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Paul Gorman

Paul Gorman

Paul Gorman is a writer, curator and commentator on visual culture. He has written for many of the world’s leading publications and his activities have included running a fashion label, The Look Presents, DJing, staging fashion shows, creating club nights, organising events such as the 2015 "Be Reasonable Demand The Impossible" festival at London’s Central Saint Martins and producing maps such as 2012’s The Look Of London and 2016’s Punk London (both with guide maker Herb Lester Associates).

Paul's books are:

The Look: Adventures In Pop & Rock Fashion (Sanctuary, 2001). Foreword by Malcolm McLaren.

In Their Own Write: Adventures In The Music Press (Sanctuary, 2001). Foreword by Charles Shaar Murray.

Nine Lives with Goldie (Hodder & Stoughton, 2002).

Let's Make This Precious: The Story Of Dexys Midnight Runners with Kevin Rowland (Virgin Books, 2003). Unpublished

Straight with Boy George (Century, 2005).

Blood & Fire: The Story Of UB40's Ali & Robin Campbell with Tim Abbot (Century, 2005).

The Look: Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion (Adelita, 2006). Introduction by Paul Smith, foreword by Malcolm McLaren.

Cry Salty Tears (Arrow Books, 2007). Foreword by Boy George.

Reasons To Be Cheerful: The Life & Work Of Barney Bubbles (Adelita, 2008). Essay: Peter Saville, Foreword: Malcolm Garrett, Introduction: Billy Bragg.

Rebel Rebel: Anti-Style with Keanan Duffty (Adelita, 2009). Foreword by BP Fallon.

Reasons To Be Cheerful: The Life & Work Of Barney Bubbles (Adelita, 2010). Essay: Peter Saville, Foreword: Malcolm Garrett, Introduction: Billy Bragg, A chat with Art Chantry.

Mr Freedom: Tommy Roberts – British Design Hero (Adelita, 2012). Foreword by Paul Smith.

Derek Boshier: Rethink/Re-Entry (Thames & Hudson, 2015). Edited by Gorman. With a foreword by David Hockney.

The Story Of The Face: The Magazine That Changed Culture (Thames & Hudson, 2017). Foreword by Dylan Jones.

The Life & Times of Malcolm McLaren (Constable, 2020). Foreword by Alan Moore, essay by Lou Stoppard.

He is currently working on an illustrated narrative version of music press history In Their Own Write for publication by Thames & Hudson in the UK and US in autumn 2021.

Gorman has contributed to major exhibitions in the UK and US and curated the following shows:

Process: The Working Practices Of Barney Bubbles (Chelsea Space, 2010)

Lloyd Johnson: The Modern Outfitter (Chelsea Space, 2012)

• Barney Bubbles: The Past, The Present & The Possible (Les Subsistances, Chaumont, France, 2012)

• The Look of Music, The Sound of Fashion (Copenhagen International Fashion Fair, Denmark, 2014)

Art In Pop (Le Magasin Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France, 2014).

• Derek Boshier: Rethink/Re-entry (Flowers Cork Street, London, 2015)

•Eyes For Blowing Up Bridges (John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK, 2015)

• Barney Bubbles: Optics & Semantics (Rob Tufnell Gallery, London, 2017)

• David Bowie’s London (Sonos Covent Garden, London, 2018)

• The Face in New York (Sonos Soho, New York, 2018)

• PRINT! Tearing It Up (Somerset House, London, 2018)

Paul Gorman on the RBP podcast

50 articles

List of articles in the library

By date | By artist | Most recently added

Strange New Ways To Kill A Rock Critic

Overview by Paul Gorman, MOJO, September 1994

PREHENSILE Monkey-Tailed Skink? Screeching Weasel? PopDefect? Anus The Menace? Never heard of 'em? You may well yet, because these are the American bands being championed ...

Cher: Daring To Be Different

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, Music Week, 1995

CHER'S NEW ALBUM It's A Man's World may well have the most apt, albeit ironically stated, title of the year. For her first project for ...

David Bowie on the Outside

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, Music Week, 1995

THE CRITICAL AND commercial disappointment which has greeted David Bowie's output since the crossover success of 1983's Let's Dance would have forced a less adventurous ...

Nick Heyward, Terry Hall: Godfathers of Britpop? Terry Hall and Nick Heyward

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, Music Week, 1995

FOR ARTISTS WHO came to prominence during the early '80s boom in British music, the dramatic rise in popularity of the clutch of homegrown acts ...

Home Taping Is Saving Music: Joe Foster’s Rev-Ola

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, MOJO, 1995

From the Shaggs to... Bruce Forsyth? Joe Foster’s Rev-Ola label, born of "frenzied tape-swapping," is home to all manner of retro-oddities. ...

Johnny Cash

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, Music Week, 1995

HE’S BACK IN BLACK...again. And, as ever, he means business. Johnny Cash, the original rock'n'roll spectre lets loose the leashes with new album Unchained, covering ...

El Vez: Greetings From Graciasland: El Vez

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, MOJO, May 1995

TAKE A LIBERAL DOSE of Chicano consciousness and apply it to fully-realised musical pastiche, and what do you have? El Vez, the Mexican Elvis, no ...

Billy Childish: And In His Spare Time… Billy Childish

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, MOJO, June 1995

JAMES BROWN CAN stick his tag as "the hardest working man in showbiz". When it comes to the most productive performer in punk, painting and ...

Jah Wobble: Ex-Punk Turned Musical Innovator

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, Music Week, 4 November 1995

AS HE POINTED out on the song 'Becoming Closer To God' last year, Jah Wobble is "far more than a long-lost anagram" these days. ...

Enya: Memory Of Enya

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, Music Week, 1996

ENSCONCED INSIDE her specially built Aigle Studio in the swish Dublin suburb of Dalkey, Enya pauses to explain why she chose this particular location, with ...

Catatonia: Welsh Pioneers Come Into Their Own

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, Music Week, 1996

THESE DAYS, when it seems you can't throw a stick in the music industry without hitting a Welsh act, Catatonia are in the unusual position ...

Finley Quaye: Well-Connected Hopeful

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, Music Week, 1996

HE'S JUST TURNED 23, he's talented and he's handsome. He claims that Tricky's his nephew, Iggy Pop visits him in the studio and A Guy ...

Iggy Pop: Doggie Style: Iggy Pop

Interview by Paul Gorman, Music Week, January 1996

IT’S BEEN SAID before but bears repeating once Iggy Pop is witnessed at the close quarters of his cramped bedroom in London’s Halcyon Hotel: If ...

Spice Girls: Taking On The Britboys: Spice Girls

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, Music Week, April 1996

JUST WHEN BOYS with guitars threaten to rule pop life – Damon's all over Smash Hits, Ash are big in Big! and Liam can't move ...

Serge Gainsbourg: Old Cabbage Head Is Back: Serge Gainsbourg

Retrospective by Paul Gorman, MOJO, August 1996

"I WOULD LIKE to fuck 'er." With these six words, slurred in the heaviest of French accents, Serge Gainsbourg sealed his reputation as the scourge ...

Björk: Post-Post: Bjork goes Homogenic

Interview by Paul Gorman, Music Week, 1997

"I LOVE MY job sometimes," cackles Bjork down the line from Miami. ...

David Bowie: Happy Birthday, David Bowie!

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, Music Week, January 1997

THERE'S NOTHING the media loves more than an anniversary and David Bowie's 50th birthday on January 8 offered ample opportunity for career retrospectives and dissections ...

Cassius Clay: "Nobody is going to beat me": Cassius Clay's I Am The Greatest!

Sleeve notes by Paul Gorman, Rev-Ola Records, 1998

AUTHOR'S 2016 NOTE: I was commissioned to write these sleeve-notes by Joe Foster for his label Rev-Ola's 1998 reissue of I Am The Greatest, the ...

Johnny Thunders: Born To Lose: A Film About Johnny Thunders

Report by Paul Gorman, MOJO, 1998

NINETEEN YEARS in gestation, Born To Lose – which matches the addled life and times of its subject Johnny Thunders by being simultaneously intriguing and ...

Lloyd Johnson: Aloha From Noting Hill

Profile and Interview by Paul Gorman, MOJO, May 1999

GLAD-RAGS: Britain's premier rock'n'roll tailor has dumped leather'n'denim for the typically tropical. ...

LA's Glam Revival And The Glitzy Return of Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco

Report and Interview by Paul Gorman, MOJO, March 2000

SOMETHING STRANGE is happening on the streets of Los Angeles. Glam-metal kids, 17 years out of date, are back walking the streets. Ambivalent Bowie-esque sexuality ...

Holy Toledo: The Hines Farm Blues Club

Retrospective by Paul Gorman, MOJO, May 2000

Midnight movers, Ohio players, Gypsy Angels and Atomic Pirates gathered at the Hines Farm juke joint. Paul Gorman pays a visit. ...

Know Your NME!

Book Excerpt by Paul Gorman, Sanctuary Press, 2001

Paul Gorman's In Their Own Write: Adventures in the Music Press (Sanctuary Press) was an oral history of rock journalism in Britain and America – ...

In His Own Right: Ian MacDonald

Interview by Paul Gorman, unpublished, March 2001

I INTERVIEWED Ian MacDonald for my music press history In Their Own Write in March 2001. As charming, tolerant and insightful as the first-class prose ...

Lester Bangs: Remembering Lester

Book Excerpt by Paul Gorman, In Their Own Write: Adventures in the Music Press, November 2001

"Everybody's a rock critic." – Lester Bangs ...

Blues Explosion

Retrospective by Paul Gorman, MOJO, October 2002

FOR MANY A PUNK CHANCER, CRED comes with claims of attending the Sex Pistols' brace of gigs at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade Hall in the ...

Publish and be Damned: The Decline and Fall of the UK Music Press

Overview by Paul Gorman,, Summer 2002

WHAT’S UP WITH the music press? The once proud sector of the British media, created from the unholy union of the 60s underground and the ...

The Army’s Mystery Pop Artist

Report by Paul Gorman, MOJO, 2003

THE UNEARTHING IN central London of a series of stunning images of rock icons from the early ‘70s has sparked a search for a mystery ...

Humble Pie, Steve Marriott: Very ‘Eavy: Remembering Steve Marriott and 'Umble Pie

Retrospective by Paul Gorman, Rock's Backpages, December 2003

IT SEEMS inconceivable now, but Humble Pie were once very, very big, albeit for a short while. In recent years – post-Loaded, post-Britpop, post-lad, post-PC ...

The Capri-Collared Shirt: King's Road and the birth of British punk in the late '70s

Memoir by Paul Gorman,, 2004

IN 1973 ONE of my older brothers, Timothy, started work at a shop called Domidium in the Kings Road, just ahead of the curve of ...

The Million-Pound Mod: John Stephen

Obituary by Paul Gorman, unpublished, February 2004

JOHN STEPHEN – who died on February 1 aged 69 – was the "£1m Mod" who was a vital element in the look of the ...

ABBA, Charlotte Church, Donovan, The Dubliners, Bob Dylan, David Essex, Fleetwood Mac, Kim Fowley, Jimi Hendrix, Lalo Schifrin, Paul Simon, The Stooges, The Who, Robbie Williams, Lena Zavaroni: Mike Ross-Trevor: "Are We Rolling?"

Interview by Paul Gorman, The Word, May 2004

In forty years of recording everyone from Dylan and Hendrix to Abba and Lena Zavaroni, a studio engineer sees a lot of strange things. ...

Mod: The Essential Albums

Guide by Paul Gorman, MOJO, May 2004

MOD'S FASTIDIOUS nature dictates that the path between purism and pedantry is oft-trod. Were the Birds arty r&b enthusiasts, more allied to the scruffy Stones ...

Boy George: Straight: An Introduction

Book Excerpt by Paul Gorman, Century Books, 2005

GEORGE ISN'T GOOD in the mornings. He strides out of his room, straight back, arms paddling by his side, in black. He catches your eye. ...

Anohni (Antony & the Johnsons): Antony & The Johnsons: Islington Academy, London

Live Review by Paul Gorman, MOJO, January 2005

The extraordinary NYC androgyne – whose in-concert performances make Lou Reed cry – receives a stiffer-lipped but no less rapturous London reception. ...

Barney Bubbles

Book Excerpt by Paul Gorman, 'Reasons To Be Cheerful' (Adelita), 2008

DESPITE HIS WISH for anonymity, Barney Bubbles' profile was rising high in 1978 on the back of the graphic wit, invention and clarity delivered over ...

Brian Jones, Keith Richards: Anita Pallenberg: 1967 and all that

Interview by Paul Gorman, Paul Gorman Is, 27 January 2011

A COUPLE OF years back I interviewed Anita Pallenberg — who celebrated her birthday yesterday — for MOJO magazine. ...

David Bowie, The Clash, Sex Pistols: Kate Simon: An Interview

Interview by Paul Gorman, Paul Gorman Is, 18 February 2011

THERE IS A portrait of David Bowie taken by Kate Simon at Olympic recording studios in Barnes, west London, on January 14, 1974. The photograph ...

Alice Cooper: Vinyl: Love It To Death + Killer + School's Out + Billion Dollar Babies

Retrospective by Paul Gorman, Paul Gorman Is, 23 July 2012

THE FOUR ALBUMS released by Alice Cooper between 1971 and 1973 propelled the band's international ascendance and its frontman into enduring superstardom. ...

The Origins Of The Tits Tee

Retrospective by Paul Gorman, Rock's Backpages, February 2013

MALCOLM MCLAREN'S adaptation of the infamous Tits t-shirt is one of punk's most familiar designs, as applied by he and Vivienne Westwood to shirts sold ...

Mick Farren: Memories of Mick Farren: An entertaining afternoon in West Hollywood and a champagne-drenched night in Islington

Memoir by Paul Gorman, Rock's Backpages, 31 July 2013

GROWING UP IN London in the '60s and '70s with an interest in the counterculture, music and street politics meant that the shaggy-headed figure of ...

Richard Hell: Hell on wheels

Retrospective and Interview by Paul Gorman, GQ, March 2015

BEHIND THE BROWN columnar façade of the New York University archives on Washington Square South in Greenwich Village resides The Fales Library, repository of the ...

The Jam: À la mod: how the Jam and mod style transcended fashion

Retrospective by Paul Gorman, The Guardian, 12 August 2015

A new exhibition of the Jam at Somerset House proves that the mod look, from Carnaby Street to Uniqlo, is the gift that keeps on ...

Sex Pistols: "Don't look over your shoulder, but the Sex Pistols are coming": 40th Anniversary of their first review.

Retrospective by Paul Gorman, Paul Gorman Is, 12 February 2016

TODAY IS THE 40th anniversary of the gig at central London venue The Marquee by the Sex Pistols which generated their first substantial media coverage, ...

Life after the NME: Nick Logan's journey from Smash Hits to The Face

Book Excerpt by Paul Gorman, 'The Story of The Face' (Thames & Hudson), November 2017

PAUSING TO MAKE his last appointment in the form of Danny Baker, fresh from punk fanzine Sniffin' Glue, Nick Logan handed in his notice as ...

How The Face Launched the 21st Century

Retrospective by Paul Gorman, GQ, 9 November 2017

OVER THE SUMMER of 1988, editor/publisher Nick Logan — hands-down the greatest British magazine innovator of our time — seriously contemplated shuttering his independently published ...

David Bowie: On Reflection: David Bowie

Retrospective by Paul Gorman, Vice, 13 March 2018

AFTER FIVE YEARS touring the world, David Bowie Is, the juggernaut retrospective organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is now in its largest ...

Nick Kent, Malcolm McLaren, Sex Pistols, Midge Ure: I Was (Almost) a Teenage Sex Pistol: David Harrison

Book Excerpt by Paul Gorman, 'The Life & Times of Malcolm McLaren' (Constable), April 2020

IN 1975, THE regular customers at Sex – the fetish boutique operated at 430 King’s Road by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood – included David ...

Sex Pistols, X-Ray Spex: Oh Bondage! Up Yours

Retrospective by Paul Gorman, MacGuffin, August 2022

AS SIMULTANEOUS SYMBOLS of subjugation and liberation, chains were co-opted in the bricolage approaches to the hundreds, if not thousands, of individualistic identities — in ...

"I Killed Christgau with My Big F*****g Dick". US indie magazines of the '80s and '90s

Book Excerpt by Paul Gorman, 'Totally Wired' (Thames & Hudson), September 2022

This is an excerpt from Paul's book Totally Wired: The Rise and Fall of the Music Press (Thames & Hudson, 2022) ...

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