Paul Gorman is…

The legendary Harold The Ted + one of Mr Freedom’s ‘monstrous oddities’

Jan 30th, 2013

//Harold Harris with 10ft tall display item designed by Rod Stokes, Mr Freedom, 1971. Photo courtesy Andrew Greaves.//

Something of a legend in 70s British boutique circles, here is Harold The Ted in all his glory accompanying one of the extravagant display items at Mr Freedom in Kensington Church Street: a 10 foot tall cut-out representation of a glowering boy scout made by Electric Colour Company’s Rod Stokes.

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Exclusive: Inside Paradise Garage at 430 King’s Road with Electric Colour Company, 1971

Jan 27th, 2013

//Interior, 430 King's Road, Chelsea, May 1971. Note coconut matting, shack-style dressing room doors, trompe de l'oeil gate painted on stockroom door... and fake tiger. Photography: David Parkinson.//

I first wrote about Electric Colour Company – the design studio formed in the East End by four fine art students in the late 60s – in The Look and then in more detail here.

//Amid the singlets, printed sweatshirts and appliqued denim, a bamboo cage housed birds of paradise, suspended from the matting covered ceiling.//

In my view, ECC deserves much greater recognition for executing some very clever work in the field of retail design and interiors in the period 1969-1973.

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A must-see: Nick Abrahams retrospective at the ICA

Jan 23rd, 2013

//Nick Abrahams (second left) with actor Aidan Gillen (left) and crew, fox and animal trainer shooting Ekki múkk in woods near Amersham, Bucks, last year. Photo: Eva Vermandel.//

Film-maker – and Bloke Of Britain – Nick Abrahams is the much-deserved subject of a retrospective at the ICA over the next two nights.

Tomorrow (January 24) there will be an evening of films and promos by Abrahams, who was recently nominated for the British Council best short for his magical Ekki múkk  (which has already won best short film at the London Short Film Festival 2013). Made for Sigur Rós, this starred a snail (voiced by folk singer Shirley Collins), a fox and The Wire’s Aidan Gillen.

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Photography: Soho Pam by Carla Borel

Jan 23rd, 2013

Regulars on both sides of various Soho bars having been mourning the familiar figure the vast majority of us knew simply as Pam.

This portrait by photographer Carla Borel captures Pam’s charm, sweetness and light. And she’s in her element, outside The French.

Alastair Choat, landlord of The Coach & Horses, is hosting the wake for Pam after the funeral next Wednesday (January 30) from 3pm.

Read the obituary of Soho Pam here; at the time of writing this had been shared online more than 1,000 times within less than 24 hours of posting.

View Borel’s exemplary portfolio here.

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Journalism: Interviewing David Bowie on working with Eno + engaging with visual arts, 1995

Jan 18th, 2013

//Brian Eno + David Bowie interviewed by Anthea Turner for British breakfast TV at Flowers, east London, October 1994. This was to publicise the charity art show/auction Little Pieces From Big Stars. By this time the pair were collaborating again, on 1. Outside. For reasons now lost to me, I drove Brian to the gallery early that morning.//

I interviewed David Bowie a couple of the times in the 90s, having met him via fund-raising idea contributions I made to the music industry’s favoured charity, War Child. In the preceding months he had been an enthusiastic contributor to the art events Little Pieces From Big Stars (1994) and Pagan Fun Wear (1995).

This interview took place in the summer of 1995 when Bowie was promoting 1.Outside, notable in that it marked a return to collaboration with Brian Eno (who I also interviewed at the time for his work on that as well as another collaboration, with Jah Wobble on the ambient project Spinner).

Bowie had emerged from the maligned Glass Spider/Tin Machine period a couple of years earlier with more creditable, if not particularly memorable efforts, including The Buddha Of Suburbia soundtrack. He was also actively ploughing a furrow into the visual arts and already mutating as a musician and performer, soon to become a familiar presence on the international festival circuit and engaging in sorties into jungle manifested in the follow-up album Earthling (for which I also interviewed him).

Ideas crackled off Bowie throughout the conversation; Eno once told me that working with him on a song in the studio was like watching a fast-motion film of a flower blossom.

In our chat, Bowie even flew a kite about producing an album based around a fictional character Nathan Adler every year until 2000 culminating in a Robert Wilson-style epic theatrical production at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music. Of course these never came to fruition.

How did you come to hook up with Brian Eno again?
When Brian came to my wedding in 1992, I had instrumental pieces for what would eventually become a third of Black Tie White Noise – music that I composed to be played in the church and at the party afterwards. He explained he was working in a not dissimilar area and I was starting on The Buddha Of Suburbia, where I pretty much started to survey the territory I wanted to be involved in. After a series of conversations, working with Brian really came together in early March 1994.
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Justin de Blank: 1927-2012

Jan 5th, 2013

//Marque, Barney Bubbles, 1969.//

I interviewed the restaurateur and fine food champion Justin de Blank – who died last month aged 85 – for Reasons To Be Cheerful; de Blank recognised Barney Bubbles’ design talents when the pair met at the Conran Group’s design studio in the 60s.

//Justin de Blank, mid 70s. Courtesy Melanie de Blank.//

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At Johnny Rotten’s pad in Malcolm McLaren’s leather jeans 1978: The story behind the photograph

Jan 4th, 2013

This just in from Joe Stevens, following yesterday’s post about his new website: the story behind the photo with Johnny Rotten above, taken in London in 1978.

We were at his Gunter Grove digs in Fulham. Malcolm (McLaren) had left his grotty leathers in my flat in NYC during the Sid and Nancy murder doings. I had them dry cleaned. Never got the $90 for that one.
He had Glitterbest problems in London. So did Rotten. I was over there to do pictures of Public Image Limited.
He made a nice curry. I crashed there with him and Nora (Forster). Ari (Up, Forster’s daughter) would pop by often.
We watched her and The Slits record Heard It Thru The Grapevine and Chrissie (Hynde) rehearsing with her new Pretenders.
Yeah, he’s holding up his trousers with a strand of white cord.
I was later a witness at the High Court trial involving the band versus Glitterbest.
I tried on Malcolm’s leather trousers. Fell in love. It was a first. Went to London in them. Never took them off. Returned two weeks later to NYC wearing them.
Had them cleaned again. This time they didn’t survive. All I got back was swatches of leather in a bag.

Stevens’ new website is here.

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Recommended: Joe Stevens stars with Johnny Rotten, Andy Warhol et al on his new website

Jan 3rd, 2013

Joe Stevens needs no introduction here. These photographs of our man with Johnny Rotten and Andy Warhol are among the delights awaiting visitors to his newly refreshed website

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