Paul Gorman is…

‘Misfits in the pantheon of pop’ : Barney Bubbles exhibition at Leamington Spa’s White Room Gallery this weekend

Apr 12th, 2016

//Four of the five 60in x 40in posters designed by Bubbles for the 1977 UK tour by Stiff Records’ artists//


//Jacket sported by Jake Riviera in the late 70s decorated with badges, adorned with a ‘Jesus Of Cool’ promotional tie produced for Nick Lowe and accompanied by a Roberta Bayley photograph of Riviera in the jacket in 1977//

Music fan and pop ephemera collector Mike Hobday is realising a long-held ambition this weekend with a show of designs by the late graphic artist Barney Bubbles at The White Room Gallery in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

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Design by Barney Bubbles – who would have been 71 today – for Mick Farren’s 1977 Stiff Records EP Screwed Up

Jul 30th, 2013

//7in sq paper sleeve, front: Screwed Up, Mick Farren, Stiff Records, 1977//

//7in sq paper sleeve, back: Screwed Up, Mick Farren, Stiff Records, 1977//

This is the sleeve designed by Barney Bubbles – would have been 71 today – for Screwed Up, the 1977 EP by the rabble-rousing writer and performer Mick Farren, who died at the weekend after collapsing onstage during a performance with his band The Deviants of their poem/song Cocaine & Gunpowder.

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In search of Laurie Cunningham, flamboyant footballer + north London soul boy

Nov 13th, 2012

//Laurie Cunningham aged 17, at Brisbane Road, home to Leyton Orient FC, 1973.//

In 1989, footballer Laurie Cunningham’s life was cut short by a car crash on the outskirts of Madrid. He was 33 years old.

By that time Cunningham had notched up a series of sporting firsts which resonated through the wider culture: a teenage signing to east London team Leyton Orient, Cunningham was the first black player to represent England (in 1977 as an under-21, scoring a winning goal against Scotland) and the first Englishman to play for Spanish giants Real Madrid (in 1979).

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Remembering Charles and Desmond Gorman

Nov 11th, 2012

//William Cowlishaw's memorial in Pozieres cemetry, final resting place of my uncle Desmond. From Silent Cities, RIBA, 1977.//

I have many times asked myself whether there can be more potent advocates of peace upon earth through the years to come than this multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of war.

George V, 1922.

The result of being the youngest offspring of parents of more advanced years than the norm, I am an anomaly of my generation (as is Mrs G of her’s) in that I have close relations who died in the First World War.

My father’s brothers Charles and Desmond Gorman both perished on the Western Front in 1918, the former aged 17 a bit more than a week before the cessation of hostilities. Desmond was 19 when he was killed outside Jussey in March that year.

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‘Someday, Babylon will pay’ – Sleevenotes: Joe Gibbs, Culture, Two Sevens Clash, 1977

Oct 22nd, 2012

A fundamentalist Christian ideology which extends religious zealotry to the oppression of women, cowardly homophobia and celebration of the world’s least interesting drug. Not a lot to love about Rastafarianism, particularly for one raised in an atmosphere of hard-line Catholicism.

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A visit to the International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Jul 15th, 2011

International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester.

Manchester’s International Anthony Burgess Foundation is a must-visit; not only does it contain the great man’s archive with many gems available for inspection, but in the cafe/foyer there are Burgess’ own author’s copies of his books for sale. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vinyl: John Cooper Clarke’s Innocents EP

Jun 21st, 2011

Front cover, Innocents EP, 1977.

Chance encounters with heroes can be tricky, but bumping into John Cooper Clarke outside the Festival Hall late one evening last week proved pleasurable beyond all expectation.

Clarke looked the bomb, naturally in dark glasses as midnight approached, his frame draped in a coat worn across the shoulders gangster-style with white silk scarf hanging loose. Charm personified, he returned my compliments with words of praise with which I’m still coming to terms.

It hasn’t taken much to versify them into this lame appropriation of Clarke’s rat-a-tat style:

“I know your work,

I’ve got The Look,

I was first on our block with that book.”

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Blessed & Blasted: J’aime, Je n’aime pas. 1975

Jun 17th, 2011

Roland Barthes in his office at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, 1963. Henri Cartier Bresson/Magnum.

Interesting to note that Roland Barthes’ “anarchic foam of tastes and distastes” is contemporaneous with You’re Gonna Wake Up. No surprise then that J’aime, je n’aime pas became the starting point for updates and personal interpretations among list-loving binary-fixated bloggers from the mid-Noughties onwards.

Here is a translation of the Great Signifier’s original, complete with coda:

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Posters: The Heartbreakers at The Speakeasy (1977)

Mar 15th, 2011

Thirty four years ago today The Heartbreakers played The Speakeasy.

The rock business haunt north of Oxford Circus had seen better times by this gig. I was taken by a member, a photographer at the agency where I worked. I remember being embarrassed by his long hair.

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I like a bit of a cavort: Iggy Pop

Mar 11th, 2011

You can’t beat Iggy for range: balletic posturing, arrhythmic shape-throwing, hand-held-high swaying (with mic lead clamped between teeth), the imploring bit on the knees and all-out floor-grovelling, they’re all here in this clip from 1977.

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