Paul Gorman is…

Judy Nylon in McLaren’s Smoking Boy shirt with Nick Kent in Granny’s and Brian James in leathers, inside The Roxy 1977

Jun 2nd, 2017

//From left: Kent, James and Nylon. Please advise if you are the photographer or know their identity//

Artist/thinker Judy Nylon has sent me this great shot taken at London punk haven The Roxy in the spring of 1977.

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‘Don’t look over your shoulder, but the Sex Pistols are coming’: 40th anniversary of their first review

Feb 12th, 2016

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Today is the 40th anniversary of the gig at central London venue The Marquee by the Sex Pistols which generated their first substantial media coverage, a prescient 200-word review by Neil Spencer on page 31 of the February 21, 1976 issue of the New Musical Express.

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David Bowie’s unwitting role in the transformation of 430 King’s Road from Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die to SEX

Jul 10th, 2015
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//David Bowie recording the Diamond Dogs LP at Olympic Studios, Barnes, south-west London, January 1974 during his residency in Chelsea’s Oakley Street. Photo © Kate Simon//

1. BLOW UP TFTLTYTD front

//Malcolm McLaren and Gerry Goldstein in front of the Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die facade, 430 King’s Road, London, summer 1973. © Malcolm McLaren Estate//

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//Malcolm McLaren in Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die designs, Chelsea, London, from New Musical Express, April 6, 1974 . Photo: © Pennie Smith//

It is a little known fact that David Bowie was an occasional visitor to 430 King’s Road when it was operating as Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die.

This manifestation of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s revolutionary boutique  – which paid design tribute to the fetishistic studded leather attire of Britain’s early 60s Ton Up Boys and rockers and sold the cult clothing associated with 40s mobsters and Latino zoot suit rioters – succeeded the 50s outlet Let It Rock in the early spring of 1973, as noted at the time by the fashion writer Catherine Tennant in British Vogue.

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//From British Vogue, April 1, 1973//

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Joe Stevens: Rare shot of Joe Strummer entering his punk rock future on the night of the Sex Pistols’ audience fracas

Sep 30th, 2013

//Joe Strummer, then frontman of the 101'ers, with bassist Dan Kelleher onstage at The Nashville Rooms, west London, April 23, 1976. Photo: Joe Stevens//

These photographs are among images to be featured in Clash Tales, Joe Stevens’ narrated audio-visual event about his experiences with The Clash at Sonny’s Tavern in Dover, New Hampshire, next week.

//The Clash bassist Paul Simonon, Electric Ladyland, August 1978. Photo: Joe Stevens//

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London punk demi-monde Polaroids from Jonathan Ross: The return of Chrissie Hynde + Kate Simon with Tamasin Day-Lewis, Gina Louthan, Ruth Marten, Judy Nylon, Patti Palladin, Jon Savage and…John Betjeman

May 8th, 2013

//All photos (c) Jonathan Ross//

Here are more previously unpublished images from London’s punk demi-monde.

Coincident to receiving Joe Stevens’ photograph of the pre-Pretenders Chrissie Hynde and photographer Kate Simon in Malcolm McLaren’s Sex Pistols Nude Boy shirts, collector/gallerist/Londoner Jonathan Ross supplied me with this fabulous selection of Polaroids taken at his west London house in the same period.

These include Hynde and Simon as well as their fellow Americans-about-town, the performers Judy Nylon and Patti Palladin and artist/tattooist Ruth Marten, writers Tamasin Day-Lewis and Jon Savage, Ross himself, his girlfriend Gina Louthan and Sir John Betjeman.

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Chrissie Hynde + Kate Simon in Malcolm McLaren’s Sex Pistols Smoking Boy T-shirts

May 6th, 2013

//Photographer Kate Simon and performer Chrissie Hynde (lifting the front of her mohair jumper from Sex), London, 1976. (c) Joe Stevens//

This photograph – taken by Joe Stevens in early 1976 in Fulham, west London – is featured in the exhibition Just Chaos!, which opens tomorrow (May 7) at Marc Jacobs’ Bleecker Street NYC bookstore BookMarc.

The T-shirts worn by Simon and Hynde were among the first variants of a limited edition designed by Malcolm McLaren to promote the newly formed Sex Pistols. A few were also sold in Sex, the environmental installation/shop operated by McLaren with Vivienne Westwood at 430 King’s Road in World’s End, Chelsea.

“Malcolm dropped the shirts off at my Finborough Road studio; they were freshly silk-screened from a limited edition,” says Stevens, then working for the NME and living with Simon (who was employed by rival music paper Sounds). “Chrissie was living in a squat and cleaning offices for a living. She’d drop by the pad to take showers. I’d hear her singing in there and realised she had a wonderful voice.”

McLaren produced the designs with the express aim of promoting the new group. “This was my first attempt at making a Sex Pistols T-shirt,” he told me in 2006. “I wanted to create something of a stir.”

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Bowie Style tonight: In conversation with Boy George at the V&A

Apr 9th, 2013

Tonight I am hosting an event at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum: an ‘in conversation’ with Boy George about the importance and influence of popular culture’s greatest manipulator of visual identity, David Bowie.

//George O'Dowd overlooked by Big Brother in his room at a squatted house in Carburton Street, central London, 1978.//

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The Bill Burroughs scarf

Apr 1st, 2011

Over on GQ Eye, Glenn O’Brien writes about this Bill Burroughs scarf produced by Kate Simon from a sequence of her photographs of the master.

Read O’Brien’s post here.

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Photography: Kate Simon

Feb 18th, 2011

This portrait of David Bowie was taken by Kate Simon at Olympic recording studios in Barnes, west London, on January 14, 1974.

Simon’s photograph captures a man on the cusp; furiously occupied in the studio, Bowie was tying up loose ends ahead of his departure for America 10 weeks later. He hasn’t lived in Britain since.

Three days before this was taken, Bowie’s production job on Lulu’s version of The Man Who Sold The World was released as a single. Applying himself to finishing Diamond Dogs, Bowie also recorded such eventually unreleased tracks as Take It Right (to become Right, a “plastic soul”  anthem on Young Americans) and a try-out of Bruce Springsteen’s Growin’ Up.

Sessions with vocal trio The Astronettes – including paramour Ava Cherry – had proved inconclusive, though an olive branch recently extended to erstwhile producer Tony Visconti soon bore fruit in the form of renewed collaboration.

A month after the shot was taken, Rebel Rebel was released ahead of the marathon US touring schedule over 1974/5 which marked the severing of business relations with Tony Defries and the faltering of his marriage to Angie.

I wanted to talk to Simon about the stories behind this image and others which deliver an emotional charge yet retain the reportage stance of the cool documentarist.

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