Paul Gorman is…

Found! The source of the Jerry Lee image in Let It Rock’s Killer Rocks On t-shirt

Jul 29th, 2015
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//Lobby card for High School Confidential!, 1958. This is from the opening scene, where Lewis sings the movie’s title track//

Let It Rock was digging in the ruins of past cultures that you cared about. It was giving them another brief moment in the sun. It wasn’t about doing anything new. It was an homage. It was nostalgia.
Malcolm McLaren to Momus, 2002

Forty three years after its creation I can reveal the source of the Jerry Lee Lewis image which appeared on the Let It Rock t-shirt design “The ‘Killer’ Rocks On!”.

It is from a lobby card for Alan Freed’s 1958 rocksploitation flick High Street Confidential!; an original was just one of the pieces of 50s ephemera adorning Let It Rock’s premises at 430 King’s Road in 1972.

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Subjective Reality: Steven Meisel’s film for Miu Miu A/W 15 tips a wink to Seditionaries

Jul 26th, 2015

I Groaned With Pain: Malcolm McLaren’s own t-shirts to feature in exhibition of status quo-disrupters

Jul 17th, 2015
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//The t-shirts show the deliberate production of variants within the limited edition designed and written by McLaren and printed on the simple square pattern produced by Vivienne Westwood in 1974. © Malcolm McLaren Estate//

Two of Malcolm McLaren’s t-shirts from the very first production run of I Groaned With Pain – the notorious text design produced with Vivienne Westwood in 1974 – will be featured in Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges, the exhibition I am co-curating with David Thorp at Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery this autumn.

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//T-shirt with central tear on light blue jersey with exterior seaming, labelled, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, 1974. 360mm x 375mm. © Malcolm McLaren Estate//

I Groaned With Pain is named after the first four words of the paragraph of text McLaren lifted from beat writer Alexander Trocchi’s erotic novel Helen And Desire (published in 1954 by Olympia Press under the pseudonym Francis Lengel).

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The story of the Sex shop leather hood: From harmless fetish attire (as sported by David Bowie?) to theatre of cruelty design totem

Jul 14th, 2015

Gorman_03.tifDavid Bowie in Sex Gimp Mask 1974 copy
//Left: Detail of photo of model posing in leather Sex hood, autumn 1974. Photo: © David Parkinson. Right: David Bowie in leather hood, summer 1974, Sherry Netherland Hotel, New York. Photo: Dana Gillespie//

My recent post about David Bowie’s visits in 1974 to 430 King’s Road when it was in its Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die incarnation prompted Facebook friend and DJ Graham “Sugarlump” Evans to alert me to Polaroid photographs of David Bowie trying out make-up, hair and styling options in preparation for his Diamond Dogs tour of the US that year.

David Bowie in Sex Gimp Mask 1974

// Polaroid taken by Dana Gillespie in New York in 1974//

In one, as Evans points out, Bowie posed in a leather hood of similar style to the model sold at 430 as it was transformed over a period of six months from TFTL to fetish emporium Sex.

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‘They had the t-shirt off his back': The 40th anniversary of the creation of the notorious Cowboys t-shirt + the obscenity debate it sparked in the pages of The Guardian

Jul 11th, 2015
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//Nicolas de Jongh’s front-page report, The Guardian, August 2, 1975//

No future098 copy

//Sex Original-labelled Cowboys t-shirt courtesy Hiroshi Fujiwara Collection//

This month – specifically July 26 – marks the 40th anniversary of the introduction for sale of Malcolm McLaren’s notorious Cowboys t-shirt in Sex, the revolutionary boutique he operated at 430 King’s Road with Vivienne Westwood.

The shirt’s status as the most provocative of all punk designs is enhanced by the fact that it made waves immediately: the same day the shirt went on sale, the first customer to wear it in public was arrested. Within 24 hours, the store itself was raided for indecency.

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David Bowie’s unwitting role in the transformation of 430 King’s Road from Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die to SEX

Jul 10th, 2015
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//David Bowie recording the Diamond Dogs LP at Olympic Studios, Barnes, south-west London, January 1974 during his residency in Chelsea’s Oakley Street. Photo © Kate Simon//

1. BLOW UP TFTLTYTD front

//Malcolm McLaren and Gerry Goldstein in front of the Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die facade, 430 King’s Road, London, summer 1973. © Malcolm McLaren Estate//

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//Malcolm McLaren in Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die designs, Chelsea, London, from New Musical Express, April 6, 1974 . Photo: © Pennie Smith//

It is a little known fact that David Bowie was an occasional visitor to 430 King’s Road when it was operating as Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die.

This manifestation of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s revolutionary boutique  – which paid design tribute to the fetishistic studded leather attire of Britain’s early 60s Ton Up Boys and rockers and sold the cult clothing associated with 40s mobsters and Latino zoot suit rioters – succeeded the 50s outlet Let It Rock in the early spring of 1973, as noted at the time by the fashion writer Catherine Tennant in British Vogue.

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//From British Vogue, April 1, 1973//

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Icteric’s influence on the Sex shop t-shirt You’re Gonna Wake Up One Morning And Know What Side Of The Bed You’ve Been Lying On!

Jun 18th, 2015
Icteric - note on cover

//Explanatory text panel which appeared on the inside cover of Icteric No. 2 with 2004 note, from King Mob: A Critical Hidden History//

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//Extract of text on 1974 t-shirt by Bernie Rhodes, Malcolm McLaren and Gerry Goldstein//

A few years ago I attempted a dissection of the intriguing elements of the culture-shock t-shirt You’re Gonna Wake Up One Morning And Know What Side Of The Bed You’ve Been Lying On!, produced by Bernie Rhodes, Malcolm McLaren and Gerry Goldstein for sale in Sex at 430 King’s Road in the autumn of 1974.

In You’re Gonna Wake Up, the declamatory tone, aggressive punctuation, satirical bite and use of basic typographical emphases such as the repeated forward slash and random capitalised text combined to detonate a densely packed cultural device.

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‘A booby trap in Pop Art': The tits tee featured in 1972 Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogue

Jun 2nd, 2015
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//Detail, Frederick’s catalogue. Photo: Johnny Deluxe//

Congratulations to our pal Johnny Deluxe for this fantastic spot; he happened upon this kitsch sketch of an original tits t-shirt while leafing through an early 70s Frederick’s Of Hollywood catalogue.

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//Catalogue page. Photo: Johnny Deluxe//

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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

‘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: http://gene.vincent.fanclub.voila.net; 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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