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Been reading the brilliant ‘Life’ by Keith Richards. Seems as how Keith and Co, The Stones, lived over in Edith Grove, Fulham, in 1962. Well, my flat-mate Chris Higson went to a party there, “Scored.” whatever that meant. They lived just down the road from us. We lived on Peterborough Road in Parsons Green where Higson, Mick Jackson, both illustrators, John Steele (for a while), and I, graphics, lived with cardboard walls and a mould problem. Plus with Nook and Jim Bunker at one time for a bit, when she was pregnant with Zoe and wanted by the cops as a runaway from Staines. I lived there in 1961/2, real taters, coldest fucking winter since ever. Like Keith, we sold beer-bottle empties we found littering the floor and crevices of the ugly apartment the morning after the night ‘afore. Sold ‘em back to the off-licence, got enough, about 3s/6d (3-shillings and sixpence) for a bacon sandwich and a cuppa in the morning at the Station Caff.
(There’s a photo in the Box of Tricks by me of Higson and a Tiger scull.)
Masie P. writes: I had a brief stay back in Twickenham last week and had yet another culinary delight from Whitton High Street. A new Bengali restaurant has opened where the John Greigs store used to be. It’s in the style of Southall High Street eateries, but a little more refined than the stand-up takeaway. It is of course, completely vegetarian and non-alcoholic and the food comes in pantechnicon-sized containers and costs pennies.I took my son and eldest grand-daughter for a birthday treat… eight… and the waiter was amazed that such a wee child was relishing the chillies in the dhosa. Takes after her Nanna.Been painting blue angels all week… I seem to have a comic-book streak hidden away in me somewhere, that keeps making a break for it.
By way of expo, Colin Fulcher was the protoname of Barney Bubbles a renown bloke what done art back when. His contemporary, Masie Parker writes about a visit to his hometown:” I just got back last night from a day out in Twickenham, Whitton and environs. I got a ride up to see my kids and grandkids in Whitton because my partner had to go to the rugby match between France and England in his capacity as a corporate host.In between the hoards streaming into the newly expanded rugby complex/ground (80,000 capacity) and the hoards streaming out of the ground we had a brief window in which to drive down to Twickenham town centre and grab a curry from Palavi (the Indian restaurant in the cinema building).Every house along the road leading from Twickenham station to the Chertsey Road (past Egerton Road) had a burger van, or doughnut stall, or Thai curry van, or sausage van parked up in their front garden. Vendors selling flags, banners, hats, scarves, hooters, vuvuzelas, animal masks, face paint, proliferated between the food stalls.They aren’t allowed to park in the street or on the road, and so people rent out their gardens for the day. Some peole charge £50 for a day’s parking and as so many people have concreted the front of their houses they can accomodate up to four cars.The whole of the area around the ground on the Whitton side has parking restrictions and residents have to buy parking permits for themselves and any visitors. All those lovely Edwardian and Victorian houses (Do you remember the house with the small tower built onto the corner of it? It was very much like an Edwin Lutyens design.) that were along the road in front of the rugby ground have been demolished and the ground is about four times bigger than ever and has so many conference suites and shops in it and it even has a Marriott hotel built into it.Although it’s been about a year since I was up in Twickenham, it was a shock to see how things have changed. The worst it used to be on rugby days was that you couldn’t drive along the road outside the ground for parked cars, but this has moved to a whole new level.On the way back from Twickenham centre, we took the road back past Twickenham Green. My first house was in Third Cross Road. The ammount of development along the Staines road is frightening. There are rows of what used to be little Victorian artisans houses that have been turned into furniture show rooms, spa showrooms and car sales rooms. The Five Oaks pub is now called The Bloomsbury and is painted in shades of cream and mushroom with the name in 3ft high letters across the front. (Joe tells me it’s still frequented by pikies).When we decided to leave for home at 9pm, the roads were still filled with people leaving the rugby ground and so I told Frank to turn right at the Co-op along Whitton High Street and take the back roads around the centre of Whitton and join the traffic at Percy Road. It was just an excuse to drive past Colin’s old house in Tranmere Road… BTW, the whole Co-op building has been bought by Lidls supermarket, soon to be opened in Whitton!There seems to only one reason for ever going back to Twickenham/Whitton (apart from my kids) and that is the Indian food.The sweet shop across the road from Joe’s house sells fresh baked samosas every day for 40p each. The lady who owns the shop makes them, but nearly all the corner shops make them… My grand-daughter Honor buys them like sweeties on her way home from school.”
I recently played a compendium of Vaudeville tunes and heard for the first time a song with a catchy hook called, “Barney Google with those great big googly eyes” which Barney Bubbles may have been familiar with, he certainly had the googly eyes to match. (Possibly this song was an antecedent of the search engine Google’s name too.) He never mentioned that song – but I know he was a fan of ‘Barney Rubble’ from the Flintstones (he would have been ‘Flintstoned’ no doubt) and their phrase “Yabbadabadoo !” which he frequently used.
.. And here ladies and gints, is the song itself, which seems to imply carnal love of a horse, nabbed from the Wikki entry for ‘Barney Google’, who was the eponymous character from the strip cartoon out of Chicago begun in 1911:
- Who’s the most important man this country ever knew?
- Who’s the man our Presidents tell all their troubles to?
- No, it isn’t Mr. Bryan and it isn’t Mr. Hughes;
- I’m mighty proud that I’m allowed a chance to introduce:
- Barney Google—with the goo-goo-googly eyes,
- Barney Google—had a wife three times his size;
- She sued Barney for divorce,
- Now he’s sleeping with his horse!
- Barney Google—with the goo-goo-googly eyes!
- Who’s the greatest lover that this country ever knew?
- Who’s the man that Valentino takes his hat off to?
- No, it isn’t Douglas Fairbanks that the ladies rave about;
- When he arrives, who makes the wives chase all their husbands out?
- Barney Google—with the goo, goo, googly eyes,
- Barney Google—bet his horse would win the prize;
- When the horses ran that day,
- Spark Plug ran the other way!
- Barney Google—with the goo-goo-googly eyes!
This list of videos below is from Wikipedia’s elegantly revised, and suprisingly acurate bio of Fulcher/Bubbles. (The live links below take you to YouTube videos.)
As a video director, Barney Bubbles directed several videos. These included The Specials’ “Ghost Town”, Squeeze’s “Is That Love” and “Tempted”, Elvis Costello’s “Clubland” and “New Lace Sleeves” and Fun Boy Three’s “The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum”. Two promos for punk act Johnny Moped – “Incendiary Device” and “Darling Let’s Have Another Baby” – were never commercially released.
This pic was drawn by Barney Bubbles in 1968. It is based on the results of the parlour game ‘consequences,’ where a folded piece of paper is passed around and the guests add to the unseen drawing above, using over-the-fold clues of where to begin provided by the previous artist.
This was a favorite pastime of us loose gang of chaps and chicks in the A1GGz, who hung around West Kensington, London, in the 60′s. The art appears to be a graphic drawn entirely by Barney Bubbles but is, I think, based on various preceeding games of ’consequences,’ played to while away stoned evenings of ennui. I recognise the lower squiggling concoction as being derived from a particularly good result played, if memory serves me truly, with Barney, his ever faithful friend Lorry and myself one dark night during a power failure when we worked by candlelight.
With its ‘Right awareness of Past, Present and Future’ and ‘The universe falls into chaos and the stars hurtle into disorder’ it is obviously in tune with the passing Buddhist sensibilities of Barney during our underground mag Oz 12 days, when he’d been reading Herman Hesse (unfortunately recently outed as a sometime Nazi) and considered himself a bit of a Boddhisatva ready to take on the world.
In Barney’s ventures into the steamy world of godly reason, he’d previously incarnated, very briefly, as a Jewish student of an uncle up North, who’d told him about the mystical Cabbala that, like some early chip circuit, held the graphic answer to the Theory of Everything.
Reading about the Russian Suprematist, El Lissitski, it is apparent that he had much in common with Barney apart from a premature, self induced demise, in that they were both excellent robbers of graphic symbolism, taking their ideas from wherever. Like the Russian expat Jewish carrousel carvers of imaginative horses for their round-abouts in New York of the early 20th century who took their skills at creating Temple adornment, which included fancy horses, to commercial advantage, Barney and El were both adept at creating new symbols from old ideas.
El went on a tour of the Jewish walled setlements, the schtetlach*, villages of tzarist Russia, places ‘beyond the pale,’ documenting the carpentry Temple structures with their eloquent wooden carvings, images that were often borrowed from other cultures, English heraldic crowns and lions for instance, or the squares, circles and triangles of Greek geometry used to describe their deic mysteries 0 and lots of horses. El took the ideas of this vibrant art and turned it to his own use, using the cube of Jewish mass as his signature. As did Barney, who could take a greasy hamburger bun wrapper and turn it into a graphic meal. All graphic property is theft in deed.
*Shtetlach (plural) Shtetle (singular) according the book ‘Joys of Yiddish” by Leo Rosten
In Peter Coyote’s oh so too true memoir of the sixties he shews the driving force behind Colin Fulcher’s switch to ‘Barney Bubbles.’ By 1967 Colin had been reading Naked Lunch, On The Road, Howl, was keeping up with the Doors, and Floyd, read up on events in Frisco too. We were lectured by the visiting merchant Seaman, Hippie Jim, who told of the Dead and drugs and the Diggers in the Panhandle.
Somewhere amongst all the Marxist jargon around at the time, the simplicity of the Diggers working ethic stood out. It was they who stole food from Cala (or was it another predecesor of what is now Whole Foods?) on Haight and the Safeway out in the Avenues, euphemistically called ‘dumster diving.’ No sirree. The fabled 70′s Haight Ashbury venue, Shady Grove’s character (and collector of my work), The Beast, ran with the lads who aquired the goods to feed the people, aquired fair an’ square under cover of jostling crowds, push carts, sou’westers and the like. They got food and gave it to poor. Robin Hood in real time.
It was Emmett Grogan who amassed the Diggers in the Haight, to quote Peter Coyote in ‘Sleeping Where i Fall:’ “Emmett’s personal relationship to these formulations of “anonymous” and “free” was always ambiguous and complex. His notion of anonymity was to give his name away and have others use it as their own nom de plume. So many people claimed it for so many purposes that eventually some reporters would assert that there was no Emmett Grogan and that the name was a fiction created by the Diggers to confound the straight world. While Emmett’s largesse was one way of demonstrating lack of attachment to his name, it also made the name ubiquitous, and incidentally made Emmett himself famous among cognoscenti.”
Cheap and Cheerful
The reason I quote this is the obvious contemporary influence on what was the working relationship of Barney and myself in the A1 GoodGuyz, The oft discussed reasons for Fulcher’s dalliance with Anonymity and Free that led to Bubbles and Sqeeek’s working modus, can be found most immediately in the San Francisco Golden Gate Park Panhandle’s Digger history. Coming out of the meld of Morris and Marx with a dash of Manic the Digger’s were cool.
One also can see here,for instance, the background to Warhol having a sub for his speeches, or in another timezone to explain my use of the Barney Bubbles credit when working on Black Dwarf.
I recently accessed a neuron arrangement that told of why I was giving credit to Barney B on Tariq Ali’s Black Dwarf in 1967/8, for work I that had done. When I did this, I amused myself thinking how in the future this would cause attribution concerns for graphic historians. And there was that ‘switched at birth,’ Mark Twainian ‘Pudd’nhead Wilson’ switcheroo going on that Barney espoused. Also the name change was partly because I thought he should have done the work anyway – because that was our arrangement when we started, we’d do alternate issues. I don’t think Barney really wanted to work at Black Dwarf. Yeah, he wouldn’t work in Tariq’s ‘studio’ because there wasn’t one - I had to work on the floor. I’d take his work in with me and present it at the last minute so Tariq couldn’t mess with it.
This photograph, that may have been a time delay release exposure taken by Colin Fulcher (later known as Barney B) of himself and a friend who I dimly rem as being a co-worker, in 1964(?). He showed the photograph to me when we moved into Leigh Court in West Ken, London. In explaining it to me he said he was holding the unretouched humanity of a friend in one hand and the lie of the studio model in the other. I think the pinup is from the 1963 Pirelli calender by Bob Gill (facts anybody?) Fulcher said he was trying to show an idea visually; he explained it to me at length, saying he was not happy with the setup or the lighting, but liked the idea, of contrasting the unreal mask and his friend’s ‘real’ face. Maybe someone else took it, either way, he was unhappy with it. The lighting’s too flat. He thought I could do better.
But anyway, apart from the fact of what he intended to be doing visually, Fulcher felt that doing this as just an exercise was a waste, that we (everything was ‘we’) needed to be more realer, to do stuff in fact. This was to be his last piece as a ‘student’ from now on he wanted to do real. I said “OK. So let’s…” That led to us working on making that idea solid, we’d make an actual ‘real’ poster to create an Image, with Burge as the star. We’d create the Image before the band.
This set of objects, nicely arranged here by clever artists in a faux Paolozzi/Barney head and shoulders set-up, remeniscent of Oz 12, was given to me by Barney in 1971, when I was preparing to travel to the West country, and the Scilly Isles, dispersing my collectables for something lighter. They were in exchange for the two type books I gave him, one with the Chicago signwriter’s ‘Chinese’ type face that he used on Poppa MMM Mao Mao, the other for the decorative borders he used on another record cover (I say, RandM, what was name?). Later when preparing to leave for Mill Valley CA in 1972/3 or maybe later on a visit, I also gave Barney the wallpaper pattern catalogs he used for the famous Ian Dury covers in answer to a specific request. This may have been in 1974. “(H)’ey, you still got those Sanderson wallpaper catalogues your Auntie Whatsit gave you? I could use ‘em, got an idea to use ‘em .”
Addendum: I now think these were just some of the many cool things in the Big Box I got offa Barney in May 1983. One piece was his membership card to the club, at the Station Hotel, the club we frequented, and where Keith Richards opens the first paragraph in his really insightful bio.
The record at top is a pirate recording of the Rolling Stones from, I think, around 1962, although I expect the actual disc was made later, the Beatles cards he collected in about 1967.