Where Are They Now? Number 53 – Blancmange
Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe formed Blancmange in 1979 at the height of the so-called ‘synth-pop’ craze scoring a top 10 hit with ‘Living On The Ceiling’ in 1982. After some more singles and LPs that failed to set the charts alight, the duo split in 1987.
Arthur moved back to his Lancashire home in Darwen and returned to the plastering firm that his father had started in the 1960s. The Arthurs were infact the biggest plastering contractors in the Blackburn and East Lancashire region employing an army of over 60 time served tradsemen and apprentices.
Neil Arthur was himself a fine plasterer and a moderniser who wanted the firm to move into the then fashionable trend for artexing ceilings (this was what had infact inspired th lyrics to their biggest hit). His traditionalist father, known locally as Big Len refused to move the company in this direction so Neil set up his own rival firm, Neil Arthur Artexing Ltd and went onto become very successful, eventually artexing the entire ceiling of The Cistine Chapel, Buckingham Palace and York Minster but disasterously invested in an Algarve time share complex that went bust in 1993.
Broke, Arthur turned to ventriloquism and began singing popular synth-pop tunes of the late 70s and early 80s by the likes of Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, Visage, Human League and ofcourse, Blancmange with his puppet, Wally Weird. Popular in the retro 80s bars of Colne and Nelson, Neil Arthur Of Blancmange and Wally Weird eventually went their seperate ways in 2002 as Wally’s career took off in earnest.
Depressed and lonely, Neil opened a specialist Swedish deli in Bacup that lasted five weeks before leaving the country for a spiritual quest to find inner peace in Canada and hasn’t been seen since.
Stephen Luscombe meanwhile still plays live gigs as Stephen Luscombe’s Real Blancmange and lives in Sydenham with his wife, Louise and three adopted children, Pele, Pelle and Polly.