Paul Gorman is…

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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Highly recommended: The unpindownable John Pidgeon’s blog

Feb 2nd, 2015

//”This photograph was taken by Chris Morris in my bedroom at Commonwood Cottage in Downley village near High Wycombe in 1965 (when I swapped my mod life for university). I’m wearing an almost unwearably itchy John Stephen herringbone wool shirt. Apart from the Ricky Tick poster, I’d permanently pasted up two vintage London Transport posters I found in the attic. My old man wasn’t too pleased about that”. From


//Front cover of Pidgeon’s 1974 book//

I highly recommend John Pidgeon’s blog; Pidgeon is another  favourite unpindownable figures in the cultural landscape. His considerable talents have been expressed from music journalism and magazine publishing through roadie-ing for The Faces and composing songs with their recently departed and already much missed keyboard maestro Ian McLagan to commissioning stunning design work from Barney Bubbles and producing BBC documentaries and radio comedy (and in the process promulgating the hit series Dead Ringers, Little Britain and The Mighty Boosh).
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Derek Boshier: Clash art guru + original punk rocker!

Jan 27th, 2015
Daily Mail - Poem Of Hate

//Daily Mail – Poem Of Hate, 1977. Ink drawing and newsprint, 55 x 75cm. © Derek Boshier, courtesy Flowers//


//Drawing for CLASH 2nd Songbook, 1978. Ink on paper, 30.5 x 22cm. © Derek Boshier, courtesy Flowers//


//Hi Consumers! Don’t Forget Nothing Lasts Forever, 1978. Ink and collage on paper, 46 x 54.9cm. © Derek Boshier, courtesy Flowers//


//Drawing for CLASH 2nd Songbook, 1978. 33 x 22.5cm. © Derek Boshier, courtesy Flowers//

“Without hesitation, CLASH 2nd Song book is a masterpiece of graphic art”

Guy Brett, writer/curator

Interrogating materials for the Derek Boshier monograph has brought home the meshing of the artist’s sensibilities with punk in the 70s.

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Seven works by Barney Bubbles feature in Making Music Modern: Design For The Eye & Ear at MoMA

Jan 26th, 2015


//Left: Poster, 30 x 20″, one of a series of four, for Generation X residency at The Marque, Soho, London, September 1977. Right: Poster, 60 x 40″, one of a series of five for Stiff Records package tour of UK, October/November, 1977. Design (c) Barney Bubbles Estate//


//Installation view of Making Music Modern dominated by Bubbles’ Costello poster. Also note his Do It Yourself sleeve and Generation X poster. Photo: John Wronn//

New York’s Museum Of Modern Art is featuring seven works by the late graphics maestro Barney Bubbles in the current exhibition Making Music Modern: Design For The Eye & Ear.

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Astounding Barney Bubbles rarity: An amazing Hawkwind drumhead

Jan 8th, 2015
1m - Kit Drum Skin Barney Bubbles copy

//Drumhead painted by Barney Bubbles in 1972. Photo: (c)//


//From left: Nik Turner, Stacia Blake, Simon King and Lemmy during Hawkwind’s set at the Windsor Free Festival on August 25, 1973. Note the drumhead on the left. Photographer: Unknown//

A rare design by the late graphics master Barney Bubbles has come to light after four decades; the psychedelic sci-fi drumhead was painted for Hawkwind when the space rocking Sonic Assassins undertook tours around the world following their success with the Silver Machine single in 1972.

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Malcolm McLaren exhibition: Nostalgia Of Mud + Witches + Folkways ethnological recordings from the 1950s

Jul 28th, 2014

//Front cover, Dances Of The World’s Peoples, Vol 3, Folkways Records, 1958. Design: W. Johnson, printed on paper glued to cardboard sleeve.//


//Front of four-page song and information sheet utilising W.Johnson’s design, paper, 1958//

MMArchive-NostalgiaOfMudshowcardfront copy

//Invitation card to Paris show of McLaren and Westwood’s Nostalgia Of Mud collection, March 1982. Design: Nick Egan. Courtesy Malcolm McLaren Estate//

The idea is to show in clothes and music that, in the post-industrial age, the roots of our culture lie in primitive societies.
Malcolm McLaren on Nostalgia Of Mud and Duck Rock, 1983

Thanks to Hiroshi Fujiwara for tipping the wink over one of the sources of visual inspiration fed by Malcolm McLaren into the concepts unified by his solo album Duck Rock, the central London clothing store Nostalgia Of Mud and the fashion collections he designed with Vivienne Westwood in 1982-3.

Ciff-folkwayscatalogue copy

//Witchdoctor figure from W. Johnson’s design//


//Figure recast by McLaren and Westwood with Keith Haring adornments on cotton top from Witches collection, 1983. From private collection//

One of the cues for Duck Rock’s investigations into music from all over the world was the series of recordings by enthnological music archivists Ronnie and Stu Lipner released on Folkways Records in the late 50s under the banner Dances Of The World’s Peoples. And McLaren’s appropriation of the naive cover art by W. Johnson – in particular the striking witchdoctor figure – found new form in design collaborations with Westwood, graphics supremo Nick Egan and artist Keith Haring.


//Nostalgia Of Mud pattern show card, 1982. Courtesy Malcolm McLaren Estate//

McLaren’s brilliance at fusing disparate elements into culture-defining and dazzling artworks is being celebrated next week with the exhibition Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion at the Crystal Hall in Copenhagen’s Bella Center.

The show – which runs from August 3-6 during Copenhagen Fashion Week – will incorporate hundreds of exhibits, many rare and never previously shown to the public, including clothing and objects featured here such as the Witches top, the show cards and original copies of the Dances Of The World’s Peoples LP and catalogue.

Read more here.

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Kate Moross: Make Your Own Luck

Apr 16th, 2014

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The industrious British designer/illustrator Kate Moross is celebrating the publication of her book Make Your Own Luck with a London exhibition surveying the impressive body of work she has assembled to date.

I recommend the book highly, and not just because Moross gracefully thanked me for what little input I may have had. Also, as a fellow dog-lover, it’s great to see that Moross’s beloved Shiba Inus Tako and Ebi are given prominence on the flyleaf.

photo 3-1 photo 4-2 photo 2-1 photo 5 photo 3-2

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Handbags, gladrags, fragrances, films, lectures + twitter spats…Barney Bubbles’ undimmed lightbulb of inspiration

Nov 14th, 2013

//Olympia Le-Tan handbag based on artwork for The Damned's 1977 LP Music For Pleasure, with promotional t-shirt for Fred Burns' documentary Johnny Moped Basically using 1978 lightbulb design//

So potent is the creative legacy of the graphic design master Barney Bubbles – who died on this day 30 years ago – that he is continually cited as an inspiration by contemporary visual communicators, while his name and work is attached to all manner of endeavours.

Recently, Bubbles artworks were chosen by the French fashionista Olympia Le-Tan to lead her exclusive collection of handbags. Meantime Tokyo lifestyle label retaW has named a range of fragrance products “Barney*” in celebration of “the many album covers he was responsible for in the 70s and 80s”.

//Barney* products named after Bubbles by Japanese lifestyle company retaW//

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“Bring me your dented and bent out of shape”: Johnny Moped documentary is on the way

Jun 3rd, 2013

//Johnny Moped, Dave Berk, Fred Berk, Slimy Toad, 1977. Photo: Chiswick Records//

In an age clogged up with boil-in-the-bag popular music documentaries, I’m looking forward to Fred Burns’ Basically, Johnny Moped, about the unpredictable outsider who emerged via associations with The Damned and Chrissie Hynde during the post-punk period to strut and fret his hour upon the stage.

Moped and his band – Dave and Fred Berk and Slimy Toad – were out and about a lot in 1977 and 1978; I caught them a couple of times, once as part of a bigger bill at Camden Town’s Music Machine (now Koko) and another time in the West End (possibly The Marquee).

Their single Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby was (and remains 35 years later) a stand-out song of the period and Barney Bubbles’ artwork for that and other Moped releases and promotional material sealed the deal.

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The story behind a long-lost single sleeve design

Apr 18th, 2013

Read the story behind this obscure record sleeve design – for a single which failed to dent the Top 75 on release 30 years ago – over on the Barney Bubbles Blog.

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