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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Michael Joseph’s 1971 ‘orgy’ shoot: Journey from Fernet-Branca billboard ad – starring Judy Nylon, Gala Pinion, Brent Sherwood, David ‘Piggy’ Worth et al – to covers of 90s/00s funk compilations

Nov 13th, 2016
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//The Michael Joseph image which was to be central to the 1971 Fernet-Branca campaign was featured in Dave Saunders’ survey Sex In Advertising, published by Batsford Books in 1996//

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//Front, Funk Spectrum, BBE Records, 1999. Photo: Michael Joseph//

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//Back, Funk Spectrum, BBE, 1999. Photo: Michael Joseph//

In 1971 the great advertising director and photographer Michael Joseph was commissioned to shoot a billboard campaign for the Italian digestif Fernet-Branca.

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‘Dreamers only need time and friends’: Judy Nylon on David ‘Piggy’ Worth and life in early 70s World’s End

Oct 18th, 2016
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//Judy Nylon at David “Piggy” Worth’s basement flat, Edith Grove, World’s End, London, 1971. Photo:©Tony Hall. No reproduction without permission//

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//Nylon and  Worth amid the cut-outs, props and mannequins in his flat, 1971. Photo: © Tony Hall. No reproduction without permission//

It is a great honour to feature this guest post by the artist and thinker Judy Nylon about her friend David “Piggy” Worth and their life and milieu in London at the turn of the 70s (brought up in Boston, Nylon had arrived in the UK capital at the start of the decade). The photographs, like those posted here at the weekend, were taken by Tony Hall as he set out on his career in photography, and have not been previously published…

THERE was a time when I smoked and owned skirts.

I lived at 14 Edith Grove, just south of Fulham Road, in a house owned by Donald and David Cammell just after they’d done Performance.

Piggy lived further down Edith Grove below the King’s Road, in a basement flat that was like stepping into his imagination. He had collections of clothes, props and small objects.

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//”Like stepping into his imagination.” Nylon and Worth and part of his clothing/antiques collection. Photo: © Tony Hall. No reproduction without permission//

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Indefatigable Ian Harris + The Earth: Pop culture maverick’s 60s rock roots come to light

Jan 10th, 2016
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//Front cover, Elemental, The Earth, Rare Vinyl, 2016. Design: Ian Harris//

Ian Harris is one of those London characters who turns up at various stages in the capital’s post-war pop culture narrative.

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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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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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Golden age of British boutiques evoked by Christie’s Pop Culture sale

Jun 22nd, 2013

//From the catalogue for next week's auction//

The spirit of great British boutique culture is summoned by a couple of lots in next week’s Pop Culture sale at Christie’s.

One is a previously unpublished June 1967 photograph of Jim Hendrix not in Carnaby Street as captioned, but outside the tobacconist Finlay’s, which was in Foubert’s Place. It’s evident from the carrier bag in his famous left hand that the guitarist had just visited  I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet, which was next door to Finlay’s and the place where he bought the Hussar’s jacket worn in this photograph and at Monterey Pop that same month.

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Previously unpublished: Rejected book review of Stone Free by Andrew Loog Oldham

Mar 5th, 2013

A couple of months back I was commissioned to review Andrew Loog Oldham’s latest book Stone Free for a website, but my copy was rejected on the basis of my use of  “criticism”; they prefer to keep things – in their words – “upbeat”.

I like the commissioner, think the site is good and had no problem with the rejection, but thought it may be of interest, so here it is:

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“I have little use for the past and do not give it much thought.”

Now that is rich.

One anticipates and has often applauded bare-faced sauce from the music business maverick turned self-chronicler Andrew Loog Oldham, author of Stoned (384 densely-packed pages of reflection on life from birth in 1944 to the point of managing the Rolling Stones in 1963, with “drug-cuts” into the 70s and 80s), 2Stoned (480 pages on his four-year stewardship of same) and a “fictionalised biography” of Abba (on which we need not dwell).

When this confession – even if it is soon qualified – arrives 10 chapters and 140 pages in to Oldham’s new digital-only tome Stone Free, it produces a whoop not of glee but of derision.

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Sleevenotes: GRIS-gris, DR JOHN the night tripper

Sep 6th, 2012

Sleevenotes for Gris Gris, Dr John The Night Tripper

“To you whom I may communicate with shortly through the smoke of Deaux-Deaux the rattlesnake whose forked tongue hisses pig Latin in silk and satin da-zaw-ig-day, may the gilded splinters of Auntie Andre spew forth in your path to light and guide your way through the bayous of life.”

For prime poetic mumbo-jumbo, look no further than the back cover text of Dr John’s debut LP Gris-Gris.

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Show soundtrack: Wigged out instros, cracked pop novelties, girl groups, soul, surf, punk, new wave + rock & roll classics

Jan 24th, 2012
Playlists for soundtrack to Lloyd Johnson: The Modern Outfitter

//Lloyd's lists.//

Popular music and the surrounding culture has been the primary inspiration for Lloyd Johnson’s work, so it’s important that The Modern Outfitter – which opens today at London gallery Chelsea Space – reflects the guiding relationship between sounds and vision with an especially selected soundtrack.

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