Paul Gorman is…

Chris Spedding: Unsung hero of Seventies style from Alkasura + Granny Takes A Trip to Let It Rock, Sex + Seditionaries

Mar 13th, 2016
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//In Let It Rock Rock ‘N Roll Lives Chuck Berry T-shirt, 1975. Photo: Ian Dickson/Getty Images//

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//Also 1975 – pink pegs from Sex. Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images//

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//At home in London, 1978. Photo: Fin Costello/Getty Images//

Guitarist Chris Spedding at a Nico show at CBGB, February 1979.

//At a Nico show at CBGB, February 1979. Photo: Ebet Roberts/Getty Images//

Guitarist Chris Spedding is one of the unsung heroes of Seventies style.

I’ve been a fan of his music and look since 1974, when I acquired Jab It In Yore Eye. This was the second album by Sharks, formed by Spedding with other survivors of the early 70s music scene after leaving jazz-rock outfit Nucleus and gigging with Jack Bruce.

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The Conformist: A vibrant, eccentric, chaotic delight – miss out at your peril!

Feb 23rd, 2016

//Leporello for The Conformist featuring (far left), David Parkinson’s unusual entry in his 1970 photography degree show at London’s Regent Street Poly//


//Paul Kindersley at last night’s exhibition opening//

The Conformist – artist Paul Kindersley’s counter intuitively-titled group show about non-conformity of expression from Emma, Lady Hamilton and Aubrey Beardsley to Marvin Gaye Chetwynd and Julie Verhoeven – opened with a bang last night with a private view at Mayfair’s art and jewellery space Belmacz.

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Truth And Soul: Sylvain Sylvain relaunches a cult rock’n’roll fashion label

Feb 11th, 2016

//Sylvain in the streets of Austin last week//

On a recent trip to Austin, Texas, I enjoyed many encounters with members of the region’s creative community, not least expat British sci-fi Titan Michael Moorcock and his delightful wife Linda, transplanted Westernwear expert Jerry Ryan and his Heritage Boot emporium and, as previously noted here, the charming duo Jesse Sublett and Lois Richwine.

I also had fun with the visiting New York Doll Sylvain Sylvain Mizrahi, in town for a residency at the Hotel Vegas, on the the city’s hip eastside.

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Talking Punk London: In the City 1975-78 on Gary Crowley’s Soho Radio show this afternoon

Feb 9th, 2016


This afternoon I’m the guest on DJ Gary Crowley’s show on London-based digital station Soho Radio.

I’ll be talking about Punk London: In The City 1975-78 – my map collaboration with Herb Lester Associates which is published on Friday (February 12) – and also playing a highly personal selection of songs in the spirit of the project where we aim to sidestep the cliches and show another side to the oft-told punk story.

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The Third Earl Of Harrow: Screaming Lord Sutch at Let It Rock

Dec 10th, 2015

Modernize your old culture! Be up to date! Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges installation well underway

Sep 23rd, 2015



Intended for the public. Easy reading

Collectors and museums,
be modern
If you have old paintings,
do not despair.
Keep your memories
But detourne them
So they correspond to your time
Why reject the old [paintings]
If one can modernize them?
With a few brushstrokes
Modernize your old culture
Be up to date
and distinguished at the same time
Painting is over
Better give it the final blow
Long live painting

Asger Jorn, exhibition catalogue, Galerie Rive Gauche, Paris, May 1959. Translation: Young Kim.

Among the pertinent exhibits of our forthcoming show Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges is the statement disavowing traditional approaches to artistic creation made by the Danish artist and writer Asger Jorn in the late 50s.

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Eddie, Elvis + Gene: Let It Rock’s glitter-printed tailored and customised t-shirts based on James Dean’s in Rebel Without A Cause

Sep 18th, 2015

//Model wears studded and accessorised Let It Rock ‘Gene’ glitter print shirt, Musik Express, November 1972. Photo: Unknown//

Thanks to Mr Mondo for turning me onto Glam Idols, a goldmine of early 70s music and fashion images.

Lovingly presented and well credited, many of the photographs on the feed derive from continental European publications, like the 1972 shot above of a German model in a glitter t-shirt from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s 50s outlet Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road.

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From Vive la Commune! in 1881 to Vive le Rock! in 1972: How a Chinese Communist Party pamphlet inspired one of the great Malcolm McLaren designs

Aug 20th, 2015


//From top left: Chinese Communist Party pamphlet, 1971; McLaren in Let It Rock 1972; Proclamation by Engels and Marx, 1881; Title lettering, Belgian film poster, 1958; Little Richard compilation, 1972; Repro of McLaren’s 1972 t-shirt collage//

A year or so ago I established the source material for one of the first designs generated by Malcolm McLaren in the fashion partnership he conducted with Vivienne Westwood in the 70s and early 80s.

Now I can reveal the inspiration: text contained in an unprepossessing Communist booklet celebrating the short-lived “Paris Commune” government of 19th Century revolutionary France.

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Found! The source of the Jerry Lee image in Let It Rock’s Killer Rocks On t-shirt

Jul 29th, 2015
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//Lobby card for High School Confidential!, 1958. This is from the opening scene, where Lewis sings the movie’s title track//

Let It Rock was digging in the ruins of past cultures that you cared about. It was giving them another brief moment in the sun. It wasn’t about doing anything new. It was an homage. It was nostalgia.
Malcolm McLaren to Momus, 2002

Forty three years after its creation I can reveal the source of the Jerry Lee Lewis image which appeared on the Let It Rock t-shirt design “The ‘Killer’ Rocks On!”.

It is from a lobby card for Alan Freed’s 1958 rocksploitation flick High Street Confidential!; an original was just one of the pieces of 50s ephemera adorning Let It Rock’s premises at 430 King’s Road in 1972.

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I Groaned With Pain: Malcolm McLaren’s own t-shirts to feature in exhibition of status quo-disrupters

Jul 17th, 2015

//The t-shirts show the deliberate production of variants within the limited edition designed and written by McLaren and printed on the simple square pattern produced by Vivienne Westwood in 1974. © Malcolm McLaren Estate//

Two of Malcolm McLaren’s t-shirts from the very first production run of I Groaned With Pain – the notorious text design produced with Vivienne Westwood in 1974 – will be featured in Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges, the exhibition I am co-curating with David Thorp at Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery this autumn.


//T-shirt with central tear on light blue jersey with exterior seaming, labelled, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, 1974. 360mm x 375mm. © Malcolm McLaren Estate//

I Groaned With Pain is named after the first four words of the paragraph of text McLaren lifted from beat writer Alexander Trocchi’s erotic novel Helen And Desire (published in 1954 by Olympia Press under the pseudonym Francis Lengel).

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