Paul Gorman is…

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 described as 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.

//Above: Reed’s images from the same shoot in Los Angeles, 1956//

Among them was Little Richard striking the outstretched pose which lives on in reproductions of the late Malcolm McLaren’s 1972 t-shirt design known as Vive le Rock!, from the title he appropriated from a Belgian movie poster and positioned above the image.

//Malcolm McLaren in front of rock & roll movie posters display in Let It Rock, 430 King’s Road, Chelsea, London, January 1972. From photo by David Parkinson//

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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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Look sharp! In conversation with Mark Powell at Sartorial Style at the V&A, 2pm, Saturday, March 18

Mar 5th, 2017

Later this month I will be in conversation with British menswear legend Mark Powell at the V&A’s Sartorial Style day.

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Apollonia Van Ravenstein + Ara Gallant in originals of Seditionaries Mickey & Minnie and Exposé t-shirts

Feb 21st, 2017

//Van Ravenstein with Gallant (wearing his trademark Japanese schoolboy’s cap adorned with gold charms). From photo by Francis Ing//

Images of the novelty t-shirt designs détourned by the late Malcolm McLaren for sale in Seditionaries in 1978 are rare, which is why this shot of Apollonia Van Ravenstein and Ara Gallant from a spread in a late 70s issue of L’Uomo Vogue is extra special.

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Lives less ordinary: Jane England’s Turn And Face The Strange documents 70s cultural and social churn

Feb 14th, 2017

//British street style legend Paul Beecham in Battersea, south London, 1974//

//Jasper Havoc (Peter McMahon, 1953-1979), a member of the Sydney performance troupe Sylvia and the Synthetics, in Ladbroke Grove, west London, in 1977 and on the front of England’s book//

Jane England’s Turn And Face The Strange is a valuable addition to the documentation of the social and cultural churn occurring at the edges of society in the 1970s.

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The Paradise Garage Mustang pops up in mid-70s early learning book

Feb 13th, 2017

//Outside Paradise Garage, 430 King’s Road, GW Hales, 1971//

As punk expert/collector and design academic Paul Burgess notes, references to 430 King’s Road turn up in the most surprising places.

So thanks to him for notifying me about this photograph of the coolest address in pop culture – and in particular the tiger stripe-flocked Ford Mustang which adorned the street outside during the Paradise Garage phase – in a 1976 light educational book for young children.

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The Stiff Records clock: When You Kill Time You Murder Success

Feb 13th, 2017

//The Stiff Records clock. Concept: Jake Riviera, design: Barney Bubbles, lettering: Caramel Crunch, 1977. No reproduction without permission//

Stiff Records was on fire in 1977.

The British independent record label, with owners Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson snapping up acts and art director Barney Bubbles applying his unsurpassable skills to the visualising of their music, came straight out of the traps 40 years ago this month with the release of the first ‘punk’ LP Damned Damned Damned by – who else? – The Damned.

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