Paul Gorman is…

Desirable ties + lots more from East London’s exuberant EsDes

Dec 19th, 2014


I’m really proud of my niece Esme Bradbury, whose exuberant handmade designs via her label EsDes have received a boost with inclusion at the Craft Council’s Established East London pop up shop at Westfield Stratford.

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Ramen-scarfing ‘Straight Press’ photographer Joe Stevens’ line ad in Frendz, June 1971

May 23rd, 2013

//From Frendz, June 24, 1971//

I’m a fiend for line ads in print media; all human life is contained in the few words demanding the casual reader’s attention.

Leafing through a 1971 issue of British underground magazine Frendz (which had previously been titled Friends) I spied this ad, and wondered whether it might have been placed by the American photographer Joe Stevens. The number has a west London prefix and he was living in that part of town at the time.

I fired off an email and received this reponse earlier today:

Yes. That’s me. Ramen-scarfing “Straight Press” Joe. Looking for work, living on £10 a week, not eligible for the dole.

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Wearing the clothing of Mr Walter Mitty: Jemima Dury selects from her Dad’s wardrobe ++++++++++ Also: WIN a signed copy of her new book ‘Hallo Sausages’

Oct 15th, 2012

//Detail, Ian Dury's Billy Bentley boxing gown, commissioned from Sex, 1974. Photographer: Adrian Turner.//

Ian Dury was as much a visual as verbal stylist.

The late performer’s wordsmithery comes into focus in daughter Jemima’s soon-to-be-released book ‘Hallo Sausages’, which also conveys his rich and idiosyncratic sartorial presence.

Published by Bloomsbury on October 28, ‘Hallo Sausages’ presents lyrics to 170 of Dury’s songs, some scribbled and heavily anotated, others meticulously typed and displayed to best effect in the book design by another member of Dury’s extended family, Jake Tilson (brother of Dury’s widow Sophy; their father is the eminent British artist Joe Tilson).

Making a merit of the archival jumble Dury left behind on his death in 2000 (a bunch of lyrics were found in a carrier bag bearing Barney Bubbles’ familiar Blockhead logo), this is a lovingly put-together document, the songs and Jemima Dury’s reminiscences adorned by a bank of rare, personal and professionally-taken images.

To celebrate the publication of ‘Hallo Sausages’, here’s a selection of key items from Jemima’s Dad’s wardrobe with some background material sourced from my recent book about one-time Kilburn & The High Roads manager Tommy Roberts. Jemima has also contributed a couple of images from her own archive.

Meanwhile, at the end of this post, there’s an opportunity to win a signed copy of ‘Hallo Sausages’.

//Onstage at London's Lyceum, 1981. Photographer: David Corio.//

Pearly King jacket

Rooted as he was in London lore, Dury added this authentic Pearly King jacket to his stage ensemble in the late 70s. According to Sophy Dury, he later found out it had belonged to an Eastender named John Snow (hence “JS Of Mile End” on the back). Snow’s mother had loaned the jacket to her friend Mrs. E. Rainbird, who wore it on VE Níght.
In a 1985 letter to the BBC radio broadcaster Libby Purves (who interviewed Dury that year) Mrs Rainbird wrote that she recognised the jacket from his TV appearances. Purves complied with her request to pass the letter outlining the provenance to Dury, who put it in one of the jacket pockets, where it remains.

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Keith Allen’s Breakfast Pirate Radio featuring ‘Northern Industrial Gay’ Jerry Arkwright + Boots Sex Dread

Aug 1st, 2012

Plus ca change…

Tucked away in the June 1983 edition of The Face was this news story about a brave broadcasting venture, the scabrous and short-lived Breakfast Pirate Radio.

//Proof of front cover of Programme 1 by Station BPR, Utility, 1983. Design: Barney Bubbles.//

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V&A talk today: King’s Road from Mary Quant to Malcolm McLaren + Vivienne Westwood

Jun 30th, 2012


This morning I am participating in the V&A’s study day From Biba To Topshop with a presentation on the rise and fall of boutique culture in London’s King’s Road, starting with the opening of Bazaar by Archie Nairn, Alexander Plunket-Green and Mary Quant at 138a in 1955 and closing with the establishment of World’s End at 430 by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.

More details here.

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Interview for ARTE documentary on British music’s scenemakers

Dec 6th, 2011
ARTE crew setting up in basement for interview for look of British music doc.

//TV crew sets up in the basement.//

Yesterday I was visited by a camera crew for an interview about the behind-the-scenes individuals who have made the difference to British popular music over the years.

The team, from Kobalt Productions in Berlin, are producing the documentary for Franco-German arts channel ARTE. The director is Simon Witter, who has a fine pedigree in journalism and broadcasting.

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I like a bit of a cavort: Duck For the Oyster

Jun 10th, 2011

Malcolm McLaren’s musical brilliance was first showcased on the seamless + timeless Duck Rock; it’s a really jumping record and this is one of the many highlights.

Sure Malcolm would have appreciated this Youtube collagist’s approach; the footage is from David Hoffman’s 1965 film  “Bluegrass Roots”, shot in Madison County, North Carolina. There’ll be contributors to online Ivy League forums creaming their chinos to the gear worn in this (I like the Elvis-style bell sleeve shirt worn by one chap).

Now dos-e-do + promena-a-a-de!

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The Cowboys came from Colt Studio

May 11th, 2011

//Longhorns Dance by Colt (Jim French) from Manpower! issue 7, 1974.//

My theorising over the roots of the Cowboys t-shirt has uncovered the true source of the main image: a 1969 drawing by the artist Jim French reproduced in a 1974 issue of his magazine Manpower!.

French has an international following for his gay-themed photographic + illustrative work, via his Colt Studio image-bank and work as “Rip Colt” and “Luger”.

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Roots of the Cowboys t-shirt

May 5th, 2011


The late Malcolm McLaren said he could never remember the origins of one of the most potent designs to emanate from 430 King’s Road in its six-decade history as a fashion emporium: the Cowboys t-shirt.

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Sex Pistols: The very first media mention

Apr 13th, 2011

//From a review of the Queen Elizabeth College All Night Christmas Ball by Kate Phillips, New Musical Express, December 27, 1975.//

This is something of an exclusive.

Not published in the 36 years since appearing in the issue of the New Musical Express dated December 27, 1975, this is the very first media mention of the Sex Pistols (just seven weeks after their live debut).

These sentences were written by NME staffer Kate Phillips in her review of the All Night Christmas Ball on November 27 1975 at Queen Elizabeth College (then in Campden Hill, Kensington, west London).

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