by K.M. Whitehouse
Paul Morley was born on the 26th March 1957 in Stockport. He first made a name for himself as a journalist for the British music paper, New Musical Express (NME) in 1977 and around that time he had also been the manager as well as the producer of the Manchester punk band The Drones. His style of journalism was that of someone who spoke his mind and wrote down his thoughts in print, regardless of it was a review or an interview. This made him the perfect journalist for the NME, as the paper was well known for its harsh coverage of acts by being as critically brutal as they could. One such victim of the journalist was Trevor Horn during an interview in 1979. Horn was being interviewed about the Buggles, in typical Morley-style, he called Horn "a dustbin man of pop" as this wasn't the kind of music that he favoured unlike other acts from that period like Public Image Ltd. & Joy Division.  The journalist would later interview Horn again and started to take more of an interest in his work as a producer after producing hits for Dollar, ABC along with Malcolm McLaren leading to the two men becoming friends.
Four years later Paul left NME to co-found a brand new record label in 1983 with Horn and his wife Jill Sinclair. Horn was impressed by journalist's style and felt that he was the perfect man to head up the label’s marketing as well as it’s spokesman. He named the new label Zang Tumb Tuum, affter reading the sound poem of the same name by Italian Futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti,  which was the author's description of the sound of machine guns and cannons being fired during the Great War.
Another name taken from a publication from an Italian Futurist was given to ZTT’s first ever act conceived by Gary Langan & J.J. Jeczalik after being turned into a group along with Horn and Anne Dudley. He named them The Art Of Noises (translated from the original Italian title L’arte Dei Rumori), a manifesto by the Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo published in 1913. The name fit their unique style of music by taking sounds from the outside world and turning them into music by pioneering the sampling revolution, the name was altered by Jeczalik to the Art of Noise. Paul became the fifth member of the Art of Noise, but unlike the other members, his role was to inject ideas into the group rather than contributing to the music itself along with giving titles to their music. 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 Paul's idea was dropped and thankfully she never became part of group. From the start, the group wanted to be invisible, Paul had four drama masks made to represent each of the four musicains from the group. Instead of the group featuring in publicity shots, he arranged for pictures of statues, the drama masks, and spanners to represent the group and package them as a non-group. In addition to that he had a large part in designing the sleeves and writing the sleeve notes along with various quotes, which would also be used for all of ZTT’s signings along with presenting ideas to the various video directors who directed the promotional videos for all of ZTT's acts.
The ex-NME journalist became a very clever marketing man by creating four 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 the attention of Frankie Goes To Hollywood to the public, a group he didn’t want to sign to the label but was overruled by Horn & Sinclair. With the success of that group, Paul came up with the Frankie Say… slogan T-shirts that were so popular with the public that Wham! came out with their own Choose Life T-shirts. In mid February 1985 he married Propaganda’s Claudia Brucken, an act signed to ZTT and that later appeared at an event called the Value Of Entertainment, held at the Ambassador’s Theatre in 1985, showcasing some of ZTT’s acts. This event left Paul to fill in as Art of Noise after Dudley, Jeczalik & Langan left ZTT. Under the pseudonym Otto Flake he contributed a short essay mildly mocking their decision to leave ZTT in the booklet to the CD "daft". During his time with ZTT, the label’s spokesman also turned his hand to directing some of the promotional videos for various acts signed to 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. During the 1990s the former Art of Noise member became a TV broadcaster, appearing on such television shows throughout the 90s and 2000s as The James Whale Radio Show, The Thing Is...Hotels, The Thing Is...Babies, Greatest TV Moments From Hell, 100 Greatest Number One Singles, I Love The 80s: I Love 1981, Top Ten: Pop Princess, The 100 Greatest TV Characters, 24 Hour Party People: The Factory Records Saga, Best Ever Bond, Celebrity Naked Ambition, Cilla In Black & White, Deaths, Coronation Street: Secrets, John Travolta: The Inside Story, X-Rated: The Pop Videos They Tried To Ban, The Curse Of Noel Edmonds, The Fall: The Wonderful And Frightening World of Mark E. Smith, The Most Outrageous TV Moments Ever, TV On Trial, Newsnight, Michael Portillo's Great British Losers, Favouritism, It Shouldn't Happen On A TV Awards Show, Top 50 Greatest Celebrity Animals, Blood Bank, Absolute Power, 50 Questions Of Political Incorrectness, Fad Gadget By Frank Tovey, Double Acts, Big Brother's Efourum, Richard & Judy, Doctor Who Confidential, Pop And Easy Listening, The Story Of Light Entertainment, Joy Division, Legends, How TV Changed Britain, Most Shocking Celebrity Moments Of The 80s, Most Shocking Celebrity Moments Of The 90s, Most Shocking Celebrity Moments Of The 21st Century, Fame, as well as appearing as a panellist on Newsnight Review.
Towards the end of the 1990s Paul 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 the own label ServiceAV and forming a group originally called Image Of A Group, a reference to the reformed Art of Noise, that used the slogan "as the image of a group" on their releases. They issued a download entitled Matter in 2005 before changing the group name to Infantjoy and released two albums to date Where The Night Goes and With.
Paul still writes and has written for the likes of The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, GQ Magazine, The Guardian, Esquire and The New Statesman. In addition to that he has also been the author of 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 that deals with aspects of his own life in true Morley-style. In 2006 he once again returned to the Art of Noise to contribute towards the making of the archive box set And What Have You Done With My Body, God? and it’s accompanying book. After co-founding ZTT more than twenty five years ago, he is still associated with that label due to his radical marketing ideas. In late 2008 he once more contributed to a ZTT project, in the form of writing part of the book that is included in Zang Tumb Tuum: The ZTT Box Set released by the Salvo label. It would be almost impossible to think of the Art of Noise, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and ZTT without thinking of Paul Morley, a lasting legacy to one of England's most original writers & broadcasters.
© Copyright K.M. Whitehouse 2008