Paul Gorman is…

“Because it’s so damn good!” Extracts from my exclusive interview with pioneering illustrator/photographer Jim French, who has died aged 84

Jun 18th, 2017

//Jim French. Photo: SHOWStudio//

The American illustrator and photographer Jim French – best known for his pioneering endeavours in the field of homoerotic art – has died at home in Palm Springs at the age of 84.

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Judy Nylon in McLaren’s Smoking Boy shirt with Nick Kent in Granny’s and Brian James in leathers, inside The Roxy 1977

Jun 2nd, 2017

//From left: Kent, James and Nylon. Please advise if you are the photographer or know their identity//

Artist/thinker Judy Nylon has sent me this great shot taken at London punk haven The Roxy in the spring of 1977.

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Jasper: Memories of the London fashion label and a Barney Bubbles connection

May 15th, 2017

//But Is It… ART, t-shirt design, Ian Harris for Jasper, 1979//

I’ve dug into collector and graphic artist Ian Harris’s rich archive again and turned up a brace of t-shirts he designed in the late 70s for Jasper, the eponymous London-based fashion label operated by entrepreneur Jasper Hamilton Holmes from showrooms in central London.

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POP: Exciting new book to showcase Brian Griffin’s enigmatic excellence

May 6th, 2017

//© Brian Griffin//

I have written an essay for POP, the forthcoming book showcasing the great British photographer Brian Griffin’s engagement with music.

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Phallic Metallics: Erotic jewellery shoot by Hipgnosis for Club magazine 1976

May 4th, 2017

//Jewellery by Gayle Saunders and Stanley Rosenberg. Photography/art direction: Hipgnosis. From Phallic Metallics, Club, May 1976//

I’m grateful to Stian Brekke for sending me a link to his site hipgnosiscovers.com for these arresting pages from a 1976 issue of US men’s magazine Club, launched as the sister publication the British Club International the previous year.

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Was it The Fool or Alexander Trocchi? The mystery of Warhol Waking at Kensington Town Hall in May 1971

Apr 22nd, 2017

//Front of folded flyer, 6.5 x 8″//

Graphic artist, musician, fashion and interiors designer and all-round all-rounder Ian Harris has granted me access to more items from his amazing archive; this is in the intriguing category –  a flyer for a most unusual art project he visited in the early 1970s.

Warhol Waking was staged over one day in the foyer of Kensington Town Hall in west London in the spring of 1971. This tumultuous period of creative experimentation in public and private spaces was later described as representing either “the immense variety and talent of the London arts scene or its condition of cultural confusion” by artist and art historian John A. Walker.

The installation/intervention proved challenging for visitors: it comprised a typical domestic bed with sheets and blanket drawn back to reveal excrement juxtaposed with a towering orchid which drooped as the day passed and flies gathered.

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Don’t Knock The Rock: John E. Reed’s eternal image of exuberant Little Richard

Apr 20th, 2017

//London Records promotional image, 1958//

In 1956 the Hollywood photographer John E. Reed took a series of promotional shots of the stars of DJ Alan Freed’s rocksploitation flick Don’t Knock The Rock.

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Audacious early 70s Hipgnosis fashion shoots for Club International

Apr 18th, 2017


When innovatory British men’s magazine Club International was launched in 1972, editor Tony Power and art director Steve Ridgeway assembled a diverse pool of contributors, including jazzer, art critic and cultural commentator George Melly, the Stately Homo Quentin Crisp, Rocky Horror Show founder Richard O’Brien, former White Panther Mick Farren, photographers David Parkinson, Mick Rock and Karl Stoecker, illustrators Bush Hollyhead and Brian Grimwood and the design studio Hipgnosis.

//Casual trousers £9.50 from Mr Freedom; satin waistcoat £12 from Chris at Hidegrade; Bobbysoxer Boots £12.75 by Daisy Roots from Way In. From Club International Vol 1 No 3, 1972//

//Prince of Wales Oxford bags £4.95 from Take 6; Hollywood Funsters £12.25 by Daisy Roots from Way In. From Club International Vol 1 No 3, 1972//

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“We’re gonna be different. Why should we dress like everyone else?” Teddy Boys and Girls in Southend’s Long Bar, 1972

Mar 24th, 2017

The priceless footage of Teddy Boys & Girls dancing and talking about their cult lifestyle in the early 70s at the bottom of this post comes from the East Anglian Film Archive, which provides access to 200 hours of moving images relating to the part of the UK 100-or-so miles east of London.

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When Chuck Berry and Little Richard played Knees Up Mother Brown on David Letterman in London

Mar 19th, 2017

//Chuck Berry with Paul Shaffer, Thames TV Studios, Lower Ground, Waterloo, London, May 16, 1995//

I saw Chuck Berry play live twice, and have written previously about the first time when, supported by David Bowie-endorsed revivalist rockers Fumble, he performed a truncated set at the Rainbow theatre in north London’s Finsbury Park in September 1973.

The second time was frankly bizarre. He and Little Richard sat in with Paul Shaffer and his band during a live broadcast of The David Letterman Show from the UK capital in 1995.

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