‘Big, Banned & Beautiful!’ – a ‘Relax’ promo poster

Stephen Rumney: “I used to take photos at the Camden Palace in the mid 80s and I was there the night that Frankie did their first ever performance of ‘Relax’… I think it was the actual release party and as far as I remember I was the only photographer to have back stage and dressing room access. I have a lot more exclusive, never before published or seen photos of behind the scenes, the pics are pretty wild as they were all drinking champagne and very high spirited as you can imagine… I was right in the thick of it and clicking away madly… there was something in the air that night and you could really tell this was the start of something big…

The photo was not posed … I just caught them before they went on stage… or just after… I may have asked them for a group shot but it was not ‘staged’ as in ‘let’s do a photo shoot’… its why it has that edgy spontaneity… Holly already had the gun as he was carrying it around for his performance.

The story is that shortly after the gig I dropped a print off with the Island press office thinking they may like to use it for press… They had commissioned me to do a couple of photo shoots when I was still at college as they had seen my portfolio featured in ‘Blitz’ magazine so I dropped the Frankie photo off with them when I delivered prints for the other photo shoot they commissioned… a week or so later I saw my photo being used all round town on the giant street posters!!!”

artist: Frankie Goes To Hollywood title: Relax format: A3 promotional poster design: XLZTT photography: © Stephen Rumney 1983 cat. no: ZTAS1 date: 01/84 art of notes: The photo was taken 24th November ’83 by Steve Rumney backstage at a promo gig for the single at the Camden Palace in London. It appeared as two separate posters: a folded A3 version inserted randomly into copies of the ‘Relax’ 12″ single post-ban and as a huge A0 fly poster pasted around the UK whilst the single was at No.1 in the charts. The ‘girls’ in the photo were Ange and Juicy Lucy (the latter actually a man in drag), friends of the band who featured in the original video for ‘Relax’.

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