Paul Gorman is…

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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Sayonara Martin Stone 1946 – 2016

Nov 10th, 2016

Martin Stone hopped, pre-dawn, through the Cheshire street market, scavenging books. Winklepickers, tourniquet trousers, mildewed beret, bulging swagbag: Blind Pew impersonated by Max Wall. Cigarette grafted to trembling, prehensile fingers, he was an anthology of retro fashion. And in his wake there shimmered a vortex of gossip and, amazingly, goodwill…  Iain Sinclair, The Independent, February 18, 1995

Sad to note the passing of Martin Stone, dapper devil and rock and rolling rare book dealer par excellence.

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Stop look and listen: It’s called Rubber Stamping baby

Oct 8th, 2016

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Artist/illustrator Stephen Fowler’s Rubber Stamping is an engaging guide which stems from his rich body of work in primitive, D-I-Y printmaking.

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Sex signage: Was McLaren inspired by Lubalin’s cladding for the Georg Jensen flagship NY store?

Sep 30th, 2016
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//Detail, clad signage for Georg Jensen, 601 Madison Avenue, late 60s. From Herb Lubalin: Typographer, Unit Editions, 2016//

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//Detail, shop signage designed by Malcolm McLaren, made by Vick Mead, 430 King’s Road, London, 1975. From a photograph by Peter Schlesinger//

Was the late Malcolm McLaren inspired by one of the greats of 20th century graphics in his creation of the astonishing signage for Sex, the fetishistic fashion boutique and incubator of punk rock he operated with Vivienne Westwood at 430 King’s Road in west London between October 1974 and November 1976?

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Reckless Daughter: A barnstorming Joni Mitchell anthology

Sep 22nd, 2016

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Hats off to barnstorming Barney Hoskyns for compiling new Joni Mitchell anthology Reckless Daughter, which is published in November.

I fell under Mitchell’s spell in my early teens at the behest of an older brother and was lucky enough to see her live in the gig-crowded year of 1974 at London’s New Victoria Theatre.

Even while punk raged I kept the faith; 1975’s The Hissing Of Summer Lawns and the following year’s Hejira are stone classics to which I constantly return, and not just for the peerless music. The designs by her own hand (Mitchell is an accomplished visual artist) and the fashion-sheen photography of Norman Seeff add to the allure.

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