Paul Gorman is…

Revenge of the suburbs: David Bowie fans shine in doc about the 1983 Milton Keynes Bowl gigs

Nov 1st, 2016
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//Members of the audience from Edinburgh who preferred Australian support act Icehouse to Bowie//

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Fittingly Britain’s most surprising rock star has found his way to Britain’s newest and most surprising city, where high tech meets ecologic, where concrete meets conservation, where the silicon chip meets the fibreglass rod…

Steve Taylor, South Of Watford, Summer 1983, London Weekend Television

While putting the finishing touches to my forthcoming book about The Face magazine, I followed a line of research which lead me to an excellent documentary about the late David Bowie which I hadn’t seen since it was screened in 1983.

Shown as part of London’s regional broadcaster LWT’s South Of Watford strand, the film focused on Bowie’s immersion in the mainstream with the Let’s Dance LP and companion Serious Moonlight tour (sponsored by Levi’s in a groundbreaking marketing deal, this inaugurated the era of corporate and branded live music events).

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The doc’s point of entry was Bowie’s weekend of sold-out gigs that summer at Milton Keynes Bowl, the open-air arena in Britain’s newest city north of London in the Buckinghamshire countryside.

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The Face, May 1992: Love Sees No Colour

Apr 29th, 2014
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//Cover: Boy George with Mica + Jade, styling David Mignon, photography Thomas Krygier//

From time to time I’m going to be turning over information and images here as I go through the process of writing my book Legacy: The story of The Face.

Today I spent an enjoyable and enlightening few hours interviewing former editor Richard Benson; during our conversation it became clear that one of the turning points in the history of this significant magazine occurred with the spring 1992 publication of the issue headed Love Sees No Colour.

This coincided with the High Court judgment against the magazine in the unfortunate libel case brought by actor/singer Jason Donovan on the grounds that he had been branded a liar and a hypocrite as a result of the inference that he was gay.

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//The Face May 1992, pp6-7: Nick Logan’s editorial on the right//

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//PP58-59: Left, montage by Keith Piper/Right, Kate Moss by Enrique Badalescu, styling Camille Nickerson + Lucy Ewing//

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//PP38-39: Seen, Gilbert & George, 1989//

The theme of tolerance had been hatched by Benson’s predecessor Sheryl Garratt long before the dispute reached, in publisher Nick Logan’s words, “its unhappy conclusion”.

In terms of the magazine’s narrative, the issue affirmed The Face’s position as the lightning rod of the progress of popular culture in the inclusive 90s.

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//PP76-77: Left, George O’Dowd in his Absolutely Queer T-shirt – “Homophobes are fine. I just don’t want them near my children.”/Right, Rebel MC in Michiko Koshino T-shirt, Ezra Oban + Dominique Kelly in Katharine Hamnett Protect + Survive vests. Photos: Kate Garner + Thomas Krygier//

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//PP82-83: Left (top), Apachi Indian in One World shirt by Paul Smith, (below) Banderas in Love Sees No Colour shirts by Joe Casely-Hayford,/Right, Des’Ree in No To Negrophobia T-shirt by Trevor Norris. Photos: Kate Garner + Thomas Krygier//

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//PP84-85: Left, (top left) Paul Reid in Face Love outfit by Dirk Bikkembergs, (top right) Charlotte Champion + Gabriella Stonebridge in Jean Colonna and Martin Margiela, (below) Colin “Sweet C” McMillan in Love Sees No Colour T-shirt by Gio Goi and Turn Your Nose Up At Racism by Bella Freud/Right, Michael Clark in Nazi Shithead outfit by Leigh Bowery. Photos: Kate Garner + Thomas Krygier//

Designed by Boris Bencic and Lee Swillingham, the issue tipped the hat to those figures who had played a part in the 80s story – Boy George, Paul Smith, Leigh Bowery – and also hit the mark with the generation setting the pace for the new decade, whether it be Joe Bloggs, Kate Moss or Martin Margiela.

Produced in an all-hands-to-the-pump atmosphere, with Logan and Garratt in daily court attendance and the all-too-real prospect of forced closure as a result of the huge legal bills resulting from the Donovan case, The Face May 1992 is a cracking issue, one which stands up as a consummate example of journalistic excellence achieved under duress.

Legacy: The story of The Face is published by Thames & Hudson in autumn 2017.

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