Paul Gorman is…

Another exclusive! Sneak peek inside Malcolm McLaren’s 1975/6 notebook at Be Reasonable Demand The Impossible

Nov 5th, 2015

//Front cover of Malcolm McLaren’s 1975/6 notebook. © Paul Burgess. No reproduction without permission//

Among the exciting exclusives at tomorrow’s event Be Reasonable Demand The Impossible will be a presentation providing a fascinating look inside Malcolm McLaren’s 1975/6 notebook, kept at the time when the Sex Pistols were starting out and he was running the boutique Sex at 430 King’s Road with partner Vivienne Westwood.

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Be Reasonable Demand The Impossible badges by Central Saint Martins

Nov 5th, 2015

My talk on 430 King’s Road at the ICA’s interiors symposium is online now

Oct 19th, 2015

When The Runaways guitarist Lita Ford raffled her McLaren/Westwood I Groaned With Pain t-shirt

Oct 5th, 2015

//From Poster, 1977. Note Ford signed the front of the shirt//

I am indebted to IG pal and fan of this blog Kjell Magnusson for this 1977 magazine photo of The Runaways’ guitarist Lita Ford presenting her I Groaned With Pain t-shirt for a raffle in Swedish teen title Poster.


//The Runaways on the cover of Poster No 8, 1977//


//The panel offering the raffle prizes for Poster readers//

In the light of the revelations about the abusive nature of the group’s relationship with the late, unwholesome manager Kim Fowley, Ford’s choice of item for the Poster magazine raffle was less seamy than those made for vocalist Cherie Currie and bass-player Jackie Fox, whose knickers were donated (guitarist Joan Jett sensibly chose a bracelet and drummer Sandy West a miniature drumstick).

Mclaren 'I groaned...'

//T-shirt with central tear on mint jersey with exterior seaming, unlabelled, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, 1974. 380mm x 365mm. © Malcolm McLaren Estate. Photo: Adrian Hunt//


//I Groaned With Pain t-shirt on pink with twin ball-and-chain chest zip inserts. © Malcolm McLaren Estate//

The I Groaned shirt is one of the series with zips designed by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood and sold through their outlet Sex at 430 King’s Road between 1974 and 1976. The shirt was favoured by female performers of the period, including Viv Albertine, Little Nell Campbell and Chrissie Hynde.

There are two variants of the design in the current exhibition Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges at Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery. One is a very early deliberately ripped example produced in mid-1974 when 430 King’s Road was between names (the decision had been taken to abandon the previous title Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die).

This is why it doesn’t have a label. McLaren had yet to design the distinctive “SEX Original’ woven blue-on-pink tag, which was manufactured under his instructions by a supplier in Portugal.

The other shirt is the same type as Ford’s and does have a label.

I wrote about the genesis and realisation of I Groaned With Pain here.

Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges: Joining The Dots From The Situationist International To Malcolm McLaren is at John Hansard Gallery until November 14. Find out more here.

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Modernize your old culture! Be up to date! Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges installation well underway

Sep 23rd, 2015



Intended for the public. Easy reading

Collectors and museums,
be modern
If you have old paintings,
do not despair.
Keep your memories
But detourne them
So they correspond to your time
Why reject the old [paintings]
If one can modernize them?
With a few brushstrokes
Modernize your old culture
Be up to date
and distinguished at the same time
Painting is over
Better give it the final blow
Long live painting

Asger Jorn, exhibition catalogue, Galerie Rive Gauche, Paris, May 1959. Translation: Young Kim.

Among the pertinent exhibits of our forthcoming show Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges is the statement disavowing traditional approaches to artistic creation made by the Danish artist and writer Asger Jorn in the late 50s.

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Installing our exhibition Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges: Joining the dots from the Situationist International to Malcolm McLaren

Sep 21st, 2015

IMG_8385IMG_8429 IMG_8418

Today David Thorp and I worked with the team at John Hansard Gallery on the first day of the installation of our forthcoming exhibition Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges: Joining the dots from the Situationist International to Malcolm McLaren.

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Eddie, Elvis + Gene: Let It Rock’s glitter-printed tailored and customised t-shirts based on James Dean’s in Rebel Without A Cause

Sep 18th, 2015

//Model wears studded and accessorised Let It Rock ‘Gene’ glitter print shirt, Musik Express, November 1972. Photo: Unknown//

Thanks to Mr Mondo for turning me onto Glam Idols, a goldmine of early 70s music and fashion images.

Lovingly presented and well credited, many of the photographs on the feed derive from continental European publications, like the 1972 shot above of a German model in a glitter t-shirt from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s 50s outlet Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road.

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27 acknowledgements: Vivienne Westwood, Ian Kelly + Picador’s defence collapses as they accept The Look as a primary source for the designer’s 2014 biography

Aug 31st, 2015


There has been a breakthrough in my challenge to Dame Vivienne Westwood, her co-author Ian Kelly and publisher Picador over their lifting of substantial amounts of material from my book The Look: Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion for the designer’s 2014 “authorised biography”.

The paperback edition of Vivienne Westwood published last week contains a whopping 27 acknowledgements citing me and The Look.

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Rock, Rock, Rock! Roots of Let It Rock’s Chuck Berry t-shirt in 50s movie ephemera

Aug 24th, 2015
Movie poster advertises the Italian release of Alan Freed's musical 'Rock, Rock, Rock', starring Chuck Berry, 1956. (Photo by John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images)

//Poster for Italian release of Alan Freed’s 1956 musical Rock, Rock, Rock!. Photo: John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images//


//Left: Chuck Berry image isolated and bleached out. Right: As it appeared on the t-shirt, worn in this 1973 photograph of singer/songwriter Simon Fisher Turner. Photographer: Unknown//

When they were setting up Let It Rock in 1971, Malcolm McLaren and his original partner in the boutique at 430 King’s Road – Patrick Casey – acquired a cache of posters, showcards and ephemera for 50s rocksploitation movies, including many Continental-language variants.

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From Vive la Commune! in 1881 to Vive le Rock! in 1972: How a Chinese Communist Party pamphlet inspired one of the great Malcolm McLaren designs

Aug 20th, 2015


//From top left: Chinese Communist Party pamphlet, 1971; McLaren in Let It Rock 1972; Proclamation by Engels and Marx, 1881; Title lettering, Belgian film poster, 1958; Little Richard compilation, 1972; Repro of McLaren’s 1972 t-shirt collage//

A year or so ago I established the source material for one of the first designs generated by Malcolm McLaren in the fashion partnership he conducted with Vivienne Westwood in the 70s and early 80s.

Now I can reveal the inspiration: text contained in an unprepossessing Communist booklet celebrating the short-lived “Paris Commune” government of 19th Century revolutionary France.

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