Paul Gorman is…

The Peter Small connection: George O’Dowd at Street Theatre, The Regal + The Foundry

Jun 19th, 2013

//George O'Dowd in Street Theatre, 12 Ganton Street, central London, 1978. Photo (c): Boy George Collection//

I’ve been acting as a consultant to artist Lucy Harrison on her latest site specific project Carnaby Echoes, which focuses on the culturally fertile area of central London adjacent to Soho.

With the starting point of the opening of Murray’s Club in Beak Street in 1913, Harrison is mounting her artistic response to 100 years of musical history with archival material and fresh interviews with some of the area’s leading lights.

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John Stephen: Progenitor of a custom-built design movement

Oct 5th, 2012

“One day, ‘Carnaby Street’ could rank with ‘Bauhaus’ as a descriptive phrase for a design style and design legend.”

Ken and Kate Baynes, Design, August 1966.

Today is the seventh anniversary of Westminster Council’s dedication of a plaque in Carnaby Street to the late fashion retailer John Stephen, the 60s media darling dubbed “The £1m Mod” for his entrepreneurial success and flamboyant lifestyle (houses in Cannes and Milan, a white Alsatian named Prince who dined with him at his regular table at Mirabelle).

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Documentaries: Up pops Tommy Roberts in Three Swings On A Pendulum (1967)

Jul 31st, 2012

//Roberts, right, tries on a military greatcoat at I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet.//

Look out for an appearance by Tommy Roberts – subject of my new book – in the 1967 documentary Three Swings On A Pendulum, currently available for viewing (in the UK at least) on BBC iPlayer.

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Television: ARTE’s London Calling

Jun 14th, 2012

Continental Europe appears to have gone bananas for British popular culture this Jubilympics* summer, hence Franco-German arts channel ARTE’s new four-part series London Calling.

The programme was made by seasoned documentarist Simon Witter and looks to be a treat (particularly the intelligent use of archive material; great to see rare footage of John Stephen striding along Carnaby Street).

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Postcards: Carnaby Street 1966

Aug 16th, 2011

Carnaby Street postcard, 1968.

Back, Carnaby Street postcard, 1968.

This postcard’s over-amped application of colour (despite the “natural” tag on the back) contrasts deeply with the dowdiness of the buildings and the appearances of the inhabitants of the Swinging London über strasse on a summer’s day in 1966.

The disconnect – between projected lifestyle and everyday reality – sums up the 60s.

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Tommy Roberts: Peace ‘n’ love in Paris

May 16th, 2011

//Kleptomania in Rave magazine, October 1967.//

Tommy Roberts reminisces about the look of 1967:

By 1967 Haight Ashbury hippie culture had taken off in London.

At Kleptomania – my boutique around the corner from Carnaby Street at 10 Kingly Street – it was embraced with gusto.

Out went red guardsman’s tunics, Union Jack kipper ties, Victorian-style lacy mini dresses, soul music and anything to do with “Swinging London”.

In came trumpet-sleeved kaftans, Gypsy fringed shawls, psychedelic posters, joss sticks, peace ‘n’ love badges, Frank Zappa and Jefferson Airplane.

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