Paul Gorman is…

Was it The Fool or Alexander Trocchi? The mystery of Warhol Waking at Kensington Town Hall in May 1971

Apr 22nd, 2017

//Front of folded flyer, 6.5 x 8″//

Graphic artist, musician, fashion and interiors designer and all-round all-rounder Ian Harris has granted me access to more items from his amazing archive; this is in the intriguing category –  a flyer for a most unusual art project he visited in the early 1970s.

Warhol Waking was staged over one day in the foyer of Kensington Town Hall in west London in the spring of 1971. This tumultuous period of creative experimentation in public and private spaces was described as either “the immense variety and talent of the London arts scene or its condition of cultural confusion” by artist and art historian John A. Walker.

The installation/intervention proved challenging for visitors: it comprised a typical domestic bed with sheets and blanket drawn back to reveal excrement juxtaposed with a towering orchid which drooped as the day passed and flies gathered.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t Knock The Rock: John E. Reed’s eternal image of exuberant Little Richard

Apr 20th, 2017

//London Records promotional image, 1958//

In 1956 the Hollywood photographer John E. Reed took a series of promotional shots of the stars of DJ Alan Freed’s rocksploitation flick Don’t Knock The Rock.

//Above: Reed’s images from the same shoot in Los Angeles, 1956//

Among them was Little Richard striking the outstretched pose which lives on in reproductions of the late Malcolm McLaren’s 1972 t-shirt design known as Vive le Rock!, from the title he appropriated from a Belgian movie poster and positioned above the image.

//Malcolm McLaren in front of rock & roll movie posters display in Let It Rock, 430 King’s Road, Chelsea, London, January 1972. From photo by David Parkinson//

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Audacious early 70s Hipgnosis fashion shoots for Club International

Apr 18th, 2017


When innovatory British men’s magazine Club International was launched in 1972, editor Tony Power and art director Steve Ridgeway assembled a diverse pool of contributors, including jazzer, art critic and cultural commentator George Melly, the Stately Homo Quentin Crisp, Rocky Horror Show founder Richard O’Brien, former White Panther Mick Farren, photographers David Parkinson, Mick Rock and Karl Stoecker, illustrators Bush Hollyhead and Brian Grimwood and the design studio Hipgnosis.

//Casual trousers £9.50 from Mr Freedom; satin waistcoat £12 from Chris at Hidegrade; Bobbysoxer Boots £12.75 by Daisy Roots from Way In. From Club International Vol 1 No 3, 1972//

//Prince of Wales Oxford bags £4.95 from Take 6; Hollywood Funsters £12.25 by Daisy Roots from Way In. From Club International Vol 1 No 3, 1972//

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“We’re gonna be different. Why should we dress like everyone else?” Teddy Boys and Girls in Southend’s Long Bar, 1972

Mar 24th, 2017

The priceless footage of Teddy Boys & Girls dancing and talking about their cult lifestyle in the early 70s at the bottom of this post comes from the East Anglian Film Archive, which provides access to 200 hours of moving images relating to the part of the UK 100-or-so miles east of London.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

Before We Were Men: With David Gwinnutt, Ian Massey and John Maybury at National Portrait Gallery tonight

Mar 23rd, 2017

Tonight I will join academic and arts writer Dr Ian Massey and filmmaker John Maybury in conversation with photographer David Gwinnutt for an event to coincide with his exhibition Before We Were Men at the National Portrait Gallery.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

When Chuck Berry and Little Richard played Knees Up Mother Brown on David Letterman in London

Mar 19th, 2017

//Chuck Berry with Paul Shaffer, Thames TV Studios, Lower Ground, Waterloo, London, May 16, 1995//

I saw Chuck Berry play live twice, and have written previously about the first time when, supported by David Bowie-endorsed revivalist rockers Fumble, he performed a truncated set at the Rainbow theatre in north London’s Finsbury Park in September 1973.

The second time was frankly bizarre. He and Little Richard sat in with Paul Shaffer and his band during a live broadcast of The David Letterman Show from the UK capital in 1995.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Happy Birthday British rock and R&B, born 55 years ago tonight at the Ealing Club when Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Eric Burdon gathered around Alexis Korner

Mar 17th, 2017

//Top: Entrance to Ealing Club stairwell with jeweller’s to its right, early 1960s. Photo: ealingclub.com. Above: The entrance as it is today//

“Suburbia is the breeding ground for the richest and most innovative cultural production of the 20th and 21st centuries” Rupa Huq, writer and MP for Ealing Central & Acton, 2013

An advert in the New Musical Express for a “Rhythm & Blues Night” staged 55 years ago today – on St Patrick’s Night, March 17, 1962 – sparked the British musical revolution which soundtracked youth culture in the West for decades.

The ad proved a lure for suburban London teenage r&b fans including Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, while Eric Burdon, soon to be vocalist with The Animals, hitchhiked the 300 miles from Newcastle to join them in witnessing the main performance by Blues Incorporated (in fact he and Jagger traded verses on stage during a rendition of Billy Boy Arnold’s I Ain’t Got You).

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sartorial Style on Saturday: Talking about The Face, in conversation with Mark Powell, Samurai rogues + merchant dandies, Adam Murray on North, Roy Strong’s wardrobe and real men DO wear pink!

Mar 15th, 2017

//I’ll be in conversation with Soho tailor Mark Powell at 2pm. Photo: Mark Powell//

//And talking about The Face from 3pm. This issue: Clinton McKenzie by Jamie Morgan/Ray Petri (Buffalo), June 1985 //

Sartorial Style is on this Saturday at the V&A and looks to be a humdinger.

The day of talks, q&as and presentations considers centuries of male style and elegance and also explores contemporary men’s fashion, bringing together curators, academics, photographers, writers and designers.

Sartorial Style kicks off with Real Men DO Wear Pink!, an investigation into masculine style up until 1800 by Susan North, the V&A’s curator of 17th & 18th Century fashion.

//Sir Roy Strong at the V&A, May 20, 1987. Photo: Peter Dazeley/Getty//

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Look sharp! In conversation with Mark Powell at Sartorial Style at the V&A, 2pm, Saturday, March 18

Mar 5th, 2017

Later this month I will be in conversation with British menswear legend Mark Powell at the V&A’s Sartorial Style day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

What’s it going to be then, eh? An ‘unforgettable evening of typewriters, music, rough cider and poison-pen letters’

Feb 24th, 2017

//Anthony Burgess, Chiswick, west London, 1968, with the border collie Haji, “crafty, disobedient, and ignorant of the sexual life, except in perverted forms peculiar to himself […] He had no loyalty, leaving that commodity to us”. Photo: IABF//

Tomorrow is Anthony Burgess’s centenary; would that I could, I’d be in Manchester, specifically at the Engine House, Chorlton Mill, 3 Cambridge Street, home to the International Anthony Burgess Foundation for its celebration of the great fellow with an “unforgettable evening of typewriters, music, rough cider and poison-pen letters”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,