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Hi ya all. I get about 18 or so visitors a day, and I’d really like to know who’s out there.
Kursaal Flyers cover by Barney Bubble
RandM writes in comments below…
here perhaps is a barney bubbles sleeve that Colonel (he was a Corporal) Wills would have liked. it’s for the Kursaal Flyers LP ‘Chocs Away.’
Stodgy old dudes
My dad, Cecil S Wills 1905-76, is seen here as a Corporal in the Royal Air Force. He worked on the design of, and later named, the Horsa Glider, that each delivered 36 paratroops at a time, in fleets towed by Wellingtons, during the Normandy invasion. As a Civil Servant, representing His or Her Majesty to the manufacturers, he later worked on the supersonic TSR2 that evolved into the Concorde.
When Osmund Caine, who replaced Coulston-Davis as head of the art school, and the new principal, Wolfenden, who was my dad’s teacher during his RAF Boys Service days at Martlesham Heath in the 1920’s, arrived at Twickenham College in 1958, they…
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Hello New Yearers, Happy New Year! To kick off this season’s delights, here’s a little-seen item from the repertoire of my old friend Barney Bubbles.
Late 1983 Barney designed a cover for Ian Dury’s ‘4000 Weeks Holiday’ LP, only for it to never really see the light of day. I say ‘never really’, because nearly everywhere across the world a different artwork solution was used, but Barney’s original design did make it onto the cover of the Portuguese issue (amongst a tiny handful of other seemingly random places I am reliably informed). Check out the pics above. The photo that Barney used on the front cover is by Bob Bromide.
My English friends RandM (Barney boffins of extraordinary detailedness) are quick to point out that even the Portuguese version is not totally true to Barney’s original artwork; apparently only a copy of the original UK test pressing complete with test sleeve is. Why so? By the time the LP came out to the public (after Barney’s tragic demise), the record company changed the tracklist by removing ‘Noddy Harris’ and adding ‘Inspiration’, and so the record company had dutifully tweaked the design of the tracklist accordingly. But, this Portuguese issue is pretty darn close to Barney’s original design, so here it is goddamit!
Pondering why the tracklist changed? The company execs feared the legal ramifications of upsetting Enid Blyton’s estate with the ‘Noddy Harris’ lyrics “Winnie The Pooh is having a wank. And what are you up to? Said Thomas the Tank…Fuck off Noddy you stupid prat. Fuck off Noddy in your rotten hat”.
I pencilled and brushed McCartney with water colour last year and thought the result worth posting now, since I’ve already upped the graphic by Rebecca and Mike’s for his latest album, NEW, with with its puter-magic gas tubes for all to see.
My friends Rebecca and Mike who live in England and work in all sorts of spaces, create entertaining sights to surprise us all with their magic ability to amuse and delight – and at the same time tell an abstract truth about our world. They dreamed up the catch-me-quick vision for Paul McCartney’s latest album, NEW: A brilliant light logotype set in glowing tubes of gas. Ably CGI’d by boffin Ben Ib.
Talking about the album, Paul said: “It’s funny, when I play people the album they’re surprised it’s me. A lot of the tracks are quite varied and not necessarily in a style you’d recognise as mine. I didn’t want it to all sound the same. I really enjoyed making this album. It’s always great to get a chance to get into the studio with a bunch of new songs and I was lucky to work with some very cool producers. We had a lot of fun.”
History of the Big Boing: recording the sound of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Firstly, this happened over 35 years ago, all the participants have differing memories of the event and future posts will correct the story as it is added to.
There’s quite a story here. I first saw the Golden Gate Bridge in 69 and thought it to be a big harp. Little did I know that when the Bridge was built so did others, that a poem, accessible on line, was written about it.
In 1975 Dianne Rappaport, formerly Bill Graham’s ‘quiet music’ manager and I published ‘Music Works’, a manual for musicians, I drew the cover and all the ads, with a theme of Venusians landing and taking over the music biz. The cover showed a Venusian playing the Golden Gate Bridge as a harp and I said to Dianne how cool it would be to actually do it. Dianne asked her new husband, Walter Rappapport, who is a sound engineer, how that could be done. He said “The Frap!” – Arnie Lazarus’s amazing pick up, able to record everything from a pin drop, to a piano, to a cable hit by hammer on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Then Dianne called Michael Phillips, a former bank manager and writer for the Whole Earth Catalog, who arranged for us all to go out and hit the bridge. We were the people seen in the photographs, me, Brandon Jaide, Molly, Arnie and, not seen here, Walter Rappaport, the bass saxophone player, and Michael Phillips.
Walter, who was the recording engineer on the first trip (we went out a second time too – more on that later) says all we were able to record well was, not the cables, but the big main suspension cable and the lampposts, though I recall it differently. It was after dark, we crept out after hours when the bridge was closed, but were seen by passing truckers who reported us as a mass suicide and a cop came out to shepherd us off the Bridge. (Walter does not recall the cop sequence.)
So after that, Michael found out we could hire a cop and go out and perform our art adventure legally for $15 an hour. The second time we went out Walter could not be there, so the person called Doug Makechnie brought his tape recorder and recorded the bonks and boings of us all hitting the cables to find the best tone. ( I think this is the time when the photographs were taken). Arnie and I had brought a selection of various rubber, metal and wooden hammers.
We found one cable that was especially taught and had a clear, deeply somnolent sound, like something a volcano under water would make. Boiiinnnggg, with a reverberation that did not stop.
Unfortunately Doug talked incessantly over all the sounds, except when I told him to shut up and I hit one mammoth bonk with a wooden mallet. It lasts about 3-minutes. Arnie had a copy of Doug’s original recording and later gave me a copy of it. But Doug kept the original, and wouldn’t give me a copy. Doug proceeded to go out again to the Bridge and, I think, make further recordings, anyway he co-opted the idea and used the sounds without telling us, went on to publicize the recording as his idea throughout the eighties and nineties and later claimed to not recall our gang’s involvement at all.
In 1987, Faye Schoolcraft, the eminent sculptor now working in Los Angeles, sampled the sound of the bridge I had had made, and recorded a beautiful piece of music based on Begin The Beguin. We tried to play it at a press party when Doug showed off ‘his’ noise, but he wouldn’t let us use his audio equipment.
Arnie Lazarus, the inventor of the Frap recorder, was furious about Doug Makechnie’s appropriation of our artwork and will have nothing to do with him to this day, but eventually I contacted Doug Makechnie and he grudgingly acknowledged my inspiration and published a small reproduction of the original cover of Music Works in his blurb, but as I said, he says he doesn’t recall the whole amazing adventure as it happenend. Us artist folk never forgive other’s appropriating our ideas…
As I say, it’s quite possible that the other people involved in this escapade will recall it differently. I do hope they post their corrections. This all happened over 35 years ago – so we can be all excused having varying memories of the event.
One thing I didn’t mention was that this whole adventure was a secret production of the Street Lightning Gang (SLG), of which Molly is the President. The SLG survives in various forms, as a tattoo of the sunrise lightning bolt symbol of the SLG on daughter Alessandra’s neck, and in sales of the SLG World Free Transport System of stencils which when applied to any building convert it to a Teleport and ‘Get you where you want to go in your own time’. This slogan was used by the Greatful Dead in one of their songs.
My daughter, Alessandra (she painted the butterfly), and I painted this mural in 2010 on Clayton at Hayes in San Fransisco. It shows the valley in the Muir Woods State park called Frank Valley and is where the 1950’s, and beyond, community of Druid Heights, with Allan Watts Library, is hidden. Druid Heights was recently in the news when a cabal of interested folk, probably old friends and nabes of Roger Sommers the builder, cajoled the local rags including the Chron to feature a ‘Where Is the Druid Heights Mystery?’ and reporting an effort in The US Congress to declare Druid Heights a National Treasure.
The mural is 39-feet tall and similarly wide – it extends unseen down a narrow side alley.
It features a male Snowy Egret in breeding season, in full and improbable flap – wings up like that usualy indicate take-off and should feature a strenuous forward tilt of the body with legs dangling. Looks graphic like this though. Dahn va soid alley (cockney accented) is a stretched out version (with more probable wings) to allow for the effects of perspective. I used a Sharp copier, and by moving the original photograph got the stretched-out version as artist’s reference for the painting, as seen on on my Facebook header.
The scene is looking down Frank Valley near Mount Tam in Marin County, with Muir Woods off picture at right. Hidden amongst the trees of the scene is the site of a ‘deliberate conurbation’, a 50’s era community of what was called ‘Druid Heights’ from about 1952 to 1973 when one of the founders, Allan Watts died. This is where I lived in 1973-4. I was a room-mate there with Margo St.James, she of the famed SF Hooker’s Balls, that I named, and was an event manager from 1973 to 79, I designed many of the posters. Molly Bode, wife of the eminent artist, Mark Bode, also worked for St.James as Secretary to Her Majesty.
Druid Heights was the compound of homes, shacks and shanties cleverly concealed from the building inspectors, built by an owner, Roger Sommers and his sometine partner, nameless by choice, a high-class joiner, Together they had built a number of interesting buildings, including Allan Watts’ library, housed in a converted water butt, and the Goat House, built in 1967. The Goat House was the inspiration for the Tiny Homes movement.
The Goat House was the original ‘Tiny Home’ – the Ur Tiny Home of the Tiny Home Movement. Designed by Sommers, who had studied with Frank Lloyd Wright, the Goat House was less tham 150 square feet. It had a pot bellied stove and running water piped up from the stream below. It was intended to inspire folk to build their own, The results can be seen in the Hippie Shack built on the side of a Bolinas cliff in ‘Home Work’ by Lloyd Kahn, Shelter. The Goat House was in the garden of the eminent lesbian poet, Elsa Gidlow, who was the producer on KPFA of Allan Watts’ radio talkathons on the subject of a loosely interpreted Budhism. The Goat House was where I first lived at Druid Heights, later I moved up to the Big House and other structures. Boy, those were the days…
For copies of the books ‘Tiny Homes on The Move’, 2013, ‘Tiny Homes’, 2012, ‘Builders’, 2010, or ‘Home Work’, 2008 all by Lloyd Kahn, Shelter; email: ShelterPublications,com and get more than 2000 pictures in color on 360 pages of glossy wit for about thirty bucks a book.
I was eight in 1950, used to visit Lunnon from Amesbury wiv me dad when he worked up at Boscombe Down experimental aerodrome, he’d go up to Lunnon to Shaftesbury Avenue to the MInistry of Supply. Right about then he was a tryin’ t git tubes for his mate Alan Turing who was building a girt big puter. But they’d invented transistors the year afore and he built it with them instead. Anyhow, I used to go up t Lunnon and visit the museums, Nat Hist and the Science Museum, my favorite, and wait for him to finish work by sitting in the cartoon movie house on Trafalgar Square. Ten years later I was working at Grundy Arnott, as a blacksmith’s apprentice, making wrought iron ballustrades and the like. One job I worked on was the finials for the Admiralty Arch Gates, that you can see in the pictures here, at the end of the Mall with a Quadriga (four horses) on top. Hella cool pictures.
Mmmmmmmmm. Don’t quite no where to start with this, many people obviously don’t know much about life before the bacteria therory took hold. In medieval times in England most people did not wash. Period. The layer of grime was protective – if you washed it off you opened yourself to the humours,
By the time these pictures were taken people maybe bathed every year or so, if that. They stank, but it was your own stink and since a family shared the same smell (same bacteria) it was fine, plus you could tell if a person was a stranger ‘cos they smelled funny. Same thing nowadays when you go into someone else’s home, there a subtly, or not, different pong than the way your house smells. Or you might be reminded of some other place because of smell’s ability to prompt recall of other places and times. So these Victorian guys and women would smell, they’d be rankly offensive to modern notions of cleanliness, hygeine, you name it.
It is only recently that I, an Englishman, have learned to shower daily, I grew up in an average middle class home in the 40’s with the weekly bath, and a family towel that was changed when needed. And while I have learned to bathe more frequently, it is just within the last couple of months that I’ve learned to enjoy the pleasures of the shower, rather than the bath.
The fastidious American middle class might think times changed a long time ago, but it didn’t happen quite as long ago as they might hope. The people in these pictures never ever washed their clothes and dry-cleaning hadn’t been invented. Much of London still looked like that when I first went there, the porters in Covent garden still carried those baskets on their heads, the buses, while petrol driven, still had back stairs like those in these photographs of Victorian London. And London was black, with soot a half inch thick in places. Not until October of 1958 when the new coal burning laws kicked in did the awful ‘pea-soup’ fogs stop. In1957, 15,000 old folk died in one memorable smog event, that’s what help change the law.
So take heed and succor – there’s hope to clean things up in our time from the perils of modern diesel pollution, it can be done, because in my living memory things got better, cleaner, healthier. And people don’t stink as much no mo.