Mystery man? Not so mystery now…

Mystery man?

Not so mystery now, my musings below are but as the dust of history, For up-to-the-minute facts see Wickipedia. However, here is what I did write, some truths…

Who did Barney Bubbles, the demon designer mod, fresh out of college in 1963 work for? He chose to work for the fabled “Swiss Typographer” who helped popularize the sizes of paper now in use in the UK, and the acceptance of 6pt over a 6-em column measure that we’ve all read. His name was…  Michael Tucker, and his tale is longer than we know. (true)

As far as I can see, all evidence to his existence seems to have been cleverly eradicated, there are no references to him whatsoever that I can find. (Not so true)

Tucker always was secretive, but he was one of maybe ten well known designers at the time. His studio was on Manette Street just off Charring Cross Road. Well situated on the second creaky wood floor of the old ‘Bleak House’ in which Dickens wrote the novel. A big three storey, white Georgian with a basement and grills, central fancy stairs, a boot mud-scraper, torch-stand wrought in half-by-a-quarter-inch iron, and a big black doorway. Spooky of a night with mustard puddled streetlight in the fog. Opposite was Foyles book store, at a time when they’d still buy yer books if you needed quick cash.Visiting Barney I had to wait outside, Tucker’s studio was off limits to me, instant confusion that I am. He was very tidy. And his windows always had the curtains drawn (Very true)

Now, trying to find out more than what I know already I find it difficult. Barney once told me, and I checked with someone who said they had contacts at the Post Office, and they both suggested he went undercover, designing for Special Ops. Working on graphics, so they said, for a proposed new regime in Uruguay or maybe Ecuador, in the late 1970’s. The whole works, currency, stamps, oil appropriation forms, and all. (based on truth and rumors)

But that doesn’t quite jibe with what I had presumed to be his pacifism expressed in his honest, clean work for the Post Office, on flyers and wall-posted instructions to mail-sorters. I know this work was entered in D&AD at that time, 1963.(true) But here again all mention has been eradicated from the files of D&AD as far as can see. This clever erasure is measure of Tuckers’ control.  (Not really)
And it was this skilled, wit driven precision that contributed to Bubbles’ ability to likewise change your views. That, as Barney would say, “You are what you want to be.” (True)

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