Paul Gorman is…

Before Wire and The Motors, The Snakes: My part in their punk rock obscurity

Nov 3rd, 2013

//Richard Wernham, Nick Garvey, Robert Gotobed, Rob Smith on the front cover of Teenage Head/Lights Out by The Snakes, Dynamo Records, 1976//

I went to a good school (it was approved, as my first editor would have it in the late 70s. You had to be there).

I was taken on as a scholarship boy, one who showed enough promise for the fees to be paid by the council.

But I was lazy, not as bright as I made out, unhappy, an under-achiever. Aside from winning the cross-country race when I was 14, my life there was almost entirely undistinguished, so preoccupied was I with music, clothes and girls. I had pretensions to vast knowledge in all three areas undercut by lack of experience in the latter regard.

//Booklet with Quadrophenia, an album about "a cat with four personalities" according to me, 1973//

//School report 1975: "If Paul is as familiar with DG Mackean's Introduction To Biology as he is with the NME, he will pass his O-Level. As it is, he isn't, so I fear he won't." And I didn't//

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“Late hippie fleur du mal to the power of N’: Nick Kent x 5 by Joe Stevens

Mar 12th, 2013

// Nick Kent, London 1974. Photo: Joe Stevens. "Taken at the NME offices on Long Acre. Our Nick looking dolled up, headed to the record company offices to score albums he'd presold to shops in The Gate. Kent would convert the cash into dope, fags, eyeliner, some threads, and an omelette at The Hall Of The Mountain Grill on Portobello Rd." //

Overseen by Nick Logan (with Jann Wenner across the Atlantic, the key figure in the development of the music press) the NME was happily in thrall to The New Journalism, striking alliances with such fellow travellers as Creem’s Lester Bangs and charging through the mid-70s doldrums with a manifesto which contributed to punk’s rhetoric. This was delivered with élan, a drugged-up Dog Days Of Glam sense of style. No one exemplifies this slurred, unsteady on its bony legs, fuck-you stance better than Nick Kent.

Introduction, In Their Own Write, 2001

Photographer Joe Stevens has recently posted on his website a set of reminiscences of working with Nick Kent, whose journalism – along with that of Pete Erskine, Chrissie Hynde, Charles Shaar Murray and Chris Salewicz - for the NME in the early-to-mid-70s helped set me on the path to writing for a living.

Kent backed up his verbals with a striking visual presence which trumped most mainstream pop performers of the period.

As Dylan Jones has recounted, it was to Kent that a waitress in a Chinese restaurant once gravitated for an autograph, not his dining companions Iggy Pop and David Bowie, “because he looked more of a rock star than the other two”.

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Anita Pallenberg: 1967 and all that

Jan 27th, 2011

//Anita Pallenberg + film-maker Harmony Korine, 2008. Photo: Eva Vermandel.//

A couple of years back I interviewed Anita Pallenberg – who celebrated her birthday yesterday – for Mojo magazine.

The subject was the scene in and around the King’s Road in 1967. Crisp and funny, Pallenberg was just as buzzed about the present;  visiting Karl Lagerfeld in Paris the next day, her interests in gardening and photography, the bargains to be found in charity shops and the notion of a collection based on the MA show from her studies at Saint Martins in the 90s.

A few months later, with her friend Anna Sui, Pallenberg participated in a rock & roll event I organised at the Port Eliot LitFest; after the show it was an honour to give her a vintage Vive Le Rock tee,which wore with élan.

Here’s a refreshed and re-edited chance to appreciate this bewitching figure whose combination of innate style, fashion-savviness and earthy sexuality brought Continental sophistication to Swinging London and turned it on its head:

Gawky gamins and dolly-birds melted into insignificance in the presence of the impressive 21-year-old who arrived in London in 1965 having already studied graphic design in her native Rome, assisted Vogue photographer Gianni Penati and modelled in Paris.

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