Paul Gorman is…

À la mod: My piece for The Guardian on the enduring appeal of Mod

Aug 13th, 2015

guardmod

From the SS16 menswear collections to the people flocking to Somerset House’s current celebration of The Jam, the aesthetic of “clean living under difficult circumstances” (as summarised by The Who’s first manager, Pete Meaden) is at one with what’s happening now in fashion…

Read the rest of my piece – with quotes from Dylan Jones of GQ/London Collections: Men, Soho tailor Mark Powell and Man About Town’s Ben Reardon – on the enduring appeal of Mod here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sharpies: The return of Top Fellas

Sep 6th, 2013

//Top fellas and brushes in the 60s and 70s. Photos courtesy Tadhg Taylor//

For my money, Sharpies beat all other youth cults hands down, so news of the publication of the third edition of Tadhg Taylor’s Top Fellas is cause for celebration.

A few years ago on THE LOOK blog I explored the style and musical tastes of this unique subculture which blossomed among Melbourne teens from the 60s to the early 80s, and never tire of the clips from Greg Mcainsh’s 1974 documentary which captures the top fellas and brushes in the prime.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Bowie Style tonight: In conversation with Boy George at the V&A

Apr 9th, 2013

Tonight I am hosting an event at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum: an ‘in conversation’ with Boy George about the importance and influence of popular culture’s greatest manipulator of visual identity, David Bowie.

//George O'Dowd overlooked by Big Brother in his room at a squatted house in Carburton Street, central London, 1978.//

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

John Stephen: Progenitor of a custom-built design movement

Oct 5th, 2012

“One day, ‘Carnaby Street’ could rank with ‘Bauhaus’ as a descriptive phrase for a design style and design legend.”

Ken and Kate Baynes, Design, August 1966.

Today is the seventh anniversary of Westminster Council’s dedication of a plaque in Carnaby Street to the late fashion retailer John Stephen, the 60s media darling dubbed “The £1m Mod” for his entrepreneurial success and flamboyant lifestyle (houses in Cannes and Milan, a white Alsatian named Prince who dined with him at his regular table at Mirabelle).

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pictures from an exhibition: Snap Crackle & Pop at The Lightbox

Aug 7th, 2011
Snap Crackle & Pop exhibition, The Lightbox gallery, Woking

Johnson & Johnson jacket and shirt, 1973.

These images are from the private view for The Lightbox gallery’s exhibition Snap Crackle & Pop (about British pop art and it’s influence on culture); I contributed exhibits and advice after being approached by BBC TV’s Katherine Higgins (who sure knows her stuff).

This excellent show was opened on Friday by Peter Blake. Among the attendees were John and Molly Dove, Lloyd Johnson, Mike Ross of Ritva and Paul Weller (the subject of the gallery’s current companion exhibition of photographs by Lawrence Watson).

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mod fashions in Mojo

Jun 29th, 2011

I have a piece on mod fashions in the new Mojo special MOJO ’60s.

To mark it, THE LOOK blog is featuring scans from a great interview with the Small Faces keyboard player Ian “Mac” McLagan from Rave magazine, April 1967. See here.

Tags: , , , ,

Blokes Of Britain: Chris Salewicz

Jun 16th, 2011

//Author image for US edition of Bob Marley: The Untold Story, 2009. Photo: Grzegorz Lepiarz.//

NAME: Chris Salewicz

RESIDES: London

OCCUPATION: Writer

Chris Salewicz is a neighbour and friend. My admiration for his work harks back more than three decades, when his words shone from the pages of the NME.

As detailed by In Their Own Write, this was no mean feat since Salewicz was part of the formidable team whose members included (deep breath): Max Bell, Angie Errigo, Pete Erskine, Mick Farren, Chrissie Hynde, Nick Kent, Nick Logan, Ian MacDonald, Kate Phillips, Charles Shaar Murray, Neil Spencer, Tony Tyler…

Now Salewicz deals in big subjects as an author, broadcaster and film-maker: his Strummer and Marley books capture the definitive portraits of these imposing figures, while involvement in such ventures as the documentary Beats Of Freedom denotes a mature reflection on his Polish roots.

In addition, Salewicz’s role as an aide-de-camp in Mick Jones’ ongoing Rock & Roll Public Library project betrays the highly attuned visual sensibilities conveyed in these, his answers to the Blokes Of Britain Questionnaire:

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blokes Of Britain: Jeff Dexter

Mar 16th, 2011

NAME: Jeff Dexter

RESIDES: North London

OCCUPATION: Man about town

Trace the progress of popular culture over the last six decades and you’ll find Jeff Dexter at some of its crucial stages of development: demonstrating the twist to modernists at The Lyceum Ballroom and advising the Beatles on which boots to wear in the early 60s; DJing for the noonday underground at Tiles a few years later and then moving into London’s counter-cultural underground as a mainman at Middle Earth and The Roundhouse, where his Implosion nights set the scene for the rise of such friends as Marc Bolan and David Bowie.

There’s Jeff hanging out at Hung On You, booking bands for the first Glastonbury and Isle Of Wight festivals, managing chart-topping America, announcing The Clash at one of their early gigs and DJing for Paul Weller at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire a couple of years back as part of the Island 50 celebrations.

And now he’s answered the Blokes Of Britain questionnaire:

Hi Jeff. What’s with your look these days?

Eclectic and vintage. I mix anything from the past, from another culture, with the standard look which has been ingrained in me since childhood. I looked at some photos today and realised I’ve been doing this since 1968!

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Conversation: Lloyd Johnson + Ben Olins on Brighton Rock

Feb 27th, 2011

Place: Golden Square, London W1.

Time: 1pm

Coffee: Nordic Bakery Soho

Lloyd Johnson, Ben Olins and I met on a sunny Saturday for a chat about Rowan Joffe’s recently-released film Brighton Rock. The transposition of the storyline to 1964 has resulted in marketing which leans heavily on the backdrop of the Mods vs Rockers “riots” in British coastal resorts that year.

Pretty Green and Merc are among promotional partners; there lingers the distinct impression of an attempt to reach out to cinemagoers by creating a British version of the Mad Men buzz.

In fact the mod content is a gloss overlaying this stodgy interpretation of the 1947 film classic rather than Grahame Greene’s 1939 novel (despite claims to the contrary; Joffe even chose the first film’s climactic cop-out, against the author’s wish for an unremittingly bleak ending).

An original modernist raised in neighbouring Hastings, Lloyd has considerable first-hand knowledge of the subject and worked on the film which is a primary visual influence: Quadrophenia.

Ben’s fascination for the period is manifested in such activities as the club-night The Fabulous Cellar and certain aspects of his media company Herb Lester Associates.

As a cradle Catholic my heart sank when I heard the word on this; one of the great literary investigations into good and evil recast as a mod rite of passage. Mod really is the mainstream option these days isn’t? So codified as to be meaningless and square beyond belief: all those “rules”, all that conformity. For that, and many other reasons, the film lived down to my low expectations.

What do you reckon?

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,