Paul Gorman is…

Don’t Knock The Rock: John E. Reed’s eternal image of exuberant Little Richard

Apr 20th, 2017

//London Records promotional image, 1958//

In 1956 the Hollywood photographer John E. Reed took a series of promotional shots of the stars of DJ Alan Freed’s rocksploitation flick Don’t Knock The Rock.

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Jordan Mooney remembers David ‘Piggy’ Worth and Patrick Lichfield’s 50s photoshoot for The Beatles Rock ‘N’ Roll Music

Oct 28th, 2016
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//Jordan Mooney and David “Piggy” Worth. From photo by Patrick Lichfield, 1976//

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//As they appeared in the Parlophone full-page advert for The Beatles compilation Rock “n”Roll Muisc, New Musical Express, June 26, 1976//

“He was a man full of wit and charm who always had an eye for new and exciting things. His special characteristics were kindness and forethought”

Jordan Mooney, 2016 

Following my recent blogs on the life of the late fashion model David “Piggy” Worth, here is a gem: Sex and Seditionaries superstar Jordan Mooney recalls her friend and in particular the time Worth urged her to join him in a 50s photoshoot by royal photographer Patrick Lichfield.

This was used for an advert and poster promoting Rock ‘N’ Roll Music, a compilation of previously released cover versions recorded by The Beatles between 1962 and 1970.

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The Filth & The Fury: Punk Fashion at the NFT tomorrow with Amber Butchart + SEX & Seditionaries superstar Jordan Mooney

Aug 5th, 2016

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Tomorrow I’m a guest of historian Amber Butchart at London’s National Film Theatre for a conversation and q&a about Punk fashion with her special invitee Jordan Mooney, SEX and Seditionaries superstar and inner member of the Sex Pistols circle.

I’ve put together a presentation from my archive to run during our chat, including images of Jordan’s striking series of visual personae and slides showing how the designs by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood at 430 King’s Road were regularly featured in the fashion and national press from the early 70s to the time of Punk later in the decade.

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//Selection of Let It Rock designs showcased in a May 1972 issue of The Sunday Times Magazine. Photos: Hans Feurer. Paul Gorman Archive//

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Sharks: The return of the Sharkmobile and a great shot of the band with Nora Foster in Let It Rock designs

Jul 8th, 2016
LONDON - JANUARY 1973: The Shark Car photographed in West London on 8th January 1973 (Photo by Brian Cooke/Redferns) *** Sharks;The Shark Car ***

//Island Records promo shot of the Sharkmobile outside the long closed Blenheim Arms,  Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, west London, on January 8, 1973. Photo: Brian Cooke//

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//Sharks surround Nora Foster, 1974. From bottom left: keyboard player Nick Judd (in Wonder Workshop jacket); drummer Marty Simon, bassist Busta “Cherry” Jones, frontman Snips and guitarist Chris Spedding in Let It Rock Rock N Roll Lives/Chuck Berry tee. Photo: Dick Polak//

Singer-songwriter  Steve “Snips” Parsons has been in contact; the reunion of early 70s British rock band Sharks (which he fronted) moves apace – with an album out in September, next week they are launching a crowdfunding appeal to bring back the so-called Sharkmobile.

This was guitarist Chris Spedding’s Pontiac Le Mans which – at the behest of their record company boss Chris Blackwell – was decorated with fibreglass shark’s teeth and a fin and appeared on the back cover of the group’s debut LP First Water.

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Punk Fashion at the NFT on Aug 6: Sidestepping cliches with Amber Butchart + Jordan Mooney

Jun 28th, 2016
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//Jordan Mooney, Gallery International, Vol 1, no 4, 1976//

On August 6 I am taking part in a discussion about Punk visual style and culture with fashion historian Amber Butchart and Jordan Mooney, the sales assistant superstar at Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shops at 430 King’s Road in the 70s who became a fashion inspiration and role model in her own right.

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//Jordan Mooney in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee, 1978. Photo: BFI//

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Fabulousness: Rarely-seen footage of Kansai Yamamoto’s game-changing 1971 King’s Road catwalk show

Mar 19th, 2016

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“It was a spectacular coup de théâtre – Kansai’s models came on moving. They leapt, ran, whirled like dervishes, danced, flung out their arms so that the brilliant colours meshed and merged into a kaleidoscopic cartoon of colour. Kansai himself, black-clothed and masked, moved across the stage like a Samurai warrior, tearing off layers and layers of clothes, stripping down the beautiful, pyramidal outer garments, right down to the vests and body paint. Kansai’s clothes épatent les couturiers.”

Harpers & Queen, July 1971

As fuzzy as they are, the two precious video clips at the end of this post convey the game-changing nature of  Kansai Yamamoto’s theatrical introduction of avant-garde Japanese fashion design to these shores at the dawn of the 70s.

They also reveal the extent to which the late David Bowie subsequently drew on Yamamoto’s flamboyance and daring when presenting Ziggy Stardust on stage.

Several of the designs were worn by Bowie in performance during live promotion, in particular of the Aladdin Sane album, and he also adopted the sleight-of-hand layered costume reveals, the emphatic postures of the models and even the flame-red hair colouring as seen on the huge wig worn in the first excerpt below.

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Published for the first time in 46 years: Inside legendary King’s Road boutique Alkasura

Feb 18th, 2016
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//Alkasura staff inside 304 King’s Road. Photographer: Unknown. Paul Gorman Archive. No reproduction without permission//

This is the first time these photographs – taken inside London’s legendary glam boutique Alkasura – have been published since they appeared in a Japanese fashion magazine in 1970.

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Mr Writey-Talkey in conversation with Gary Crowley on his Punk and New Wave radio show

Feb 10th, 2016
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//Gary Crowley outside 93 Bell Street, London NW1, the address once occupied by Sex Pistols scenester/designer Helen Wellington-Lloyd, her fellow Goldsmith’s student Malcolm McLaren and Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook//

Interspersed with a personal selection of songs, I talked to DJ Gary Crowley about the new Punk London: In The City 1975-78 map for the second hour of his Punk & New Wave show on Soho Radio yesterday.

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

Feb 9th, 2016

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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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‘Blowing up bridges so there is no way back’: Malcolm McLaren, Situationists + Sex Pistols remembered by Fred Vermorel in new exhibition catalogue

Nov 16th, 2015
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//Front and back cover designs//

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//Pages on McLaren including image of the 1977 God Save The Queen muslin top designed with Vivienne Westwood and featuring Jamie Reid’s graphic and lyrics for the Sex Pistols track//

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//Vermorel’s memoir includes images of McLaren’s student work such as this mixed media piece produced while on a fine art course at Goldsmith’s College in 1969//

Considered as an artwork, a two-and-a-half year project, and in its own terms, McLaren’s Sex Pistols’ was as seminal and resonant as Picasso’s Guernica.

Only this was a masterpiece made not of paint and canvas but of headlines and scandal, scams and factoids, rumour and fashion, slogans, fantasies and images and (I almost forgot) songs, all in a headlong scramble to auto-destruction.

For it was equally a Situationist treatise-by-example, the unremitting and obdurate core being McLaren’s grasp of the theory of situations as proposed by the SI.

Indeed, the story of the Pistols is a Situationist textbook of how to create situations from which there is no return. You refuse to negotiate, to compromise, to be co-opted, you exacerbate every crisis and recklessly play loser wins and then you blow up all the bridges so then there is no way back.

We are then forced to invent another future. Or maybe simply relish the mess, “the ecstasy of making things worse”.
From Fred Vermorel’s memoir which appears exclusively in the new exhibition catalogue.

The catalogue for the exhibition Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges is now available.

The lavishly illustrated 100-page book includes a foreword by John Hansard Gallery’s Ros Carter and Stephen Foster, my introduction, an essay by co-curator David Thorp and a specially commissioned memoir of Malcolm McLaren and his connections to post-war radicals by his art-school friend and collaborator Fred Vermorel.

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