Paul Gorman is…

The Story Of The Face in British GQ

Oct 6th, 2017

Out today, the November 2017 issue of British GQ includes a 10-page feature on my forthcoming book The Story Of The Face: The Magazine That Changed Culture.

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A solid testament: David Bowie A Life by Dylan Jones

Oct 3rd, 2017

In contrast to Unmade Up, Edward Bell’s light-touch but nonetheless deeply personal memoir of David Bowie recently reviewed here, Dylan Jones’ A Life is a weighty, text-heavy tome, with hundreds of contributors packed into its unillustrated 560 pages.

And that’s fine; Jones’ choice of the oral history format maintains the pace as his subject transitions from humble ‘Bromley Dave’ into the superstar whose work continues to beguile and bewitch.

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RIP Gary Warnett, streetwear guru and sneaker supremo

Sep 28th, 2017

//Warnett in his element. Photo: Hypebeast, to which he was a regular contributor//

This is a terrible week for those of us interested in the accumulation of knowledge and expertise surrounding design, music and popular culture.

I was settling in to write an obituary for New York design hero Jim Walrod when news came through last night that British sneaker guru Gary Warnett – a similarly irreplaceable figure – had also unexpectedly died.

Warnett was 39; the cause was attributed to complications arising from pneumonia.

The former content editor for label Crooked Tongues, Warnett was a streetwear obsessive who worked with the world’s biggest brands. Still he found the time to pursue a wide array of interests as evinced by his excellent Gwarizm/Still Lameaphobic site.

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Barney Bubbles: Optics & Semantics at Rob Tufnell London

Aug 31st, 2017

//AC/DC Desk (with plug stool), Get Happy!! lightbulb poster, ‘Kill Time’ Stiff Records clock + Ian Dury Cocktail cabinet//

You wait years for a Barney Bubbles exhibition and then two come along in the space of a month.

On the heels of the mini-show of Barney Bubbles music designs at Fred Perry’s basement space in Covent Garden comes a different take on the work of the late graphics maestro.

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Different Class, the story of the extraordinary Laurie Cunningham, is published this week

Jul 12th, 2017

I am honoured to have played a part in Dermot Kavanagh realising his ambition to produce a biography of the late footballer and soulboy legend Laurie Cunningham.

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My new book – The Story Of The Face: The Magazine That Changed Culture

Jun 7th, 2017

This is the front of the jacket of my new book The Story Of The Face: The Magazine That Changed Culture, which is published by Thames & Hudson this autumn.

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Cunst Art: Caroline Coon’s hand-rendered Laid Bare Diary 1983-1984

May 3rd, 2017

I once asked gallery owner Angela Flowers for her definition of an artist. Without hesitating she said: “That’s easy. An artist is someone who simply has to paint every day.” Caroline is the personification of that description.

Charlotte Metcalf from her editor’s note, Laid Bare Dairy 1983-1984

A fascinating and frank document of the period of the artist’s personal life conveyed by the title, Caroline Coon’s Laid Bare Diary 1983-1984 is also a  lovingly realised bookwork.

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Happy Birthday British rock and R&B, born 55 years ago tonight at the Ealing Club when Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Eric Burdon gathered around Alexis Korner

Mar 17th, 2017

//Top: Entrance to Ealing Club stairwell with jeweller’s to its right, early 1960s. Photo: ealingclub.com. Above: The entrance as it is today//

“Suburbia is the breeding ground for the richest and most innovative cultural production of the 20th and 21st centuries” Rupa Huq, writer and MP for Ealing Central & Acton, 2013

An advert in the New Musical Express for a “Rhythm & Blues Night” staged 55 years ago today – on St Patrick’s Night, March 17, 1962 – sparked the British musical revolution which soundtracked youth culture in the West for decades.

The ad proved a lure for suburban London teenage r&b fans including Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, while Eric Burdon, soon to be vocalist with The Animals, hitchhiked the 300 miles from Newcastle to join them in witnessing the main performance by Blues Incorporated (in fact he and Jagger traded verses on stage during a rendition of Billy Boy Arnold’s I Ain’t Got You).

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What’s it going to be then, eh? An ‘unforgettable evening of typewriters, music, rough cider and poison-pen letters’

Feb 24th, 2017

//Anthony Burgess, Chiswick, west London, 1968, with the border collie Haji, “crafty, disobedient, and ignorant of the sexual life, except in perverted forms peculiar to himself […] He had no loyalty, leaving that commodity to us”. Photo: IABF//

Tomorrow is Anthony Burgess’s centenary; would that I could, I’d be in Manchester, specifically at the Engine House, Chorlton Mill, 3 Cambridge Street, home to the International Anthony Burgess Foundation for its celebration of the great fellow with an “unforgettable evening of typewriters, music, rough cider and poison-pen letters”.

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Bend Sinister: Trump The Toad

Feb 16th, 2017

//1960 Weidenfeld & Nicolson edition. Jacket design: Eric Ayers//

“This choice of a title was an attempt to suggest an outline broken by refraction, a distortion in the mirror of being, a wrong turn taken by life.”
Vladimir Nabokov, from the introduction to the 1963 edition of Bend Sinister

Donald Trump’s nightmarish occupancy of the US presidency has occasioned quite a few literary comparisons, causing sales spikes for such dystopian works as George Orwell’s 1984 and prompting arguments about whether other books more accurately envisioned what passes for our current version of reality: see Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

An admittedly cursory check around hasn’t turned up anyone else who, like me, makes the connection to Vladimir Nabokov’s 1947 novel Bend Sinister, about a bereaved world-renowned philosopher living in a totalitarian state run by the repulsive schoolmate he had once bullied and nicknamed “The Toad”. This tyrant, Paduk, rules via his Party Of The Average Man.

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