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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Judy Nylon in McLaren’s Smoking Boy shirt with Nick Kent in Granny’s and Brian James in leathers, inside The Roxy 1977

Jun 2nd, 2017

//From left: Kent, James and Nylon. Please advise if you are the photographer or know their identity. No reproduction without permission//

Artist/thinker Judy Nylon has sent me this great shot taken at London punk haven The Roxy in the spring of 1977.

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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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My first concert: Count Basie and Frank Sinatra at the Royal Festival Hall, May 1970

Feb 2nd, 2017

I am fortunate enough to be able to state that the first live music concert I attended was the midnight double bill of Frank Sinatra and The Count Basie Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall in May 1970.

//The headliners at the RFH, May 1970. Photo: Getty//

//At The RFH, May 1970. Photo: Getty//

I was 10 years old. My resourceful mother wangled tickets for the entire family, with one of my sisters selling programmes. That gained her access to the artists’ area; she gave me the backstage pass which I duly placed in the school project autobiography I wrote the following year.

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Revenge of the suburbs: David Bowie fans shine in doc about the 1983 Milton Keynes Bowl gigs

Nov 1st, 2016
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//Members of the audience from Edinburgh who preferred Australian support act Icehouse to Bowie//

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Fittingly Britain’s most surprising rock star has found his way to Britain’s newest and most surprising city, where high tech meets ecologic, where concrete meets conservation, where the silicon chip meets the fibreglass rod…

Steve Taylor, South Of Watford, Summer 1983, London Weekend Television

While putting the finishing touches to my forthcoming book about The Face magazine, I followed a line of research which lead me to an excellent documentary about the late David Bowie which I hadn’t seen since it was screened in 1983.

Shown as part of London’s regional broadcaster LWT’s South Of Watford strand, the film focused on Bowie’s immersion in the mainstream with the Let’s Dance LP and companion Serious Moonlight tour (sponsored by Levi’s in a groundbreaking marketing deal, this inaugurated the era of corporate and branded live music events).

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The doc’s point of entry was Bowie’s weekend of sold-out gigs that summer at Milton Keynes Bowl, the open-air arena in Britain’s newest city north of London in the Buckinghamshire countryside.

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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  LP series Dances Of the World’s Peoples released on the ethnographic Folkways label; 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 one which appeared in 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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