Paul Gorman is…

‘A complete environment’: Patrick Casey and Malcolm McLaren’s installation at Let It Rock in Ben Kelly’s 111 Inspirational Interiors exhibition

Apr 13th, 2016
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//Interior, 430 King’s Road, west London, designed by Patrick Casey and Malcolm McLaren for the retail outlet Let It Rock and photographed by David Parkinson in January 1972. No reproduction without permission//

I have elected the above image for inclusion in the exhibition 111 Inspirational Interiors, which opens tomorrow in the Windows Gallery 1 at Central Saint Martins in Kings Cross, north London.

The show is curated by designer Ben Kelly in his role as chair of interior and spatial design at University of the Arts London as part of his project Popular Culture And The Interior; the 1972 David Parkinson photograph stems from my participation in Kelly’s ICA symposium last year, Dead Or Alive – Interior Design.

For the exhibition, Kelly invited 111 people to contribute “an image of an interior that has been important and influential in their creative and intellectual development”. The image I chose was taken on the completion of the refurbishment of the ground floor of 430 King’s Road  from the premises of boutique Paradise Garage into Teddy Boy culture emporium Let It Rock in late 1971 by the late Malcolm McLaren and his fellow former Harrow Art School student Patrick Casey.

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Exclusive: Gay orgy Pleasure Chest t-shirt Malcolm McLaren détourned into shocking Joe Orton/Warriors/punk design classic

Apr 11th, 2016
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//T-shirt purchased by Malcolm McLaren at The Pleasure Chest, Los Angeles in January 1978. Private collection/Malcolm McLaren Estate. Photo: Paul Gorman Archive. No reproduction without permission//

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//Prick Up Your Ears, t-shirt design, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood for Seditionaries, 1979. Courtesy: Hiroshi Fujiwara Collection//

The trickster’s function is to add disorder to order, and so make a whole; within the fixed bounds of what’s permitted, an experience of what is not permitted.

Karl Kerenyi quoted in Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography Of Joe Orton, John Lahr, 1978

In January 1978, after the break-up of the Sex Pistols in San Francisco on the last date of the group’s ill-fated US tour, their manager Malcolm McLaren shifted base to Los Angeles for a few weeks to work out his next move.

Discussing options with record companies and holding meetings with movie companies to drum up business for biopic The Great Rock N Roll Swindle, the late McLaren had a ball, staying at the legendary rock’n’roll hang-out The Tropicana Motel on Santa Monica Boulevard, hard by Duke’s Coffee Shop and a few blocks west of the sex shop The Pleasure Chest.

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Heritage Boot: On Austin’s SoCo, ‘the best handmade cowboy boots you can buy right now’ with a delightful flavour of the King’s Road heyday

Apr 6th, 2016

Inside the mind of a fashion pioneer: Freddie Hornik and his pop culture treasure trove scrapbook in new issue of GQ Style

Mar 24th, 2016
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//”Old clothes are a short cut to style”, Freddie Hornik quoted by Drusila Beyfus and photographed by John Patrick for Finding Your Style: Male, published in The Daily Telegraph Magazine, June 13, 1969//

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The new issue of British GQ Style features an essay by me about the late Freddie Hornik, the man responsible for exporting Britain’s dandy peacock look around the world in the 70s.

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Fabulousness: Rarely-seen footage of Kansai Yamamoto’s game-changing 1971 King’s Road catwalk show

Mar 19th, 2016

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“It was a spectacular coup de théâtre – Kansai’s models came on moving. They leapt, ran, whirled like dervishes, danced, flung out their arms so that the brilliant colours meshed and merged into a kaleidoscopic cartoon of colour. Kansai himself, black-clothed and masked, moved across the stage like a Samurai warrior, tearing off layers and layers of clothes, stripping down the beautiful, pyramidal outer garments, right down to the vests and body paint. Kansai’s clothes épatent les couturiers.”

Harpers & Queen, July 1971

As fuzzy as they are, the two precious video clips at the end of this post convey the game-changing nature of  Kansai Yamamoto’s theatrical introduction of avant-garde Japanese fashion design to these shores at the dawn of the 70s.

They also reveal the extent to which the late David Bowie subsequently drew on Yamamoto’s flamboyance and daring when presenting Ziggy Stardust on stage.

Several of the designs were worn by Bowie in performance during live promotion, in particular of the Aladdin Sane album, and he also adopted the sleight-of-hand layered costume reveals, the emphatic postures of the models and even the flame-red hair colouring as seen on the huge wig worn in the first excerpt below.

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Chris Spedding: Unsung hero of Seventies style from Alkasura + Granny Takes A Trip to Let It Rock, Sex + Seditionaries

Mar 13th, 2016
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//In Let It Rock Rock ‘N Roll Lives Chuck Berry T-shirt, 1975. Photo: Ian Dickson/Getty Images//

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//Also 1975 – pink pegs from Sex. Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images//

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//At home in London, 1978. Photo: Fin Costello/Getty Images//

Guitarist Chris Spedding at a Nico show at CBGB, February 1979.

//At a Nico show at CBGB, February 1979. Photo: Ebet Roberts/Getty Images//

Guitarist Chris Spedding is one of the unsung heroes of Seventies style.

I’ve been a fan of his music and look since 1974, when I acquired Jab It In Yore Eye. This was the second album by Sharks, formed by Spedding with other survivors of the early 70s music scene after leaving jazz-rock outfit Nucleus and gigging with Jack Bruce.

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Published for the first time in 46 years: Inside legendary King’s Road boutique Alkasura

Feb 18th, 2016

Indefatigable Ian Harris + The Earth: Pop culture maverick’s 60s rock roots come to light

Jan 10th, 2016

Cult: David Parkinson’s street style photos in Men Only August 1971

Dec 15th, 2015
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//Dinah Adams and friend, Eastbourne, Sussex, summer 1971. Photo: David Parkinson. No reproduction without permission//

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//From Men Only, Vol 36, No 8, 1971//

Thanks to artist Paul Kindersley for alerting me to the fact that images from an audacious photo-shoot by the late photographer David Parkinson were featured in an early 70s issue of Paul Raymond’s adult magazine Men Only.

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The Third Earl Of Harrow: Screaming Lord Sutch at Let It Rock

Dec 10th, 2015