A Right Bunch of Pricks: The Erections

Notice the obvious stuffing in Bowmans pants, that was Barney’s idea. This is a Barney Fulcher photograph. The Erections: far left, Pete Brown, Roger Bowman at top, Roy Burge, and there kneeling like an iddiot, gawdelpme, is me, David Wills. This was not my idea of fun, I avoided photographs, and begat the spat that split the groovy gang.

The lettering on the shirt in this pix is cut out of sticky backed vinyl (by me) and stuck on the t-shirt. I mistakenly put a possessive apostrophe ‘s’ on the end instead of a plural, which is one reason the word is tucked under Bowman’s jacket.

I am happy to claim credit for what is I believe the rockband name to end all rockband names, ‘The Erections’ which, as far as I know, has never been used subsequently. This could be one reason why: I recall that it was difficult to tell me mum, “Yeah, we started a band called ‘The Erections.'”

The ‘band’ had its last, and only, appearance at the Conran Christmas 1967 party in their old warehouse, by this time just Barnstable and me as an air-guitar band, i ‘played’ bass.

I printed these pictures at Barney’s place on Tranmere Road and the glass was dirty (it was etched into the print holder glass, having been cleaned by Mr. Fred Fulcher Snr with saustic soda and left to dry in the sun). I complained and Barney said it was cool like that, and so…  here we are.

•••

It occurs to me that this is an early Barney attempt at the feel of the photographs he later adeed for the Hawklords, or maybe it is another expression of his ongoing easy feel for any frolic that could express itself early, say, three weeks or months, or years early, even. Yeah! Even unto eons, yet, Our Barney could be very early in the history of the style du jour.

The next of this series of pseudo-band pix, which I will find one day, was snapped, under the strict direction of Barney, by me in color with a throw away color camera, ‘soft focus’ (code for cheap) and shot through a shiny tube are proto-new-wavy in feel. (Like that Agnes Varda seagull in the oil-pipe scene.) But he had to move through the sixties peace and love lore afore he could get into his stride with the brilliance of what he did at Stiff, all shiny angry and funny.

The aesthetic going on here, in late 1966(?), is the jaded Mod look, the fashion, which when revived from the morgue in the late seventies, early eighties, had a more sophisticated thing going on.

•••

For recent readers, this is from ‘The Box of Pix’ a bunch of old darkroom tests of mostly my pix that I had made in prep for our Ultimate multimediabox in 1967. Barney gave me The Box full of memorabilia some then 18 years later, in May 1983 as he set about, unbeknownst to me, preparing to die.

As I now realize, he wanted me to make best use of this collection of the “old days,” to continue the idea we’d had to ‘promote’ the A1GGz as a concept ‘band,’ and create the Ultimate multimediabox around our adventures, as a demonstration of how a band might be ‘packaged.”We’ll show ’em how to do it.” he famously said. (Yeah, famously since now, right?)

‘Ultimate’ was the word we used to top the word  ‘Maximum’ which we’d had stolen from us by the Who, who got it from some geezer at the Royal College of Art, (I wonder could the stealee have been Peter Blake the painter, and designer of the Beatles ‘Sgt Pepper’ cover?) Maximum had been one of Barney’s early pseudonyms, it appeared first on a letter I sent him addressed to Colin M Fulcher, and when he asked what the M stood for I said “Maximillian,” which morphed into Maximum.

We had both read that seminal book about advertising ‘The Hidden Persuaders’ that shewed us how callow and cheap the whole biz is, which we knew already, but also shewed how to go about creating the Image. This was, as they say ‘of course,’ the inspiration for the poster for the non-existent but quite visually apparent band ‘The Image,’ which we codded-up as a beginning of our attempt to take over the world. The whole caboodle was to be presented in much the same way that the Hawkwind and others Glastonbury Fayre album was but a pale imitation of (ok, not really, that album cover cornucopia is a real treat, but we writers like to exagerate a smidgen). So as we progress through posting the photosnap tests pretend we are in a souped up, three-D box of imaginings with captions. Have fun. Copyright free!

http://alphainventions.com is a trip.

Advertisements