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  • davidwills 4:56 am on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    Moorcock, Marquez, Franks, Lowbridge and Wills on Bubbles 

    David Wills: I was thinking yesterday to contact the well regarded science fiction author, Michael Moorcock and ask about working with Barney Bubbles, but as I see from the interview below, he never did (not true, see comments and next post), although I know they were very good friends.

    Barney once said that Moorcock was the “dark side” to whatever I was. He said, and I struggle to find the words (as did Barney), that I “was like kinda ‘humanistic’ to his own, er ‘mechanistic’ attitude.” Not quite Barney’s words, but as close I can get.

    Barney said that Moorcock was coming from the dark side and that that was just as relevant to Barney’s world view as where I came from ­– which was presumably, since he didn’t use the words, the ‘light side.’ Barney definitely did use the words “dark side” to describe Moorcock though. Look at his picture for proof.

    Readers may see the original interview that I have edited some, at http://pedromarquesdg.wordpress.com/about/

    Michael Moorcock, circa 1963

    Portuguese writer Pedro Marques finds that celebrated science fiction author, Michael Morcock, is indefinable. He asks is Moorcock a core Londoner who wrote one of the best literary hymns to the city, Mother London, and yet feels at home in either Texas or Paris? Is he a hugely read, cultivated, cerebral man of letters, or one who collaborates with Pop and comic book artists, and mingles with rock bands? All of above.

    When Pedro asks Moorcock “What were the comic books, book covers or films that stirred your imagination as a teenager, and did they so as strongly as the literary content?”

    Michael Moorcock goes, “ The only two comics I liked as a kid were Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel Junior from the US and The Eagle with Dan Dare et al. I didn’t otherwise like comics and went for the last juvenile magazine which was all text. It was called The Champion. I loved magazines which caried illustrations or, for instance, the William books of Richmal Crompton which always had Thomas Henry’s beautiful illustrations. I never much liked SF movies and still don’t much. I think I preferred my own imagination!”

    PM “When looking now at the covers of the 1967-1971 period of New Worlds magazine, what was it that set it visually apart from Oz, IT International Times and other underground magazines, or literary magazines such as Ambit?

    MM “I contacted artists like Paolozzi and others and ran articles on them because they were the nearest I could get to what I wanted.  I remember an argument with Jimmy who wanted me to run Dali and I didn’t want to run Dali etc, because I thought them over-used by that time.  I think it was generational.  The surrealists meant more to Jimmy but I felt they’d been on the covers of every American magazine since the 1930s.  That ten years difference gave us different tastes.”

    Charles Platt’s cover for New Worlds issue 193 (August 1969).

    Graphics for Quintessence album poster, 1969.

    David Wills adds his bit, “I find an interesting relationship here, a strong similarity in fact, with the Quintessence poster of the same period, the first commissioned design BB put together at Teenburger Studio. Which kinda puts the kibosh on Moorcock’s theory of why he and Barney seldom worked together.

    PM “How was it to work with BB? Did you know him already before Hawkwind? Did you ever invite him to design one of your books’ covers?”

    MM: “I knew Barney for years but he was still into nouveau-Nouveau mostly at that time. Barney and Charles Platt lived a few blocks from one another in the Portobello Road and environs, where the offices of New Worlds and Frendz were situated, virtually side by side. By the time he was working for Stiff Records he had more work than he could handle and I never wanted to overload him, he was such a sweet guy.  But I would have used him if I could. As it was I used Glyn Jones for that period. Charles later emigrated to the US and Barney, of course, took his own life.”

    DW butting in again here, “I think it is mainly in Moorcock’s imagination that Barney was ever exclusively into nouveau, or anything else come to that, given his freedom he’d come in from the ceiling. In fact it would seem from the Quintessence cover and the New Worlds cover that there was some strong convergence in Moorcock and Barney’s work going on here. I’d a thought Barney’s genius was his total non-commitment to any one viewpoint. Look at the Friends magazine of the time, which was hella cool and wildly new in feeling, not much nouveau there. I think that Barney would have asked to work more for Moorcock if he wanted to, but knew that although Moorcock could be a good friend ­– he was not an easy one to work with, since, as Moorcock says, in another context, ‘I think I preferred my own imagination’.”
    I had earlier written that Moorcock ‘never used Barney’s work,’ I was wrong and have amended my words accordingly.

    • Phil Franks 9:20 am on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Most of what Moorcock says about Barney comes purely from Moorcock’s imagination.

      A few years ago in an interview with The Guardian Moorcock claimed he had “bumped into Barney a few weeks ago”. I pointed out that Barney had been dead for a number of years and that bit was subsequently edited out.

    • David Lowbridge 9:29 am on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I thought it was Peter Blake who had suggested Barney was still alive? It was printed in The Observer Music Monthly in May 2004 and, as you say, has since been edited out of the online version: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/omm/qanda/story/0,,1221976,00.html

      That doesn’t preclude Michael Moorcock from saying it as well though…

      • davidwills 2:49 pm on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        IN November 1983 when Garry Russof called me from LA at three in the morning to tell me Barney had copped it, I fell back into a soporific, drug induced sleep, and awoke in the morning thinking I should recall something important. It wasn’t until May the following year when, freshly arrived in London, I says to me brother Peter, “I’m trying to find Barney’s address, can’t seem to find him.” So Peter smiles, “Don’t think you will, I’m pretty sure he’s dead.” Seems the Bubbles was lothe to let folk believe he’d gone. Trust him to work some weird shit when he’d kicked it.

      • Phil Franks 11:28 pm on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I stand corrected, and apologies to Mr Moorcock – although I stand by my opinion that he has a fertile imagination, luckily for us.

        It was Peter Blake. Here’s part of my email to The Observer:

        DG: Did you do a lot of stuff for Stiff records?
        PB: I did one thing for Ian, I illustrated ‘Reasons to Be Cheerful’. But the designer for Stiff was Barney Bubbles and he was so good I wouldn’t have really competed with him. He lives just down the road from me still.

        As a friend of the late Barney Bubbles I was delighted to see the compliment paid to him by none less than Peter Blake. However, I was somewhat disconcerted to see that Mr Blake is not yet aware that dear Barney took his own life in 1983.

        See: http:/ibiblio.org/mal/MO/philm/friends/barney.html

        and http://ibiblio.org/mal/MO/philm/barney/

        Kind regards,

        Phil Franks

        “Journalism largely consists in saying ‘Lord Jones is dead’ to
        people who never knew Lord Jones was alive.”

        – G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

        • davidwills 5:55 pm on January 5, 2011 Permalink

          Does that mean, I wonder, if the cover of that monument to Barney’s work, the book ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’, has a Peter Blake design on the cover? And are the teeth Barney’s pre-make-over teeth?

    • davidwills 3:07 pm on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Next post see more cock and bull stories.

    • davidwills 9:38 pm on August 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Looking at the covers of Quintessence and New Worlds I’m inclined to believe Barney voiced his displeasure to me about the work at 305 and later when sitting one wet market Saturday at the steamy ‘Bridge’ Cafe, saying he felt ripped off by the New Worlds cover. He felt that the designer had seen the Quint art and nicked the feeling and form., that he was shewn it and told to do “Something like this.” by Moorcock. Barney was furious. I said it didn’t matter in the long run. I said it’s what’s called being an influence. But I think that Barney, on occcasions (he was seldon consistent), thought he had the right to ‘borrow’ art ideas, a right that was not easily given to others. But Barney should be one to complain about graphic larceny, anyroad. Being as how he often lifted too, but I would say usually from more classic sources, he’d avoid last weeks idea, but quite likely take next weeks’.

      • David Wills 5:31 am on August 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Yeah, Barney was really mad about it. I think he’d shown his work to Moorcock and felt ripped him off. It was not good to cross Barney.

        Note to contributors: If any old photos should appear, send ’em, I’ll post ’em.

        • davidwills 6:52 pm on January 13, 2011 Permalink

          Further: I have a feeling, that Barney’s Quintessence cover may have been based on the design that he had originaly created for Moorcock. The cover was one of the first pieces to be designed at Teenburger.

    • David Lowbridge 8:27 pm on January 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Regarding the cover of the Paul Gorman book ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’: no, definitely not by Peter Blake, it’s the front cover image from the Nick Lowe single ‘Cracking Up b/w Basing Street’ – you can see it here: http://www.45cat.com/record/ada34

      In fact, the reverse of that sleeve has been discussed on this very blog before: https://davidwills.wordpress.com/2009/04/25/a-story-about-red-rubber-acid-proof-safety-gloves-hanging-on-hooks-in-a-row/

  • davidwills 6:41 pm on July 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Ian Dury ‘Do It Yourself’ album – update on the wallpaper series 

    I see from the awesome site of Rocco at http://www.user.w-i-s.net/rocco/iandury.htm that the Ian Dury ‘Do It Yourself’ album cover wallpaper series was way more than just the 4 or 5 variations I had thought. This cover design was produced in an industrial size quantity of  variations, on the site there are maybe 48 different covers shewn!

    I had thought they were taken from the Sanderson’s Wallpaper collection of 50’s design books my Aunt The Ironmonger had given me, but since the designs are Crown, and the designs are 70’s they’re definitely not from the books I gave him. Barney asked me for the books in about 1971,The only thing that causes me hesitation in all this is that Barney told me specifically in May 1983 that he had used my Aunt’s old wallpaper books I had given him. He said, “You probably don’t remember, but you gave me some Wallpaper books I used for an album cover.” But these covers are from at least five(?) years later, so the idea must have gestated in Barney’s noddle awhile – an insight into his modus – he had the idea first and found an album to fit.

    The fragment of a 1930’s or 40’s corner border above is from my Auntie Whatsit’s Collection which he may have used when making the presentation mock-up.

    Do you wonder what the Crown company had to say about this blatant use of their copyright designs? Aparently they signed onto the job, and it was done with their permission. Each sleeve has the Crown catalogue number for the particular wallpaper design in the bottom left hand corner.

    Since I’ve never seen an actual cover, (note: yes I did, in Barney’s portfolio in Islinton, 1983). I wonder if they are reproductions of the wallpaper or actual wallpaper? Must have cost a bundle in repro fees if the former, and surely incompatible material and texture for any litho press if the later.

    This is one design amongst the many shewn on the site above, and was sold in Portugal. Maybe our Portugal correspondent Pedro van Deiman could let us know if there were others?

    Note to Rocco: using your non-working email address I tried – unsuccessfully – to email you for permission to use your hard earned research. Maybe we could chat?

    • duvar kagidi 7:16 pm on July 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You can look for wallcoverings @ http://www.evimitasarla.com . They create wallcoverings from images as well.

    • hiroshi 3:05 am on October 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      i am a japanese collector of dury’s do it yourself album. I have collected 35 versions of this album.
      (see website)
      I’m still looking for another variation.

      • Juan Esperanza 10:26 am on June 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Good morning Hiroshi

        It’s nice to find a collector like me. It was by coincidence that I found my first album of Do it yourself. Afters some exploration research there were to options. The serie is 28 but some people said no there are more, about 48.
        I’m very pleased that I saw your 35 copies. There will be much more to do for me.
        I just started since 1 year and have 8 copies.
        Maybe we can help each other, change copies, look for more, buy for each other who know’s

        Thanks you so far

    • Juan Esperanza 10:43 am on July 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Good morning Hiroshi

      It’s nice to find a collector like me. It was by coincidence that I found my first album of Do it yourself. Afters some exploration research there were to options. The serie is 28 but some people said no there are more, about 48.
      I’m very pleased that I saw your 35 copies. There will be much more to do for me.
      I just started since 1 year and have 8 copies.
      Maybe we can help each other, change copies, look for more, buy for each other who know’s

      Thanks you so far

      Please use my next e-mail adress:


  • davidwills 3:28 pm on June 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    A new CD of early material by the band ‘Radar Favourites’ features some reprised Barney Bubbles artwork 

    Hi David,

    A new CD of early material by the band ‘Radar Favourites’ features some reprised Barney Bubbles artwork on the cover. This will be the first time many people will have seen this artwork so we thought it might make an interesting news item for your blog.

    Radar Favourites was an experimental band from the early/mid 1970s, one of whose members was guitarist Gerry Fitzgerald. As well as being a musician in his own right, Gerry also worked closely with Barney Bubbles on the staging of Hawkwind’s Space Ritual tour (amongst other things), and gets name-checked on a few Hawkwind items Barney designed.

    The image supplied to you shows the cover of the new CD, which uses a logo Barney designed for them. Design-wise, it looks like the stars have had some reworking from the original, and the splitting of the blue and black colours is a modern decision too. Other than that, it is a faithful reproduction, and is an interesting reappearance of Barney’s work.

    There is more info about the band and CD here:
    and here:
    as well as purchase links!

    Best wishes,
    Rebecca and Mike

    …and here is the excellent review referred to above at Reel Recordings:

    Radar Favourites was formed in the summer of 1974 by saxophonist/flautist Geoff Leigh, after making Henry Cow’s Legend album the undisputed classic it is. Geoff & his lady, keyboardist/singer Cathy Williams, teamed with electric guitarist Gerry Fitz-Gerald (Mouseproof), bass guitarist Jack Monck (Delivery and Stars), and drummer Charles Hayward (Quiet Sun). This quintet drew upon their disparate playing experiences to inject fresh oxygen into the then increasingly bloated body of British Rock. Theirs was not a regular music, but one that repositioned the markers on the rarified field of experimental rock.

    By year’s end Radar Favourites had completed two studio tracks and gave just four concerts, before shifting personnel and eventually disbanding under industry indifference. This historical CD release presents the original Radar Favourites, carefully remastered from the reels extant. At last we can experience the bands sublime studio recordings, an untethered private session and a forceful concert excerpt recorded at London’s College of Printing, in a specially designed cover by Hawkwind’s graphic artist, the legendary Barney Bubbles. Seldom has an ostensible rock group scoped such prescient musical terrain; free collective improvisations, dynamic tension and release within interweaving layers, and dramatic trans-dimensional song structure. Without reservation, Reel Recordings recommends the music of Radar Favourites as a never less than exhilarating revelation. File under essential!

  • davidwills 11:36 pm on June 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Wills sings: Well well well 

    … later, next century, here we see the Wills, 50 years after the last post, engaged in amateur theatrics, actually singing a song for his departed friend, Waterfall, at the opening of the 33rd Haight Ashbury Street Fair, 2010. I am dressed in faux Tibetan Shaman’s garb improbably emoting a song involving Noah and his Ark. The Haight Street Fair is a Barney Bubbles construct in some ways. When we started our colab after college, in 1964, working to invent ways to promote bands with Barney’s (and my) graphic ingenuity and inventing music videos in the process, one of our intense desires was to create public scenarios for multimedia (it was two words back then and spellcheck not yet invented) and street art events were top of the list. Inspired by the Grateful Dead who famously blocked off Haight Street to perform, we imagined such delights as masked artists painting in public, projecting movies on buildings, and always thinking up ways to involve the audience as part of the show. The germination of that excitement led directly to me (and others for their own reasons) frequently suggesting in 1977  to James von Emon, manager of the Shady Grove club on Haight Street that we should org up a Street fair. That we did. And 33 years later Barney’s influence continues to crowd Haight street with the smoke of braziers cooking dogs and corn and whathaveyou, two stages, 24 bands, and about 170,000 colorful people of varied backgrounds enjoying the scene. A central attraction of the fair is a two booth space, donated by the Fair, that artists Cat Bell, Richard Ivanhoe and I use to stage a street version of our Garden Parties, the contemporary expression of the A1GoodGuys Sounds Good Evening concept of having a good time in public.

    Don French has great pictures of the fair at  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39108059@N00/sets/72157624153901737/

    This is what Don has to say: I created a gallery of images from yesterday’s annual Haight Ashbury Street Fair here:  http://www.donfrenchphotography.com/Events/2010HaightAshburyStreetFair/img_8597c.htm.  I tried to capture the color and flavor of this unique fair in these photos.  I hope you enjoy them.  I strongly suggest that you view the photographs full-size rather than in the index.  Use the Next link above each image to page forward through the images.  If they are too large to fit on your screen without scrolling, try pressing F11 to get more screen real estate (press it again to get the screen back the way it was).  If they are still too large, here is a site that has smaller images:  http://www.donfrenchphotography.com/Events/2010HaightAshburyStreetFair/Smaller/img_8597c.htm.  But they really do look their best at the larger size and you can see more detail.  For those of you who live in the Haight, if you see someone you recognize and know their email address, please send it to me, as many people asked if I would contact them once I had the photos ready to view.  Thanks!

    David W adds, if you see someone you know in the Don’s photographs, but don’t know their email, no matter, please add their name and whatever detail you know as a comment.
  • davidwills 9:54 pm on May 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Highly strung. 

    Photograph of David Wills by Chedgy Copyright 1962.

    I retain the right to remain silent.

  • davidwills 10:30 pm on May 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    Tears of a clown 

    Photograph David Wills copyright 1967.

    Photograph by me of Barney Bubbles in full hippie regalia preparing for the Alexandra Palace all weekend gig in 1967. Friends of the blog who have seen this picture commented that, “There appears to be a great sadness in this photo don’t you think? Tears of a clown… ”

    I agree, guess it really does capture the moment in time when, as my earlier log said, Britain changed forever when Barney dropped acid. This is him overcoming his home town of Whitton’s straight-lace with a vengeance. As a suburbanite he was being very physically brave to valiantly overcome his short-back-and-sides to do the flower power thing seen here.   I said to him, “I have to get a picture of this.”

    Barney could change the style-of-the-day with ease. Weeks (or years) in advance of other like minded motion sensors. Barney took on each new mode he felt worthy of his committed intensity. He was using each successive ‘gang’ affiliation as fresh take on media to explore his ideas. Moving effortlessly from rocker (an early film with Roy Burge) on through Mod that took, like, three weeks in early ’62. Moving on to to Hippie (as seen here) in one day, becoming head, punk, new wave and on. All the while translating ideas gleaned from his extensive reading and seeing, from Warhol to Burroughs, Blake, and Buddha, into the arcana of his commercial work.

    Looking at the expression on Barney I see amongst other elements, “I think I can stay still for a moment. Stay balanced. I know something you don’t. Acid. I’m buzzing. Focus on the lens. The world is a big place. You don’t know what is going down do you Mr Jones? Half smile. Maybe you’ll never know. Big change going on here, life will never be the same, it’s shame you won’t join me.” The face reminds me that he was an awesomely deep thinker and able to enforce his ideas on others with a witheringly deep glance, combined with his gleefully encouraging grin – an effective combo that made others feel stupid to disagree.

    This photograph is also remarkable in that it is one of the few full frontal, up close face shots of his nibs – I guess another must have been his passport pix.

    For those looking for deeper meaning it is worth noting that he has a mask painted on his face and another to overlay it, a riddle under a conundrum. He is also wearing my dad’s leather, US issued (it had cups for earphones) aviator’s helmet. He was flying.

    For the history minded, the town of Whitton is named for the place where a Saxon local government ‘Hundred’ met.

  • davidwills 2:00 am on May 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    The Artist Lorry as reincar of an Egyptian Goddess of Change 

    The etheral form of  the artist Lorry Sartorio, who was sometimes worshiped as the reincarnation of a supposed Egyptian deity of change, Atenaken, hovering afore us here in ghostly phlogistan. Lorry was one of Graphic Whiz Colin Fulcher’s most long lasting inspirations.

    I’m unsure of who took what here, but given a guess, I’d say as how the snaps on the left and right are mine and that the centre blur is a Colin Fulcher photo.

  • davidwills 4:54 am on May 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Faces from a pivotal time, but then, aren’t they all? 

    All these photographs were taken and printed by David Wills (‘me’) around 1966 to 1967 in the dark room at Colin ‘Barney’ Fulcher’s parents house in Whitton Mddx. All (or many, or most, at least some) are reversed left to right, “It adds another layer” said the Master of the Depth Charge (Barney). Oddly in all but one of the photographs, the subject is facing right. Ah, yes, they were to be abutted, The Wilson mask was to face left, with a well overlapped collage crowd facing right. So. The reversals were printed thusly on purpose it seems Holmes. Ah, such glimpses. Fun to recall. Someone might do it, right?

    They were to be used in an as yet unfinished project that aimed to record the doings of the A1GoodGuyz in the same way we had experimented with the the ‘Image’ and the ‘Erections’ and planned a multi-media extravaganza box of tricks to do it. Consider this log a Box of Tricks.

    Top row, Who? 1 Roy ‘Bumps’ Burge, into video now, with an air-rifle from I bought at Churchill’s, just behind the National Gallery. This was taken on a trip to Aunt Rene, my ‘Aunt Whatsist’ of Ian Dury wallpaper fame, in Poole. This was not connected to the Twickers’ cowboy fixation, more a casual hooliganism, not that we did anything wrong, just an attitude. When the feeling about guns as totally uncool kicked in later, I gave the gun away to some guy on Basset Road, a friend of the Saviour of Venice, that divine student of architecture, the alluring Diney Bercel.

    2 Lance Simmons  was  a typographer who took my place at Town magazine in 1965, working with with Roy ‘Billy Apple’ Carruthers.

    3 Helen harrington the future wife of the well known misty-wriggly NY painter, Brice Marden, with whom I stayed in their NY loft on Grand Street in Aug ’67 in a studio full of his mesmerizing paintings of New York fog.

    4 Last on top row on right is the Master of the Intricate Trees, Mick Jackson, sometime room mate of way-cool illustrator cartoonist Chris Higson and myself. Mick was, probably still is, an illustrator, a Welsh dreaming linear craftsman who was rep’d by Saxon Artists when I knew  him, drew for the Radio Times, and married artist, Dianne Hillier.

    5 AD Chris ‘Took’ Terry was at Twickers Art school same year as Dave Palmer an’ me, from ’55 through to ’61, he had an apartment with AD Tommy Atkins above us on Avonmore Road. The previous tenant in what would be our place at A1Leigh Court had died in a fire, it was Terry who told me it was a available.

    6 Sandra Garnel was the beautiful raven haired daughter of the hairdresser in Hampton Wick. We got aquainted on an epic journey to Portland Bill. Abandoned the bus and we ended up at Aunt Rene’s. I lost her in Baden Baden or was it Hamburg, Germany, making bent wire jewelery.

    7 Mary Lexa jumping, the Bohemian dancer from the mid-west, choreographer – was a lively one – worked as a dance-diva in Denmark. Was  at the Bubbles’ random noise recording in New Malden, 1969, and had a tape of it.

    8 Last row, ‘Jacob’ in a Harold Wilson Mask at the Sounds Good Evening, with an as yet unnamed, mysterious student in the back.

    9 Dave Palmer, was in the same year at Twickers as Terry and myself. Dave was a bit of a lad, worked for JWT in Brumagem, worked for one of the train Robbers, too, so he said.

    10 The alluring Lexa leers from below her lid.

    11 Derek Wallbank and Susan Perfect getting married in 1966(?). RCA film-proff, Derek was editor of the Barney Fulcher short, the world’s first made for TV ‘music video.’ Susan cuts linoleums of classic Thamesian views.

    12 Chris Terry

  • davidwills 4:50 pm on April 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    The DR.Z cover that attracts such keen collectors 

    A most appreciated cover sleeve: DR.Z Three parts to my soul 1971 – going, going…?

  • davidwills 4:41 pm on April 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    DR.Z Three parts to my soul 1971 

    Dr.Z album cover attracts collectors for good reason, it’s a masterpiece. Here it is on Ebay, offerred at the remarkable price of

    Item condition:
    Time left: 4d 00h (22 Apr, 201018:09:58 BST)
    Bid history: 25 bids[Refresh]
    Current bid: £1,290.00
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