Paul Gorman is…

Death And The Lady: Nick Abrahams’ film for Shirley Collins’ first record in 38 years

Sep 24th, 2016
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//Shirley Collins with hooden horses. Photo: Toby Amies//

“Shirley has a voice that seems to be in touch with the traditions of the past, but also the dark mystery that makes England so weird, wild and mesmerising, and it is these two aspects that I wanted to convey in the video.”
Nick Abrahams, 2016

I’m captivated by the magical film made by Nick Abrahams to accompany the Shirley Collins song Death And The Lady.

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Voodoo And Magic Practices: The book which inspired McLaren and Westwood’s Witches collection

Sep 23rd, 2016
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//Voodoo and Magic Practices, Jean Kerboull, Barrie and Jenkins, 1978. Translated from the French by John Shaw//

This is the book which inspired the late Malcolm McLaren to unite the design ideas he developed with Vivienne Westwood for their Autumn/Winter 1983 fashion collection Witches.

At the time McLaren was completing his album Duck Rock, which was conceived as an ethnological travelogue and modelled on the Folkways LPs Dances Of the World’s Peoples; in fact, Duck Rock was originally titled Folk Dances Of The World and the incorporation of an illustrated insert containing track-by-track explanations was taken from the 1958 albums.

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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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Sharks: The return of the Sharkmobile and a great shot of the band with Nora Foster in Let It Rock designs

Jul 8th, 2016
LONDON - JANUARY 1973: The Shark Car photographed in West London on 8th January 1973 (Photo by Brian Cooke/Redferns) *** Sharks;The Shark Car ***

//Island Records promo shot of the Sharkmobile outside the long closed Blenheim Arms,  Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, west London, on January 8, 1973. Photo: Brian Cooke//

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//Sharks surround Nora Foster, 1974. From bottom left: keyboard player Nick Judd (in Wonder Workshop jacket); drummer Marty Simon, bassist Busta “Cherry” Jones, frontman Snips and guitarist Chris Spedding in Let It Rock Rock N Roll Lives/Chuck Berry tee. Photo: Dick Polak//

Singer-songwriter  Steve “Snips” Parsons has been in contact; the reunion of early 70s British rock band Sharks (which he fronted) moves apace – with an album out in September, next week they are launching a crowdfunding appeal to bring back the so-called Sharkmobile.

This was guitarist Chris Spedding’s Pontiac Le Mans which – at the behest of their record company boss Chris Blackwell – was decorated with fibreglass shark’s teeth and a fin and appeared on the back cover of the group’s debut LP First Water.

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Punk Rockers meet The Cockettes founder downtown: When Fayette Hauser, Rory Johnston + Malcolm McLaren spent a wild weekend in Sin City

Apr 20th, 2016
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//Malcolm McLaren, Las Vegas, January 1978. Photo © Fayette Hauser//

To mark the arrival in London of the legendary founder of The Cockettes Fayette Hauser for screenings of rare films featuring the transgressive troupe, here are some extracts from an interview she gave me for the forthcoming Malcolm McLaren biography.

I’m also featuring photographs Hauser took when she hooked up with the late McLaren on the West Coast after the Sex Pistols had splintered in San Francisco at the end of their January 1978 US tour.

With meetings arranged with record company and movie studio producers and financiers, McLaren stayed at West Hollywood’s infamous Tropicana Motel on Santa Monica Boulevard, home to the likes of Tom Waits and visiting musicians from Bob Marley & The Wailers to the Ramones and the Velvet Underground (Andy Warhol’s Heat and Trash were both filmed there).

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//60s postcard for The Tropicana Motel and Motor Lodge, 8585 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA//

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//The Ramones at The Tropicana in 1978. With Joey Ramone (right) is Linda Ramone (in Emmanuelle Khanh sunglasses) and next to Johnny Ramone is Cynthia Whitney (aka Roxy Ramone), who is wearing the Sex t-shirt I Groaned With Pain, designed by McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. Photo: © Brad Elterman/Getty//

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Chris Spedding: Unsung hero of Seventies style from Alkasura + Granny Takes A Trip to Let It Rock, Sex + Seditionaries

Mar 13th, 2016
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//In Let It Rock Rock ‘N Roll Lives Chuck Berry T-shirt, 1975. Photo: Ian Dickson/Getty Images//

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//Also 1975 – pink pegs from Sex. Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images//

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//At home in London, 1978. Photo: Fin Costello/Getty Images//

Guitarist Chris Spedding at a Nico show at CBGB, February 1979.

//At a Nico show at CBGB, February 1979. Photo: Ebet Roberts/Getty Images//

Guitarist Chris Spedding is one of the unsung heroes of Seventies style.

I’ve been a fan of his music and look since 1974, when I acquired Jab It In Yore Eye. This was the second album by Sharks, formed by Spedding with other survivors of the early 70s music scene after leaving jazz-rock outfit Nucleus and gigging with Jack Bruce.

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‘Don’t look over your shoulder, but the Sex Pistols are coming’: 40th anniversary of their first review

Feb 12th, 2016

Talking Punk London: In the City 1975-78 on Gary Crowley’s Soho Radio show this afternoon

Feb 9th, 2016

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This afternoon I’m the guest on DJ Gary Crowley’s show on London-based digital station Soho Radio.

I’ll be talking about Punk London: In The City 1975-78 – my map collaboration with Herb Lester Associates which is published on Friday (February 12) – and also playing a highly personal selection of songs in the spirit of the project where we aim to sidestep the cliches and show another side to the oft-told punk story.

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A brief journey through David Bowie’s London from the 40s to the 10s with me and Herb Lester

Jan 13th, 2016

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As a tribute to the late rock star, I have joined forces with map-makers Herb Lester to create an online guide to David Bowie’s London from his birth at 40 Stansfield Road in Brixton in 1947 through his solo art show in Mayfair in 1995 to the giant retrospective David Bowie Is exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington in 2013.

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Touched by the hand of Bowie

Jan 11th, 2016
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//Framed shred of Lucian Freud wallpaper designed by David Bowie for inclusion in the 1995 War Child fashion show Pagan Funwear//

It is of course very sad to note the death of David Bowie; 69 is too young, particularly for such an important figure in the pop cultural landscape with an evident abundance of creative contributions still to make to our lives.

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