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Paul Morley
 
 
Paul Robert Morley was born on the 26th March 1957 near Stockport and is the brother of film director Carol Morley. He first made a name for himself as a journalist for the New Musical Express (NME) in 1977. His no holds barred style of journalism suited the music paper, which was renowned for its harsh coverage of the musical acts of the time. One victim of Paul’s critical and brutal approach was Trevor Horn in a 1979 interview. Horn was interviewed about the Buggles, in typical Morley-style he labelled Horn "a dustbin man of pop". This wasn’t the kind of music that he was championing in his articles, unlike acts such as Joy Division and Public Image Ltd. A few years later the journalist interviewed Horn again after taking more of an interest in producer’s work with ABC, Dollar and Malcolm McLaren. In addition to his job at the NME, Paul had also written for the publications, The Face and Blitz, as well as once being the manager & producer of the Manchester punk band The Drones in the late 1970s.

By 1983 he decided to quit journalism to co-found a brand new record label with Horn and his wife Jill Sinclair. This came about after he made a lasting impression on Horn. Paul named it Zang Tumb Tuum, after reading the sound poem of the same name by Italian Futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, which was that author's description of the sound of machine guns and cannons being fired during the First World War. He wasn’t really the head of the label’s marketing department or press office, he was the marketing department and press office. Paul was also instrumental in all aspects of each design of every record sleeve, publicity poster put out by the label as well as presenting his ides to the various directors hired to make the promotional videos for each release and even managed to direct a few himself.
 
Another name taken from an Italian Futurist’s publication was given to ZTT’s first ever act, conceived by Gary Langan and Jonathan “JJ” Jeczalik after being turned into a group when they added Anne Dudley, Horn and Paul himself. He named them The Art Of Noises (directly translated from the Italian L’arte Dei Rumori), a manifesto by Luigi Russolo published in 1913, although the name was shortened to Art of Noise by Jeczalik.

Unlike the other members, Paul’s role was to inject ideas rather than contributing to the music itself. He gave titles to their music and acted as a guide or director to their musical activities as well as being the spokesperson for the outfit. One of his ideas was to have Thereza Bazar of Dollar as the group’s lead singer, after arranging a photo shoot for her to be photographed within metal spikes, but after a meeting with her manager his idea was dropped and thankfully she never became part of group. From the start, the group wanted to be invisible, this gave him the idea to have four drama masks made to represent each of the four musicians. Instead of the group featuring in publicity shots, he arranged for pictures of statues, the drama masks, and spanners to represent them so they could be packaged as an enigma.
 
The ex-journalist became a very clever marketing man, inspired by Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus’ Factory Records, Paul gave everything at ZTT a catalogue number, even actors that appeared in videos were catalogued. He created no less than five series of catalogue numbers for each of label’s acts: Incidental Series, Action Series, Perfect Series and Certain Series along with IQ numbers designed to confuse the public.

As well as being the front man for Art of Noise, he was also the man responsible for bringing Frankie Goes To Hollywood to the attention of the public although he didn’t want to sign the Liverpool band as the label’s second act, but he was overruled by Horn & Sinclair. His approach to Frankie’s marketing came in the form of the infamous “Frankie Say…” slogan t-shirts that inspired Wham! To jump on the band wagon with their “Choose Life” efforts. Whereas Art of Noise were marketed as works of art, Paul gave FGTH maximum exposure, he even took advantage of their banned “Relax” single and incorporated the ban itself as a marketing tool.

In mid February 1985 he married singer Claudia Brucken from ZTT’s third signing, Propaganda. Later that year he organised and appeared at an event called the Value Of Entertainment, held at the Ambassador’s Theatre in London to showcase some of ZTT’s acts. This left Paul to fill in as the Art of Noise when Dudley, Jeczalik and Langan decided to leave the record label. After that he and Horn tried their hand at creating another Art of Noise called Art & Act without any fruition, although a few tracks have appeared on Art of Noise’s  Influence CD and a various artists compilation entitled Zang Tuub Tumb – The Art Of The 12 Inch. In 1986 under the pseudonym Otto Flake he contributed a short essay mildly mocking his former band mates for their decision to leave ZTT in the booklet to the Art of Noise CD "daft". By the time that CD had been released Paul had become unpopular by a number of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Art of Noise & Propaganda fans for his unorthodox running of ZTT.

After leaving ZTT, Paul set up his first record label, entitled Sense, where one of the label’s signings was non other than the comedian Vic Reeves where he was credited as executive producer. After being the first presenter of BBC Two’s arts magazine The Late Show, Paul appeared on numerous television programs throughout the 1990s including Without Walls, The James Whale Radio Show and Entertainment UK.
 
Towards the end of the 1990s he returned to ZTT for a short time and was involved in the reformation of the Art of Noise along with two other original members. He also took to the stage as the groups's frontman during their 1999/2000 concerts in the USA & England. In 2000 he also co-remixed the remix album Reduction that was based on material from the 1999 album The Seduction Of Claude Debussy with producer James Branbury from the Auteurs. This collaboration led to him and Banbury setting up their own label ServiceAV and forming a group originally called Image Of A Group, a reference to the reformed Art of Noise. They issued a download entitled Matter in 2005 before changing their name to Infantjoy and have released two albums to date, Where The Night Goes and With.
 
In 2002 Paul was the presenter of two DVD documentaries released on the Uncut DVD label entitled Say Hello, Wave Goodbye and Ice Cool 80's respectively. Each one saw him chart the rise and success of each artist or band that were featured. Continuing with his career as a television broadcaster in the 2000s & 2010’s, Paul was seen on a string of programs including Newsnight; Advertising’s Greatest Hits; 50 Questions Of Political Incorrectness; Doctor Who Confidential; The Story Of Light Entertainment; Most Shocking Moments Of… series; Welcome To The 80’s and The Review Show. His most notable television appearance was a two part BBC Two documentary entitled How To Be A Composer. The programs focused on him spending a year at London’s Royal Academy of Music where he learnt to how compose a classical piece of music. He was aided by his tutors Christopher Austin and Hannah Riddell with contributions from students, before his String Quartet was performed in the Duke’s Hall.

Along with his television work, Paul writes for The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, GQ Magazine, The Guardian, Esquire and The New Statesman. He has also the authored a series of books including Ask: Chatter Of Pop; Words And Music: A History Of Pop In The Shape Of A City; Joy Division: Piece By Piece: Writing About Joy Division 1977-2007 and Nothing which deals with aspects of his own life. He is also a successful BBC Radio Four presenter with his series Making Tracks that included him being reunited with fellow Art of Noise member Gary Langan in an episode broadcast in 2012. In addition to his television radio and writing Paul has a very successful internet series on The Guardian's website entitled Paul Morley's Showing Off, that sees him interview a variety of music makers that have inluded diverse people from Pete Waterman, Heaven 17's Glen Gregory, JLS, McFly to The Smiths' Johnny Marr and Mark Moore from S-Express. Each show is a discussion of different music genres.
 
Paul Morley is an authority on pop music, and he knows his subject matter. Whether writing articles, conducting interviews, making radio and television shows, running a record label or being part of a group, he has always used his knowledge of music for each role he undertakes, this has made him interesting to read in print and to listen to as a broadcaster in his 36 year career.
 
© Copyright K.M. Whitehouse 2008, 2012
 
 

Website Last Updated: 14:00 BST, Monday 10th July 2017
This website © Copyright K.M. Whitehouse 2008 - 2017
"That guy will say anything"
 
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