Paul Gorman is…

The Face, May 1992: Love Sees No Colour

Apr 29th, 2014

//Cover: Boy George with Mica + Jade, styling David Mignon, photography Thomas Krygier//

From time to time I’m going to be turning over information and images here as I go through the process of writing my book Legacy: The story of The Face.

Today I spent an enjoyable and enlightening few hours interviewing former editor Richard Benson; during our conversation it became clear that one of the turning points in the history of this significant magazine occurred with the spring 1992 publication of the issue headed Love Sees No Colour.

This coincided with the High Court judgment against the magazine in the unfortunate libel case brought by actor/singer Jason Donovan on the grounds that he had been branded a liar and a hypocrite as a result of the inference that he was gay.


//The Face May 1992, pp6-7: Nick Logan’s editorial on the right//


//PP58-59: Left, montage by Keith Piper/Right, Kate Moss by Enrique Badalescu, styling Camille Nickerson + Lucy Ewing//


//PP38-39: Seen, Gilbert & George, 1989//

The theme of tolerance had been hatched by Benson’s predecessor Sheryl Garratt long before the dispute reached, in publisher Nick Logan’s words, “its unhappy conclusion”.

In terms of the magazine’s narrative, the issue affirmed The Face’s position as the lightning rod of the progress of popular culture in the inclusive 90s.


//PP76-77: Left, George O’Dowd in his Absolutely Queer T-shirt – “Homophobes are fine. I just don’t want them near my children.”/Right, Rebel MC in Michiko Koshino T-shirt, Ezra Oban + Dominique Kelly in Katharine Hamnett Protect + Survive vests. Photos: Kate Garner + Thomas Krygier//


//PP82-83: Left (top), Apachi Indian in One World shirt by Paul Smith, (below) Banderas in Love Sees No Colour shirts by Joe Casely-Hayford,/Right, Des’Ree in No To Negrophobia T-shirt by Trevor Norris. Photos: Kate Garner + Thomas Krygier//


//PP84-85: Left, (top left) Paul Reid in Face Love outfit by Dirk Bikkembergs, (top right) Charlotte Champion + Gabriella Stonebridge in Jean Colonna and Martin Margiela, (below) Colin “Sweet C” McMillan in Love Sees No Colour T-shirt by Gio Goi and Turn Your Nose Up At Racism by Bella Freud/Right, Michael Clark in Nazi Shithead outfit by Leigh Bowery. Photos: Kate Garner + Thomas Krygier//

Designed by Boris Bencic and Lee Swillingham, the issue tipped the hat to those figures who had played a part in the 80s story – Boy George, Paul Smith, Leigh Bowery – and also hit the mark with the generation setting the pace for the new decade, whether it be Joe Bloggs, Kate Moss or Martin Margiela.

Produced in an all-hands-to-the-pump atmosphere, with Logan and Garratt in daily court attendance and the all-too-real prospect of forced closure as a result of the huge legal bills resulting from the Donovan case, The Face May 1992 is a cracking issue, one which stands up as a consummate example of journalistic excellence achieved under duress.

Legacy: The story of The Face is published by Thames & Hudson in autumn 2017.

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Photography: Grab a chance to go see Tom Sheehan’s Analogue

Dec 4th, 2013
courtney love

//Courtney Love, backstage, Reading Festival, 1994. © Tom Sheehan//

Tom Sheehan may be known as a “rock photographer” – a déclassé term for any old snapper with access – but is really an exacting and highly adept portraitist who chooses musicians as his subjects because, put simply, music is his abiding passion.

I write as someone with the inside, having first encountered Sheehan in the late 70s glory days of one of the finest London pubs of our individually but carefully compiled experience, the eccentric Wickwood Tavern, situated in Camberwell’s Loughborough Junction, hosted by the glorious Syd and his pot boy Roy and populated by a wild and wonderful set of attendees from Mad Pat Collins to No Neck Neenan to George O’Dowd.

Right back then, when Sheehan was making his bones as a freelancer for Melody Maker and various record companies, his love for, and knowledge of, music knew no bounds. Consequently, as I devoured everything I could get my hands on at that age, I gained an education in the distaff likes of, say, John Cooper Clark or Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks.

We reconnected a couple of years ago; following Tom’s Instagram adventures is but one of the pleasures of falling back into Sheehan’s circle.


His current exhibition Analogue has been rightly acclaimed a success, and the run justifiably extended until December 17. If you’re in town do yourselves a favour and grab the chance to take in Sheehan’s cool, calm and collected body of work.

Analogue is at Lomography in Spitalfields – see here.



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Coming this week: Lucy Harrison’s multi-layered Carnaby Echoes + Nick Knight’s PUNK at Showstudio

Sep 1st, 2013

//Clockwise from top left: Cover, Helen And Desire, 1970; George O'Dowd, photo: Richard Bevan, 2013; Carnaby Street book and Palisades swing tag, 1970 and 1966; front cover, Anarchy In The UK newsprint fanzine, 1976//

I’m involved in a couple of events which open in London this week: artist Lucy Harrison’s multi-layered project Carnaby Echoes in the West End and photographer Nick Knight’s exhibition Punk at his Showstudio space in SW1.

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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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Dancing: Eve Gallagher on Dance Energy

Jul 29th, 2011

1990 was a highpoint year for British pop as dance infiltrated almost every musical genre.

And BBC2’s Dance Energy was fabulous pop TV, taking the format from Soul Train and showcasing the audience as the stars.

Here dance diva Eve Gallagher – dressed to the pervy nines + signed to George O’Dowd’s sorely-underrated label More Protein – provides an opportunity for the Dance Energy crowd to demonstrate the full range of moves and styles from that great year: Funki Dredds, B-Boys and Daisy Agers shift a gear amid an array of Raiders garms, Po’ Boy caps, knapsacks, pendants, Baggy tops + jeans, leotards, MA-1-style jackets, dungarees, blunt-cut fringes, etc.

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Classifieds: Jerry Nolan’s advert in Rolling Stone June 14 1969

Mar 29th, 2011

I haven’t had it confirmed – nor seen this in any music history – but I believe this line ad to have been placed by Jerry Nolan three years before he replaced Billy Murcia as the drummer in the New York Dolls.

It appeared in the June 14, 1969 edition of Rolling Stone, the “first British issue” of the magazine produced in collaboration with newly recruited staff in London.

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