, they all admitted that they'd had a wonderful time at the party and seen in 1983 – which we all hope will be as brilliantly successful for them as 1982 was – well and truly in!
This interview was provided to me by Elaine.
The article above is from the Official Fame Magazines from 1983. The OFFICIAL FAME MAGAZINE was published by Beat Publications Ltd. and the interviews are copyright MGM/UA Entertainment Co.