Paul Gorman is…

Happy Birthday British rock and R&B, born 55 years ago tonight at the Ealing Club when Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Eric Burdon gathered around Alexis Korner

Mar 17th, 2017

//Top: Entrance to Ealing Club stairwell with jeweller’s to its right, early 1960s. Photo: ealingclub.com. Above: The entrance as it is today//

“Suburbia is the breeding ground for the richest and most innovative cultural production of the 20th and 21st centuries” Rupa Huq, writer and MP for Ealing Central & Acton, 2013

An advert in the New Musical Express for a “Rhythm & Blues Night” staged 55 years ago today – on St Patrick’s Night, March 17, 1962 – sparked the British musical revolution which soundtracked youth culture in the West for decades.

The ad proved a lure for suburban London teenage r&b fans including Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, while Eric Burdon, soon to be vocalist with The Animals, hitchhiked the 300 miles from Newcastle to join them in witnessing the main performance by Blues Incorporated (in fact he and Jagger traded verses on stage during a rendition of Billy Boy Arnold’s I Ain’t Got You).

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Granny Takes A Trip + Mr Freedom boots: Were they originally owned by Elton?

Mar 12th, 2015

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//The four pairs of boots are classic examples of early 70s rock n roll style//

These rare and unusual boots are thought to have once belonged to Elton John; the current owner was told this when he acquired them.

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When Jesus danced with the Sex Pistols

Jan 29th, 2014
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//From Vacant by Nils Stevenson, photo: Ray Stevenson//

If you are of a London gig-goer of a certain (getting on to be advanced) age you will remember “Jesus”, an enthusiastic audience member at many musical events in the capital from the 60s to the late 70s.

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//Detail: Hynde, Rotten, Matlock and Jesus. Photo: Ray Stevenson//

Jesus was notable because a) he was personable and b) would often discard his clothes as he energetically idiot-danced stage-front. Jesus liked to frolic with abandon, more often than not exposing much, or even all of his rail-thin body.

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Another of Mr Freedom’s ‘monstrous oddities’: Sue + Simon Haynes’ giant blue fun-fur gorilla

Mar 18th, 2013

//Mirabelle, May 2, 1970//

From the archive of the late Tommy Roberts, this image from British teen fashion magazine Mirabelle shows a particularly outré commission from fashion’s master of flamboyant retailing: a 7ft high rendition of a King Kong-style gorilla in blue fun fur created by the design team Sue and Simon Haynes.

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Glam comes into focus: Karl Stoecker’s fashion shoot for Club International October 1972

Jul 25th, 2012


Tucked away at the back of an issue of British soft-porn magazine Club International was a fashion shoot featuring clothing elements which denoted the crystallisation of the new art-directed glam aesthetic inaugurated by the release of Roxy Music’s first album a couple of months previously.

The photographer was Karl Stoecker, the New Yorker who had been resident in the UK since the mid-60s and was coming into his own with important contributions to Roxy’s visual identity across that LP and its successors For Your Pleasure and Stranded.

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The mystery of Pierre Laroche’s Breakfast, The Who at Charlton + the tragic demise of Alkasura’s John Lloyd

Mar 22nd, 2012

Pierre's Breakfast, 1974, by Willie Christie.

I am beguiled by this photograph, which is entitled Pierre’s Breakfast and was taken by Willie Christie at David Hockney’s house in Notting Hill on May 18, 1974.

The identities of the two individuals on the left are a mystery*; with Clark (in the white jumpsuit) are make-up artist Pierre Laroche, Marianne Faithfull and Michael Roberts (then writer/photographer at The Sunday Times, now Vanity Fair’s fashion/style director). Behind the group are a selection of artist Mo McDermott’s signature painted wooden tree sculptures.

Laroche, who had worked at Elizabeth Arden for five years before taking up with rock & roll when he was recruited by Brian Duffy for the cover of David Bowie’s 1973 album Aladdin Sane, engaged Willie Christie for the May 74 session for a potential magazine feature.

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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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BeatBooks 56: Burroughs

Feb 10th, 2011

//Front cover photo by Harriet Crowther.//

A brown envelope I’m always glad to receive is that containing the latest BeatBooks catalogue.

Each quarter the arrival of the 8″ x 6″ booklet soon results in the tapping out of the url of the online order form for Andrew Sclanders’ site.

And the catalogues are treasurable in their own right.

Over the last decade or so Sclanders has carved out a niche for BeatBooks as collector central for all publications – literary, musical, graphic – springing from “beat” and moving through the counterculture and punk to the outer reaches of the avant-garde.

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