Paul Gorman is…

LP artwork distilled, venue interiors re-appraised and video portraits of Ian Brown, Matt Johnson and Richard Strange at Peter Wilkins’ Lost In Music

May 20th, 2015
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//Astral Weeks – Van Morrison, Peter Wilkins, 2015//

Hammersmith Apollo, Peter Wilkins, 2015

//Hammersmith Apollo, Peter Wilkins, 2015//

In the 21st century, when digital downloads displaced compact discs as the format of consumer choice, music went naked into the world, unadorned by design or packaging. Yet this in turn gave rise to vigorous rear-guard action in the growing appreciation of what was fast disappearing. As if from the dead, vinyl made a comeback and the fan in Wilkins places him in a key position to cogitate this phenomenon.
From my text for the Lost In Music catalogue

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It’s a cracker: Jah Wobble x 4 in promo for new song Merry Go Round

May 20th, 2015
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//Jah Wobble as a female newsreader in the promo for Merry Go Round//

Love the clip from Jah Wobble for his cracking new song Merry Go Round.

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Wobble adopts various talking head personae – I particularly like Ronnie Anger of Wigchester FC – to deliver the song’s message of society teetering on the edge of a new dark age, complete with Situationist-style running news slogans and quotations from his hero William Blake.

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Merry Go Round appears on the new 6-CD box set Redux which is out next week.

Pre-order Redux here.

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Hipshaking vinyl – Early Pakistani Dance Music: 1967-1975

May 5th, 2015
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//Clockwise from top left: Poster for album launch party at Hamburg club Golem in March; A-side label; postcard; album cover//

One of the most joyous releases of the year so far is the compilation Early Pakistani Dance Music from Germany’s Ovular. I found out about it via Instagram friend and DJ Martin “Soul Stew” Geise.

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I Can’t Breathe: Pussy Riot with Richard Hell, Shahzad Ismaily (The Ceramic Dog), Scofferlane, Jack Wood, Andrew Wyatt + Nick Zinner

Feb 25th, 2015
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//Pussy Riot on the set of the promo video for I Can’t Breathe. Photo: Denis Sinyakov//

I received a message from Richard Hell: “Check out this wildness.”

So I did.

It’s I Can’t Breathe, Pussy Riot’s first English-language release, about the furore surrounding the death last year of Eric Garner.  Hell recites Garner’s final words on the track.

“It felt weird to speak the words of a black man killed by the police, when I’m this privileged white guy,” Hell told Pitchfork. “At the same time, I believe in Pussy Riot. I have faith in them. I think they’re for real.”

Read all about the recording of I Can’t Breathe here.

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Highly recommended: The unpindownable John Pidgeon’s blog

Feb 2nd, 2015
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//”This photograph was taken by Chris Morris in my bedroom at Commonwood Cottage in Downley village near High Wycombe in 1965 (when I swapped my mod life for university). I’m wearing an almost unwearably itchy John Stephen herringbone wool shirt. Apart from the Ricky Tick poster, I’d permanently pasted up two vintage London Transport posters I found in the attic. My old man wasn’t too pleased about that”. From http://johnpidgeon.com//

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//Front cover of Pidgeon’s 1974 book//

I highly recommend John Pidgeon’s blog; Pidgeon is another  favourite unpindownable figures in the cultural landscape. His considerable talents have been expressed from music journalism and magazine publishing through roadie-ing for The Faces and composing songs with their recently departed and already much missed keyboard maestro Ian McLagan to commissioning stunning design work from Barney Bubbles and producing BBC documentaries and radio comedy (and in the process promulgating the hit series Dead Ringers, Little Britain and The Mighty Boosh).
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Metamodernism: Post-irony, new forms of sincerity and informed naivety

Jan 17th, 2015

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What is Metamodernism?

In the 90s and the early 2000s it’s fair to say we grew up with a particular outlook on life, one of irony, of deconstruction and cynicism. This was noticeable in the music of Nirvana and Radiohead, in the books of Michel Houellebecq and Bret Easton Ellis, and we saw it in the arts with the YBAs and Jeff Koons. This is very much a sensibility that spoke to us, that we embraced.

That time was summed up by a sense of boredom in culture. This is it? And what now?

Throughout the 2000s we began noticing – as many people did and many have written about this – slight changes. First you get the complete reappraisal of writers such as David Foster Wallace, who started in the 90s but suddenly became big in the early 2000s. And you had sincere movies by Wes Anderson and Michel Gondry. This was all very different from the kind of stuff we grew up with. Something was changing. The irony of Nirvana, the desperation of Radiohead, the cynicism of Michel Houellebecq were replaced by something that was at once still cynical, still ironic and had an acknowledgement of how the world worked, but at the same time seemed to want more.

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Hawkwind’s Barney Bubbles-decorated gear to the fore in more photos from Windsor Free Festival

Jan 9th, 2015
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//Watched by the crowd, writers/poets/frontmen Robert Calvert and Michael Moorcock (left), drummer Simon King and bassist Lemmy prepare for lift off, August 25, 1973. Photo: Dave Walkling//

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//Detail of pic above showing Bubbles’ drumheads and speaker designs//

Following my post of photos from the free music festival at Windsor Great Park to the west of London in 1973, attendee Dave Walkling has sent a couple of sharp images which capture the anticipation in the crowd just before Hawkwind’s set.

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‘My records are about genuine fanatics, unstoppable, irresponsible lovers – I dedicate this album to fans of rock & roll’ Malcolm McLaren on Fans 1984

Jan 8th, 2015

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This album is titled Fans. It’s about wearing your emotion on your sleeve, just as fans scream out from the audience or want to get on stage so they can kiss him or are terrified they’re going to have a nervous breakdown if he don’t come round the corner and sit beside them. They all bear the frustration… we’re all fans waiting to jump out.

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Astounding Barney Bubbles rarity: An amazing Hawkwind drumhead

Jan 8th, 2015
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//Drumhead painted by Barney Bubbles in 1972. Photo: (c)//

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//From left: Nik Turner, Stacia Blake, Simon King and Lemmy during Hawkwind’s set at the Windsor Free Festival on August 25, 1973. Note the drumhead on the left. Photographer: Unknown//

A rare design by the late graphics master Barney Bubbles has come to light after four decades; the psychedelic sci-fi drumhead was painted for Hawkwind when the space rocking Sonic Assassins undertook tours around the world following their success with the Silver Machine single in 1972.

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The post-hippie/glam/space rock mix-up: Alun Anderson’s beguiling photographs from the 1973 Windsor Free Festival

Jan 7th, 2015
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//Photo: Alun Anderson//

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//Photo: Alun Anderson//

“When these photographs were taken, everything about them was everyday and unexceptional. These were the clothes we wore, the Hawkwind festivals that filled our summers, the drugs we took, the love we had, the way we moved. Only looked at from a distance does something extraordinary seem to emerge. Whether it is possible to live in the present with this view of what is around you, I don’t know.”
Alun Anderson, 2015

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