A few observations
I’ve been recalling that graphic wiz Colin Fulcher (AKA Barney Bubbles) in 1959 (or it may have been before art school in 1958, possibly could be) worked with his Twickenham art school friends, Roy Burge, Bax (1st name ?), and Jim Bunker in the Kent hop yards picking the ingredients to flavor beer. This is/was a traditional summer job of gypsies and their caravans and London Eastenders who camp, or used to, in growers’ tents or modified old WW1 prisoner of war shacks.
If he didn’t have all the three Bs with him in the hop fields, I know for certain that he did pick hops and told me about it. I have a feeling he got the idea for the job from his dad, who may have been an Eastender hisself.
Fulcher said he didn’t get along with the other ‘traditional’ workers, they probably picked on him because he was not of their ilk and easily riled. The living conditions were awful, cold hard beds and lousy food. But he did like the fact it was a real working class hero sort of experience. They had “a regular knees-up” of an evening “round the camp fire” said Fulcher. The Eastender pearly kings and queens may have put on a show too
After the Hop picking, Bunker, Burge and Fulcher went off to the Norfolk Broads and looned about. Next year they went to Cornwall and King Arthur’s whatsit? Tintagel Castle.
His three friends, Burge, Bunker and Bax were the impetus for him to find a name beginning with B, which gave rise to the idea for ‘Barney’ but which he didn’t start to use use ’till 1966. The ‘Bubbles’ was even later, in ’67.
Bax left school fairly early, Jim B went on to be art ed of Mayfair, perhaps he might contact us. Roy Burge (see Inspector Burge Investigates) went into video and seems to prefer being silent, most likely because Fulcher/Bubbles most definitely wasn’t the ‘sweet’ person that some have described him as in this weblog, and he treated Burge to the skilled malevolent slow burn of Fulcher Fury. Having experienced the gnarly acid of the Fulcher wrath myself I can see why Burge may prefer to forget about it. As for me I got over it easily enough with passing time, although the full Fulcher Fury did sting when it happened to me in in 1968.
Barney’s relationship with beer was mixed, he hated the idea of business meetings in pubs, but designed the Strongbow Beer label, was into PubRock – but mostly disliked drinking the stuff, acid was his brew.
In Marianne Faithfull’s excellent bio she talks of the misogyny of the ‘boys club’ rockers and ain’t that true, In one of Barneys letters to me (see the post on it somewhere back in the older posts) he mentions “getting over misogyny” or similar, and I think that although he may have been surrounded by beautiful women, they were a problem for him. Lady Wordsworth recently described how at school he was a “sharp mod,” but when she met him later in about ’65 at an art galley he appeared to be a “slow druggy.” He told me at the time he did that act just to annoy her. Yup Barney was a real piece of work all right.
I just read that often the principal reaon for suicide is to get back at those who have crossed you and, boy, can I see that at work in Barney’s case, watch out Elvis and jake! (Not to mention a certain author who is haunted by the ghost of Barney, taunting him at night with snidely put-downs for printing such a bodge job rip-off of the Muleskinners ‘Lorry’ T-shirt design.
Moron the ‘re-created’ T-shirt thing – I’m riled. Here’s what I have to say about it.
This attempted reproduction of the award winning and brilliant Muleskinners ‘Lorry’ T-shirt by some Johny-come-lately rip-off person was a flaccid dry-bob cock-up.
The type was the wrong, the logo of the circle and heart graphic was wrong, and wrong was the fact it was done at all.
More wrongnesses are that it was printed in white text on a black t-shirt whereas the Lorry t-shirt, as photographed by Barney, was black text on a white T-shirt, and when it appeared on the final printed poster it appeared as white and orange text on a blue t-shirt.
Out of respect for Barney’s memory and his original intentions, you might think that any ‘re-creation t-shirt’ would be done in either one of these two ‘original’ ways, with white and orange text on a blue t-shirt being the more sympathetic way.
So why did the ‘recreation t-shirt’ get done in white text on a black t-shirt? Why? I think the thing was based on a black and white picture of the muleskinners poster instead of a colour one, with cheapness of production and modern convention as futher unimaginative reasons.
Of course it may all have been a ruse to change the design so that any copyright claim by whoever owns the copyright can’t sue, but that just shows how pig-ignorant the perp is of copyright law. So there. Grrr.