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London calling: fandom at the Showroom’s fundraising artist dinner

by Louisa Buck  |  29.03.2017
London calling: fandom at the Showroom’s fundraising artist dinner
Julie Lomax and Paul Simonon from the Clash
There was an abundance of goodies on offer at The Showroom’s fundraising Artist Dinner, this year presided over by Sarah Lucas, whose first exhibition had been in a group show at the gallery in 1986. But along with a special Lucas menu—cooked up on site by Margot Henderson—and an auction of experiences and works of art, the evening offered some particular treats for the Showroom’s new chair, the Liverpool Biennial development director Julie Lomax. 

Among those present were were Outset’s Candida Gertler; the patron Brian Boylan; the gallerists Sadie Coles, Nicholas Logsdail and Maureen Paley; as well Lucas herself. In a speech, Lomax confessed that she had been a major Lucas fan “for all of my London life”, ever since she first came down from Manchester to study fine art at Chelsea in the mid-1980s. 

Sarah Lucas and the Showroom's director Emily Pethick
She also later revealed that she had an even longer-standing allegiance to another of the assembled company, namely the former Clash bassist and now Showroom neighbour, Paul Simonon. Apparently Simonon had saved the 14-year-old Lomax and her 12-year-old brother from being crushed by an over enthusiastic audience during a Clash gig at the Manchester Apollo in 1980. “It was the London Calling tour and we’d sneaked in with some friends of my mum’s,” Lomax remembers. “We were right at the front and when the audience surged forward, Paul stopped playing and pulled us up onto the stage and we watched the rest of the gig from the side.” But although she was very pleased to thank her rescuer all these years later, Lomax also admitted that “I was still really a bit young for punk and probably preferred listening to Abba”. 

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