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Where Are They Now? Number 53 – Blancmange

December 29, 2011

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.


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  1. jimmytheweed33 permalink

    Think I caught Neil Arthur and Wally Weird in the Mechanics Arms in Barnoldswick in the early 90s. Wally belted out a superb version of “First picture of you” while Neil gargled with a pint of Ackroyds’ Old Panjandrum. Those were the days…

  2. Furious Styles permalink

    Wally’s career didn’t “take of in earnest” it took off as Ernest when he became the principal actor in the Ernest Bishop Re-enactment Society who, as we all know, have been performing the “Gunned down in Baldwins” scene for the last 20 years at Ripon’s Frazer Hines Theatre to packed houses of 11 confused Indonesian tourists every 3rd Wednesday of the lunar cycle.

  3. rod belfitt permalink

    There’s a mixing desk bootleg of their last gig at Colne WMC that goes for silly money on e-bay.- includes their 25-minute encore of Spandau’s “Paint Me Down” with Beggar and Co on horns and John Keeble guesting on bongos made out of two empty emulsion tins

    • hey gang think we might have a few more where are they nows up our sleeves here! whatever happened to howard jones’s mime artist pal?

  4. Stephen Duke lord Esq permalink

    Sad to report the demise of Wally Weird. After turning to emo Wally’s slow descent in madness was inevitable. The depressing sad lyrics and having Niel’s large Artex scared hand shoved up his behind every night pushed him over the edge.
    He committed suicide by diving in to a bucket of wood worm.
    Wally Weird. Sadly missed.

  5. blancmange permalink

    bloody brilliant! cheers from blancmange.

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