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Richard Hambleton + Malcolm McLaren = Witches x The Shadow Man

May 27th, 2015
Malcolm McLaren posing on the streets of NYC. April 1983. © Bob Gruen / Please contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: phone: 212-691-0391

//Malcolm McLaren and Andrea Linz with a Hambleton Shadow Man in the West Village, NYC, April 1983. © Bob Gruen/ Please contact Bob Gruen’s studio to purchase a print or license this photo. Email: Phone: + 212-691-0391//

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//Witches Shadow Man skirt, 1983. Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood and Richard Hambleton. This image (c)

An under-acknowledged art world connection forged by Malcolm McLaren during his fashion design partnership with Vivienne Westwood was to the godfather of street art, conceptual artist Richard Hambleton.

During his forays in New York in the early 80s, McLaren was struck by Hambleton’s eerie representations of The Shadow Man figure; there was one on a wall in Bethune Street in the West Village, near the studio of McLaren’s photographer friend and ally Bob Gruen.

Malcolm McLaren on the streets of NYC. April 1983. © Bob Gruen / Please contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: phone: 212-691-0391

//McLaren, Linz and Shadow Man, April 1983. © Bob Gruen/
Please contact Bob Gruen’s studio to purchase a print or license this photo. Email: Phone: 212-691-0391//

“Like me, Malcolm loved The Shadow Man,” Gruen told me in 2013. “When Malcolm came for a session to promote Duck Rock in the spring of 1983 we dropped down to the street below and got some shots of him and his girlfriend Andrea (Linz) posing with it.”

Both McLaren and Linz were decked out in clothes from the Witches collection, which had been just been shown in Europe.


//Witches Shadow Man skirt, 1983. Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood and Richard Hambleton. This image (c)

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//Witches apron dress, 1983. Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood and Keith Haring. This image (c)

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//Detail of Haring graphic on Witches apron dress. This image (c)

And, in recognition of Hambleton’s importance, a jersey skirt with roll top and piping from Witches featured a Shadow Man, just as other Witches garments carried designs commissioned by McLaren and his art director Nick Egan from Keith Haring, who, of course, also contributed to the Duck Rock cover.


//Witches Shadow Man skirt detail. (c)


//East Village, NYC, 1982. Photo (c) Hank O’Neal//

The above photograph is from the archive of Hank O’Neal, whose special projects include cataloguing the Shadow Men as they appeared on the Manhattan streets in 1981-2. He and Hambleton have subsequently exhibited together.

Visit O’Neal’s website page dedicated to The Shadow Man here.

Richard Hambleton is represented by Woodward Gallery.

Visit Bob Gruen’s website here.

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LP artwork distilled, venue interiors re-appraised and video portraits of Ian Brown, Matt Johnson and Richard Strange at Peter Wilkins’ Lost In Music

May 20th, 2015
60s, Van Morrison - Astral Weeks, Peter Wilkins, 2015

//Astral Weeks – Van Morrison, Peter Wilkins, 2015//

Hammersmith Apollo, Peter Wilkins, 2015

//Hammersmith Apollo, Peter Wilkins, 2015//

In the 21st century, when digital downloads displaced compact discs as the format of consumer choice, music went naked into the world, unadorned by design or packaging. Yet this in turn gave rise to vigorous rear-guard action in the growing appreciation of what was fast disappearing. As if from the dead, vinyl made a comeback and the fan in Wilkins places him in a key position to cogitate this phenomenon.
From my text for the Lost In Music catalogue

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It’s a cracker: Jah Wobble x 4 in promo for new song Merry Go Round

May 20th, 2015

//Jah Wobble as a female newsreader in the promo for Merry Go Round//

Love the clip from Jah Wobble for his cracking new song Merry Go Round.

wob1 wob3wob7

Wobble adopts various talking head personae – I particularly like Ronnie Anger of Wigchester FC – to deliver the song’s message of society teetering on the edge of a new dark age, complete with Situationist-style running news slogans and quotations from his hero William Blake.

wob5 wob4

Merry Go Round appears on the new 6-CD box set Redux which is out next week.

Pre-order Redux here.

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AJ article on 430 caps a busy week packed with DIY Cultures, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Apartamento et al

May 15th, 2015

//Spread from AJ featuring images of Mr Freedom + Paradise Garage. Photo: Caz Facey//

It’s been a busy and satisfying week, rounded off by publication today in the Architects Journal of an essay of mine on the cultural significance of 430 King’s Road .


//Opening spread: Photo: Caz Facey//


//McLaren + Westwood at Let It Rock, Ben Kelly outside Sex and Seditionaries exterior. Photo: Caz Facey//

Commissioned by AJ editor Rory Olcayto, the piece was a pleasure to write and is enhanced by a spot-on layout with great usage of photos by David Parkinson and Ben Kelly.


//Speaking at DIY Cultures, Glasgow Film Theatre, earlier this week. Photo: Catherine Flood//

The same subject inevitably popped up on Tuesday in my keynote talk about Malcolm McLaren’s celebration of the amateur at the Glasgow School Of Art DIY Cultures symposium, which was organised by GSA cross school course leader and ceramicist Katy West.


//At the Architectural Association last night: In the gloaming you can make out Du Pasquier + Sosa Bartolome on the left. The slide is Du Pasquier in front a wall of one of her prints for Memphis, 1983//

And last night’s in-conversation with the artist and designer Nathalie Du Pasquier – conducted by Apartamento editor Omar Sosa Bartolome at the Architectural Association – was a delight, by turn entertaining and illuminating, confirming Du Pasquier’s associations with Memphis as just one aspect of a fascinating practice.


Can’t wait to get my hands on Don’t Take These Drawings Seriously, the book of Du Pasquier’s drawings they have produced together.


//Opening spread of Jim Walrod’s interview with Gene Krell. Photography: Jeffrey Liebman//

It was great to meet Omar, with whom I have been in contact recently. I helped out in a small way with the realisation of Jim Walrod’s interview with fashion legend Gene Krell in the new issue of Apartamento, which I recommend highly.


//New issue of Apartamento//

Keep up to speed with Architects Journal here.

Apartamento is stocked by all good book and magazine sellers and also available here.

Find out more about Nathalie Du Pasquier here and buy Don’t Take These Drawings Seriously here.

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Ms. Caroline Coon: Radical person recalls Pauline Boty’s My Colouring Book and the first time she heard Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett – at Derek Boshier’s Ladbroke Grove studio

May 14th, 2015
caroline coon

//From Radical People, Vol 1, No 2//

Great to see heroine Caroline Coon among the subjects/contributors to the second issue of Radical People, Reba Maybury’s celebration of quinquagenarian-plus non-conformists.

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‘A profound influence': Ian Lynam on Barney Bubbles’ impact on graphic design

May 14th, 2015

C’est C Bon: Nick Knight’s fond memories of Barney Bubbles

May 7th, 2015

//The wacky picture is a photo-booth shot of Bubbles on the Stiff Records’ summer day-out in 1977. Courtesy Caramel Crunch//

Photographer Nick Knight has posted a fond tribute to Barney Bubbles.

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//Back and front cover, C’Est C Bon, Carlene Carter, F-Beat/Epic, 1983//

Among the contributions Knight made to designs by the late graphics maestro was one of Bubbles’ last, for Carlene Carter’s 1983 LP C’est C Bon.


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Hipshaking vinyl – Early Pakistani Dance Music: 1967-1975

May 5th, 2015

//Clockwise from top left: Poster for album launch party at Hamburg club Golem in March; A-side label; postcard; album cover//

One of the most joyous releases of the year so far is the compilation Early Pakistani Dance Music from Germany’s Ovular. I found out about it via Instagram friend and DJ Martin “Soul Stew” Geise.

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I’m featured in the Almost Famous slot on Rock’s Back Pages

May 1st, 2015

‘This country is run by a group of Fascists': When Malcolm McLaren met Sweet Gene Vincent backstage at The Marquee

Apr 27th, 2015

GV53_1Small copy Let It Rock - Gene Vincent AnAn copyb+b-ygwu3 copy

//Clockwise from top left: Gene Vincent with one of The Houseshakers, Magnet Club, Chelmsford, UK, February 1971. Photo:; Let It Rock assistant in Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps top, Wembley Stadium, August 5, 1972. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita; Vincent’s quote as featured on the Sex t-shirt You’re Gonna Wake Up, 1974//

‘Gene Vincent for me was the embodiment of rock’n’roll’

Malcolm McLaren 1997

On September 22 1971, Gene Vincent was a mid-week booking to play a “rock revival” night at central London club The Marquee.

Times were tough; at just 36, the soft-spoken American rocker was apparently way past his heyday and beset by severe health problems brought on by the combination of alcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs taken to dull the constant pain in his left leg. This was the result of a crippling motorbike accident in his youth and the lingering effects of having been in the 1960 car-crash which killed Eddie Cochran.

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