Paul Gorman is…

Punk in London: Exciting new project coming in the New Year

Nov 11th, 2015


These are just some of the research materials I have been sifting through for the last few weeks for a project with a fabulous partner coming in the New Year.

We’re doing all we can to apply a fresh and vital approach to the much worked-over turf of Punk in London in the mid-70s.

Watch this space.

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

Jul 29th, 2015
tkro-hsc promo still c580

//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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Studio Prints: At A Printmaker’s Workshop in Kentish Town 1970

Jul 14th, 2015

//Dorothea Wight picking up groceries in Queens Crescent Market…//


//…before heading into Studio Prints//

The 1970 BBC documentary At A Printmaker’s Workshop focuses on Dorothea Wight’s fabled Studio Prints in Queens Crescent, Kentish Town.

It is also a marvellous snapshot of London on the cusp of change as inner city areas became invigorated by the arrival of interesting new businesses (with none of today’s dread “regeneration” and its companion property-speak of “creative quartiers” and such).

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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

//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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The Spice Girls: My part in their rise and my non-appearance in the Wannabe video

Jun 24th, 2015


Just when boys with guitars threaten to rule pop life – Damon’s all over Smash Hits, Ash are big in Big! and Liam can’t move for tabloid frenzy – an all-girl, in-your-face pop group have arrived with enough sass to burst their rockist bubble.

From Music Week, April 1996

I see that next week marks the 19th anniversary of the release of Wannabe. Coincidentally I came across this cutting while ferreting around my magazine archive: the first published interview with the Spice Girls, when they launched the promotional campaign for the single and I was a contributing editor at industry publication Music Week.

I remember quite a lot about my encounter with the five of them at Virgin Records hq in Ladbroke Grove, not least that they afforded opportunities for digs at the full-of-itself British rock cabal which had grown out of the damp squib which was Britpop.


//It wasn’t me. From Wannabe//

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Funky but chic: Roxy in Kensington Church Street + the Ken Todd connection

Feb 19th, 2015
Roxy - exterior

//Roxy, 25 Kensington Church Street, 1972. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita//

Roxy - Shelley Martin

//Inside Roxy, 1972: Shelley Martin in a flamenco dress designed by Dinah Adams. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita//


//Some of the Roxy crowd photographed around the corner from the shop (from left): The late Granny’s co-owner Marty Breslau, whose ensemble includes a Wonder Workshop top; unknown; Shelley Martin; John Knight. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita//

I’ve been aware of the existence of the Kensington boutique Roxy for some time, particularly since the store name was used as the title of the feature on London street fashion in a 1972 edition of Japanese magazine An An.

But my curiosity was pricked recently while browsing that same issue of An An which appears in Freddie Hornik’s scrapbook (see last post).

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Tender + tough: Jean-Francois Carly’s Surrender After portraits

Feb 12th, 2015
Rebecca copy

//Rebecca. Photo: Jean-Francois Carly//

Ale copy

//Ale. Photo: Jean-Francois Carly//

Surrender After is the title of photographer/director Jean-Francois Carly’s show of nudes opening at Forge & Co in east London next week.

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George Cox: The origins of the Diano brothel creeper + samples ordered by Malcolm McLaren in 1973

Jan 20th, 2015
Malcolm McLaren 1972 (c) David Parkinson

//Malcolm McLaren in a previously unpublished shot wearing original 50s George Cox Bingley D-ring brothel creepers to match his detail-perfect Teddy Boy garb. Photo taken inside Let It Rock, 430 King’s Road, January 1972. (c) David Parkinson//

Saint Laurent side buckle patent creeper copy 3976 buckle diano copy

//Left, Saint Laurent point-toed patent brothel creepers, A/W 2014. Right: George Cox Buckle Diano made to the 1950s last//

Last season’s foregrounding by Saint Laurent of the pointed brothel creeper is just one of a run of examples of fashion brands plugging into the purity of this quintessentially British rock & roll style minted in 1949 by the UK independent footwear company George Cox.

Among the first stylistic innovators to take the design out of Teddy Boy revivalism and apply it to contemporary fashion was Malcolm McLaren, who had been selling creepers for a couple of years at Let It Rock, the boutique he operated with Vivienne Westwood, by the time he visited the Cox factory in Northampton in November 1973. Here he ordered samples for six styles, some of which went into production for sale at 430 King’s Road.

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Of ties and men: The neckwear connection between Bryan Ferry, Malcolm McLaren and David Parkinson

Jan 17th, 2015

DP-MMCIcarfin LetItROcktie-BF

//Malcolm McLaren, 1973. Photo: David Parkinson. Bryan Ferry, 1976. Photo Richard Wallis//

A couple of years back I showed examples of photography by the late David Parkinson to car-nut graphic design maestro Jules Balme; I knew he would be interested in the incorporation of a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado in a 1973 Let It Rock fashion shoot.

What drew Balme’s eagle eye was not the car fin detail, but the fact that Malcolm McLaren in the shot below sported a tie of the same distinctive Atomic-style 50s pattern as worn by Bryan Ferry in the video clip for his 1976 solo hit Let’s Stick Together (and subsequently on the sleeve of the compilation of the same name rushed out to capitalise on the single’s success that year).

DP-MMCIcarfin 2Gorman_05.tif

//McLaren and models in Let It Rock attire – right are examples of the so-called “Alan Ladd” and “Jazz” suits – photographed in Acre Lane, Brixton for Club International by David Parkinson, summer 1973//

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The Return Of The Saint: Cameo by The Saints + directed by Peter Medak at The Marquee…but is that Shinny in Seditionaries?

Dec 3rd, 2014

//Is this Shinobu Kanai aka “Shinny” in a Seditionaries top in Episode 9 of the first series of The Return Of The Saint, broadcast November 1978?//


//Kanai  in The Great Rock N Roll Swindle, 1980//


// As “Japanese Woman” in the opening sequence of Insignificance, 1985//

Currently doing the rounds of the punk groups on various social networking sites is this clip from the cheesy 70s revival of classic 60s British television series The Saint.

Entitled The Arrangement, episode nine of The Return Of The Saint was broadcast on November 5, 1978 and starred such UK TV drama stalwarts as Carolyn Seymour, seen here looking glam in a car in Soho’s Wardour Street outside The Marquee where the great Aussie band The Saints are crashing through Swing For The Crime from their Eternally Yours album.
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