Paul Gorman is…

Memories of SEX in Forum magazine

Jan 31st, 2011

//Steve Jones, Unknown, Alan Jones, Chrissie Hynde, Jordan, Vivienne Westwood. Photo: David Dagley/Rex Features.//

SEX became a magical place.  People spent hours there; no one wanted to leave.  In it, I created a feeling that was both euphoric and hysterical. You felt an enormous range of possibilities – that whatever was happening couldn’t be predicted, but it was a movement toward a place unknown.

Malcolm McLaren, Musical Paintings [JRP Ringier 2008].

One of the most prescient pieces published about 430 King’s Road in its incarnation as SEX appeared, appropriately enough, in sex magazine Forum in the mid-70s.

And, after more than 35 years, I’ve tracked down the writer and the photographer who, for the first time anywhere, recall the revolutionary retail environment and the sexually-charged photo-shoot featuring future Sex Pistol Steve Jones, performer Chrissie Hynde, radical shop assistant Jordan, film-writer Alan Jones and, of course, Vivienne Westwood.

The feature appeared in the June 1976 issue of the magazine and was written by expat American Forum staffer Len Richmond, later to pen hit British sitcom Agony and Three’s Company (the US version of the UK’s Man About The House). The photographer was Chelsea-based freelance David Dagley.

“In 1973 I’d arrived in the UK from San Francisco with 300 bucks in my pocket and found that I could work as a journalist because nobody cared about whether I had a green card,” explains Richmond down the line from Los Angeles.

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Blessed & Blasted: The 1980 Face Show. 01.1981

Jan 28th, 2011

As explored in In Their Own Write, the most important creative in the development of British print media in the latter half of the 20th Century was Nick Logan. Arguably his greatest contribution was via the launch of The Face in 1980.

This year-end review – “123 things to remember 1980 by” – was featured in issue 9, published 30 years ago.

Adopting the technique applied at Harpers & Queen by the magazine’s poster boy Peter York – who appears in this issue in three separate articles due to the recent publication of his tone-setting Style Wars – The 1980 Face Show inaugurated the lifestyle list-culture which dominates global media to this day.

It’s as fascinating for who it promulgated – who can remember the name of Bad Manners’ lead singer now? – as for that which it found hard to define.

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Anita Pallenberg: 1967 and all that

Jan 27th, 2011

//Anita Pallenberg + film-maker Harmony Korine, 2008. Photo: Eva Vermandel.//

A couple of years back I interviewed Anita Pallenberg – who celebrated her birthday yesterday – for Mojo magazine.

The subject was the scene in and around the King’s Road in 1967. Crisp and funny, Pallenberg was just as buzzed about the present;  visiting Karl Lagerfeld in Paris the next day, her interests in gardening and photography, the bargains to be found in charity shops and the notion of a collection based on the MA show from her studies at Saint Martins in the 90s.

A few months later, with her friend Anna Sui, Pallenberg participated in a rock & roll event I organised at the Port Eliot LitFest; after the show it was an honour to give her a vintage Vive Le Rock tee, which, of course, she wore with her trademark élan.

Here’s a refreshed and re-edited chance to appreciate this bewitching figure whose combination of innate style, fashion-savviness and earthy sexuality brought Continental sophistication to Swinging London and turned it on its head:

Gawky gamins and dolly-birds melted into insignificance in the presence of the impressive 21-year-old who arrived in London in 1965 having already studied graphic design in her native Rome, assisted Vogue photographer Gianni Penati and modelled in Paris.

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Blessed & Blasted: Angry Brigade Communique 8. 01.05.1971

Jan 27th, 2011

By the time this appeared in International Times, The Angry Brigade had bombed the Biba boutique in Kensington High Street, west London, on May Day, 1971.

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Underman Can

Jan 26th, 2011

These are items from the new range of garments using graphics, sleeve designs, song titles and photography relating to Can as part of Jun Takahashi’s Underman range.

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Bill Burroughs shoots London

Jan 25th, 2011

Maggs has issued a scratch catalogue of William Burroughs’ photographs of London 1972 – 1974.

These are hand-made prints produced a few years ago from the original negatives and are conservation-framed and glazed.

Here are some more pages from the catalogue:

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The Disneyland Memorial Orgy

Jan 25th, 2011

This framed Disneyland Memorial Orgy poster is available from Steven Sclaroff.

Read my report on how MAD magazine artist Wally Wood produced it in 1967 for Paul Krassner’s satirical publication The Realist – and how the element featuring Snow White and “the Sir Punks”  came to appear on a t-shirt sold at Seditionaries – here.

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When Charlie met Malcolm

Jan 25th, 2011

//Gillett + McLaren, 1983.//

Year-ends and beginnings naturally bring a sense of loss, of time passed and experiences weighed.

For me, 2010 will always mark the deaths of two individuals of personal import and also of lasting significance to our culture: Charlie Gillett and Malcolm McLaren.

These apparently disparate individuals – Gillett 68 and McLaren 64 at their time of passing on, respectively, March 17 and April 10 – shared several characteristics, not least idiosyncratic and uncompromising viewpoints and an abiding interest in bringing vanguard music into the mainstream.

Charlie was arguably folk and popular music’s greatest enthusiast – though he never liked the phrase, it is his achievement that “world music” entered western lives – and, as art consultant Bernd Wurlitzer wrote in 2008: “Malcolm McLaren is and has been an artist in the purest sense of the word for his entire adult life.”

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430 over six decades

Jan 25th, 2011

Blessed & Blasted: Rock In Opposition 12.03.1978

Jan 24th, 2011

//5 Silverthorne Road, London SW8, 1978.//

Alan Freeman (BBC DJ): “The popular music press always branded Henry Cow or Art Bears as ‘left wing’. “
Chris Cutler (drummer, Henry Cow/Art Bears/etc): ”Of course. Extremely. If you hate this government, and everything it stands for.”

I witnessed Henry Cow live for the first time at a “free” concert held one afternoon in a room at Finchley Town Hall in 1974 supporting The Global Village Trucking Co.

The culmination of the performance came when guitarist Fred Frith trod on a tatty and evidently useless acoustic and brought the hat around to “pay for repairs”. Recognising this as a piece of “show”, I was simultaneously bamboozled and excited by the incomprehension I felt at their improvisations.

I also appreciated the anti-rock/agit-prop stylings, particularly Frith’s beanie hat and cricket jumper, and the insistence on sitting down during even the most energetic extemporising (was Jah Wobble also taking note? I shall have to ask him).

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