Updates from July, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • davidwills 1:28 am on July 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Many of Colin Fulcher’s (AKA Barney Bubblles) album covers to be seen 

    I just found this
    Which means it’s probably been around a while. ‘Tis a view of much of the Colin Fucher (AKA Barney Bubbles) ouvre, I could correct one or two things in the biography, but a it’s good show and worth a visit.
  • davidwills 4:39 am on July 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    The glossy, brightly coloured illustrations by Denis McLoughlin in the Buffalo Bill Wild West Annual 

    The glossy, brightly coloured illustrations by Trent Magreggor ? (no – see below) in the Buffalo Bill Wild West Annual of 1958 were a big influence on Colin Fulcher. I’d been looking for the artist for a while and came across the reference to the book in Kieth Richards’ book ‘Life.’

    • davidwills 4:52 am on July 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I think the editor was John Groom, but who was the illustator?

    • david wills 5:11 am on July 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      The Comic Art of Denis McLoughlin No. 1: A Comics Monographs Special Issue ~ Book ~ Stated first edition, 2007. Perfect bound, 102 pages including covers, illustrated in black and white.

  • davidwills 2:36 am on July 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Masie P does Bengali in Whitton on a visit to Colin Fulcher’s home town haunts 

    Masie P. writes: I had a brief stay back in Twickenham last week and had yet another culinary delight from Whitton High Street.  A new Bengali restaurant has opened where the John Greigs store used to be.  It’s in the style of Southall High Street eateries, but a little more refined than the stand-up takeaway.  It is of course, completely vegetarian and non-alcoholic and the food comes in pantechnicon-sized containers and costs pennies.
    I took my son and eldest grand-daughter for a birthday treat… eight…  and the waiter was amazed that such a wee child was relishing the chillies in the dhosa.  Takes after her Nanna. 🙂
    Been painting blue angels all week…  I seem to have a comic-book streak hidden away in me somewhere, that keeps making a break for it.
  • davidwills 3:57 pm on April 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Masie Parker visits old flame Barney Bubbles’ hometown, Whitton. 

    By way of expo, Colin Fulcher was the protoname of Barney Bubbles a renown bloke what done art back when. His contemporary, Masie Parker writes about a visit to his hometown:
    ” I just got back last night from a day out in Twickenham, Whitton and environs. I got a ride up to see my kids and grandkids in Whitton because my partner had to go to the rugby match between France and England in his capacity as a corporate host.
    In between the hoards streaming into the newly expanded rugby complex/ground (80,000 capacity) and the hoards streaming out of the ground we had a brief window in which to drive down to Twickenham town centre and grab a curry from Palavi (the Indian restaurant in the cinema building).
    Every house along the road leading from Twickenham station to the Chertsey Road (past Egerton Road) had a burger van, or doughnut stall, or Thai curry van, or sausage van parked up in their front garden. Vendors selling flags, banners, hats, scarves, hooters, vuvuzelas, animal masks, face paint, proliferated between the food stalls.
    They aren’t allowed to park in the street or on the road, and so people rent out their gardens for the day.  Some peole charge £50 for a day’s parking and as so many people have concreted the front of their houses they can accomodate up to four cars.
    The whole of the area around the ground on the Whitton side has parking restrictions and residents have to buy parking permits for themselves and any visitors.  All those lovely Edwardian and Victorian houses (Do you remember the house with the small tower built onto the corner of it?  It was very much like an Edwin Lutyens design.)  that were along the road in front of the rugby ground have been demolished and the ground is about four times bigger than ever and has so many conference suites and shops in it and it even has a Marriott hotel built into it.
    Although it’s been about a year since I was up in Twickenham, it was a shock to see how things have changed.  The worst it used to be on rugby days was that you couldn’t drive along the road outside the ground for parked cars, but this has moved to a whole new level.
    On the way back from Twickenham centre, we took the road back past Twickenham Green.  My first house was in Third Cross Road.  The ammount of development along the Staines road is frightening.  There are rows of what used to be little Victorian artisans houses that have been turned into furniture show rooms, spa showrooms and car sales rooms.  The Five Oaks pub is now called The Bloomsbury and is painted in shades of cream and mushroom with the name in 3ft high letters across the front. (Joe tells me it’s still frequented by pikies).
    When we decided to leave for home at 9pm, the roads were still filled with people leaving the rugby ground and so I told Frank to turn right at the Co-op along Whitton High Street and take the back roads around the centre of Whitton and join the traffic at Percy Road.  It was just an excuse to drive past Colin’s old house in Tranmere Road…  BTW, the whole Co-op building has been bought by Lidls supermarket, soon to be opened in Whitton!There seems to only one reason for ever going back to Twickenham/Whitton (apart from my kids) and that is the Indian food.
    The sweet shop across the road from Joe’s house sells fresh baked samosas every day for 40p each.  The lady who owns the shop makes them, but nearly all the corner shops make them… My grand-daughter Honor buys them like sweeties on her way home from school.”
  • davidwills 2:14 am on January 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: balsa wood models, , , , , , Fun Boy Three, , , Lunatics, , Squeeze, The Specials   

    Barney Bubbles’ Videos 

    Barney Bubbles lights up Marilyn's smile in Elvis Costello's Clubland video

    Barney Bubbles gives Squeeze a squeeze by magnetically distorting a TV's cathode ray tube

    This list of videos below is from Wikipedia’s elegantly revised, and suprisingly acurate bio of Fulcher/Bubbles. (The live links below take you to YouTube videos.)

    As a video director, Barney Bubbles directed several videos. These included The Specials’ “Ghost Town”, Squeeze’s “Is That Love” and “Tempted”, Elvis Costello’s “Clubland” and “New Lace Sleeves” and Fun Boy Three’s “The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum”. Two promos for punk act Johnny Moped – “Incendiary Device” and “Darling Let’s Have Another Baby” – were never commercially released.

    • davidwills 2:11 am on February 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      For new readers, the famed graphic artist Colin Fulcher used the name Barney Bubbles.

      The Specials video that he directed is very similar in construction to what Fulcher had in mind for the First Music Video Ever that we made in 1963 for a BBC competition to find an idea of what to do while music played on TV. Abstract repeated pattern, an action, fin. Made with the Modrock band, ‘them’ Muleskinners, the editing of the ‘video’ by Derek Wallbank was not to Fulcher’s liking, and I never saw it.

      Anyway, the Band broke up before the ‘video’ was finished. (it was on 8mm because he didn’t have a video camera.) Fulcher designed a really cool poster that I thought was to go with the ‘video.’ Although the poster was made earlier, it was associated in some way with the ‘video,’ and maybe featured in it, but probably not, since it would not have reproduced well in black and white. The red and blue were of equal intesity and tone, with blue condensed type on a red field – clash city in color but monotone grey in B&W. But as far as I know it has not yet (2011) been recovered from the trashcan of history. Come on lads, where is it?

      A note on ‘them’ Muleskinners. As has been pointed out elsewhere ‘them’ wasn’t part of their name. The ‘them’ came from me. When I saw the poster and asked him about it he reminded me that I’d said earlier while slapping my metaphorical buckskins, “They ain’t no goddam The Muleskinners, they be Them Muleskinners” in a rousing Westcountry American accent and that he credited it as my idea to use it on the poster. This led on to a discussion of layers of meaning in design.

  • davidwills 9:04 am on January 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Barney Bubbles – Past Present Future 

    This pic was drawn by Barney Bubbles in 1968. It is based on the results of the parlour game ‘consequences,’ where a folded  piece of paper is passed around and the guests add to the unseen drawing above, using over-the-fold clues of where to begin provided by the previous artist.

    This was a favorite pastime of us  loose gang of chaps and chicks in the A1GGz, who hung around West Kensington, London, in the 60’s. The art appears to be a graphic drawn entirely by Barney Bubbles but is, I think, based on various preceeding games of  ‘consequences,’ played to while away stoned evenings of  ennui. I recognise the lower squiggling concoction as being derived from a particularly good result played, if memory serves me truly, with Barney, his ever faithful friend Lorry and myself one dark night during a power failure when we worked by candlelight.

    With its ‘Right awareness of Past, Present and Future’ and ‘The universe falls into chaos and the stars hurtle into disorder’ it is obviously in tune with the passing Buddhist sensibilities of Barney during our underground mag Oz 12 days, when he’d been reading Herman Hesse (unfortunately recently outed as a sometime Nazi) and considered himself a bit of a Boddhisatva ready to take on the world.

    In Barney’s ventures into the steamy world of godly reason, he’d previously incarnated, very briefly, as a  Jewish student of an uncle up North, who’d told him about the mystical Cabbala that, like some early chip circuit, held the graphic answer to the Theory of Everything.

    Reading about the Russian Suprematist, El Lissitski, it is apparent that he had much in common with Barney apart from a premature, self induced demise, in that they were both excellent robbers of graphic symbolism, taking their ideas from wherever. Like the Russian expat Jewish carrousel carvers of imaginative horses for their round-abouts in New York of the early 20th century who took their skills at creating Temple adornment, which included fancy horses, to commercial advantage, Barney and El  were both adept at creating new symbols from old ideas.

    El went on a tour of the Jewish walled setlements, the schtetlach*, villages of tzarist Russia, places  ‘beyond the pale,’ documenting the carpentry Temple structures with their eloquent wooden carvings, images that were often borrowed from other cultures, English heraldic crowns and lions  for instance, or the squares, circles and triangles of Greek geometry used to describe their deic mysteries 0 and lots of horses. El took the ideas of this vibrant art and turned it to his own use, using the cube of Jewish mass as his signature. As did Barney, who could take a greasy hamburger bun wrapper and turn it into a  graphic meal. All graphic property is theft in deed.

    *Shtetlach (plural) Shtetle (singular) according the book ‘Joys of Yiddish” by Leo Rosten

  • davidwills 7:08 pm on January 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    1967: Colin Fulcher the ‘Kulcher Vulcher’ 

    In 1967 Colin Fulcher, the ‘Kulcher Vulcher’ (T. Conran quote) began to use his nom d’art ‘Barney Bubbles.’ Whilst I worked under the guise of a buzz-cut skinhead, proto punk, Sid Squeek (please note I was a ‘Sid’ before the Sex Pistols’ Sid), bofe of us worked together, working part time as the A1GoodGuyz. From August to December of that year we were designing and writing Oz12 along with a gang of friends, making it a communal enterprise.

    For our younger, or otherwise new readers innocent of history, Oz was an alternative press psychedelic, colour zine of the underground, quite subversive to the untainted minds of suburban sixties Britain. Oz 12 was an experimental issue, a series of large uncut sheets that, when de-stapled, instead of pages, opened up to become big posters. ‘The Tax Dodge Special’ as I labelled it, or the ‘Play Issue’ as R.Neville called it, or just ‘OZ12′ as it came to be called.

    Sometime during September (?) ’67 I flew off for 30 days in New York to escape from DPB and T, the Marlebone High Road ad agency I grumpily desked at (one of my accounts was the London Labor Party when they lost the election in ’67, I designed the posters). Run by mega-hip Norman Berry, he let me go for as long as I liked, but I never went back.

    In Manhattan, I interviewed graphic icon Milton Glazer at Pushpin Studios, I represented the A1GGz, so I had both of our works in the bag; (It was a big ol’ black and battered guitar case.) Milton particularly admired Fulcher’s letter head and logo of a peacock for a paint suppliers he worked on at Conran;

    I met with the keenly observing writer Paul Krassner at his ‘office’ of the Realist – sitting on the milk crates and the floor of his place in the East Village, I was oggling the voluptuous Whore-nun Maria, who had three locks on her apartment door.

    I advised Abbie Hoffman in jean jacket with many pins and buttons and badges, not to tread on the portfolio as he burst in and lunged across the floor covered in unfiled folder piles, which, somewhere, included the Pentagon Papers. Abbie and Paul were discussing tactics for the upcoming Chicago National Democratic Convention, I advised them to stage a police riot… (see the movie).

    Hanging out at painter Brice Marden’s pin-factory loft on Grand Street in Little Italy with Brice’s entertaining friend Helen, soon to be his wife. Helen had stayed with us A1GGz at Leigh Court in London and had invited me to stay. Brice, at that time Robert Rauschenberg’s co-worker, invited me to party at Robert’s place in the Bowery, I got to drive the great discs of ‘Revolver’ in his studio, figured how to turn them all at once so a moire pattern appeared and evaporated much to the artist’s delight. Wore a six-inch wide tie to Max’s Kansas City and so got preferential seating in the centre along with Warhol’s crowd… Great times.

    When I got back to London Barney had orged a paste-up party with John Dove and the others to finish the art except for the A sheet, which included the ill fated cover.

    I had shot the group we never used (shewn elsewhere in this image-mine) of the A1GGz Gang, but Jon Goodchild suggested also shooting Cream, the band, as an alternate (but which we also didn’t use). So on a Thursday afternoon in Leigh Court, West Ken, London WC2, at about three in the art’ernoon, the Cream arrived talking about groceries. They all saunter into my white walled room with the brown knobbly carpet that Barney and dancer Mary Lexa once did it on.

    Eric Clapton was out to lunch, glazed and confused, in 501’s and a shirt no tie; Ginger Baker with fringed leather jacket, boots, shades and a frown, looked like he could kill you, and might; Jack Bruce wore a suit with lapels wide enough to fly, built to impress an attorney, our Bruce was aware, bored and wanted to leave.
    The entourage was there for about 25 minutes and split. Barney goes, “Huh. They were boring, weren’t they.”

    We didn’t use the snaps because Barney and I were Richmond ‘Stones freaks and didn’t want no Ealing Cream in our tea. About ten years ago I came across those 24 exposures of the Cream, taken on Infra-red 35mm film, 400ASA,. they are now filed in a locked container in the Sausalito boat yard (near where I used to work at Whole Earth with Stewart Brand).

    You’ll have to wait awhile to see the snaps, but one day I’ll dig ’em out…

  • davidwills 11:59 pm on September 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    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)

    • John 6:53 am on October 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      When you opened the door, there was this guy, I’d never seen him before, he said he’d lost his money. Blarney began crying uncontrollably. What a moronic act! And you, David, went along with that, falsely accusing me of theft, even although I did not have a key to the house. I was shattered by your dishonesty. I was destitute and homeless, but Iam not a thief. Absolutely not. Now your past is catching up with you, false shaman, shame on you, damn you.

      • davidwills 9:13 pm on October 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Anybody got a clue what this is all about? It seems to be written by somebody who knows their way around words but has difficulty here in making any sense. Maybe the author could help us understand with a little more detail?

  • davidwills 11:49 pm on July 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Aten sends a scan of his dad’s painting for an Indian restaurant 

    Barney Bubbles’ son Aten Skinner very kindly sent us this scan of his dad’s work, for which we all thank him sincerely. Aten said, “Hope the viewers like it.”

    I know nothing about the history of this painting other than that it was painted by  Barney for an Indian restaurant in London. I would guess it to be painted about 1974. I could make up a story, about how Barney paid for a vindaloo and popadoms with this painting, but I won’t. If any astute reader, and there are many hereabouts,  has any other knowledge, please do tell.

    • R and M 10:02 pm on July 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      A BIG thanks to Aten for sharing this. It is great to see it.

      Visually it feels really close to the 1974 Hawkwind tour programme Barney Bubbles did; the background in particular is an exact match. The tour programme was featured on this blog a while back. To save everyone searching and searching, here’s a link to it so you can make the comparison. https://davidwills.wordpress.com/2008/12/06/mucha-blonde-in-bbubbles-heist/
      So David, your 1974 date for this painting is probably a good guess.

      Very interesting to see a BB monogram on this, given the whole ‘anonymity’ thing Barney had going on.

    • Lia 4:00 pm on July 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks and hello to Aten. I first met Barney when he stayed at out house in San Francisco. In those days we spent a lot of time at the Avalon and the Filmore but one summer evening we came up with a recipe for Sara Seagull (Barney’s name for me in those days) Soup:
      1 c orange juice, fresh
      1 c yogurt
      1 pt fresh strawberries
      sugar to taste

      Blend ingredients.
      The first smoothie?

      The recipe was published in 1971 in the vegetarian cookbook, The whole Wheat Heart of Yasha Aginsky by Carrie Rose (E P Dutton)

      • davidwills 4:16 pm on July 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Sarah, and thank you so much for the interesting food item. If you have any more memories to tell, a thriving industry of Barnologists is awaiting your every word.

        We are particularly interested in who Barney met in San Francisco, and what he did when out and about. I particularly recall his delight in the sweet (candy) wrappers he saw. But he was not impressed by the creativity of the light shows he worked with. They were nowhere near as advanced as he was, his freewheeling approach to the art took him places they thought not true to the form. If he could do it, he did. Anything is of interest – our readers are fanatics.

        Wiki and others say inaccurately that Barney was influenced by Mouse and Kelley, not true. They were stuck in an old rut as far as he was concerned, nothing to learn from them. They were reshuffling old ideas that had already been done. Mouse (or was ir Kelley?) went back to the US and told John Goodchild who was at that time working at Rolling Stone, that Barney was just another scraggy hippie. (possibly true if you saw him, but hidden under that hair was a noddle of gold.)

        (I wrote about much of this somewhere back in the older posts.)

    • David Wills 5:12 am on August 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Folk
      David Wills tells tales: I’m out here in the wilds of Clayton Street, far from the old folks at home on Ashbury. All the folk are sad and weary,.. sod that. We havin’ fun. Bought me a new wooly zip coat from Tibet, warm enough to heat a witch’s. Cat Bell and Richard my hosts like my green tomato, cabbage and baked tofu, no roots (Jain influence), vegan soup, with artisan bread. I hear that the seventeen-year-old, fair-haired willow pattern Aless (she’s making a movie today) and Lynn the fabulous tip-typist poet are whorling away on the paperwork for our 10 10 10 International Binary Day at the Ashbury-Haight Block Party. The bands including Lynn and the Thunderground, The Jug Town Pirates, Galaxxy Chamber, and the Screamers All the homesteaders on Ashbury are for the block party. I know, I asked them all. This approval is important ’cause the city wants to know that we have the OK of the nabe. And we do.

    • acrobat reader x pro 2:28 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

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  • davidwills 5:20 pm on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    Michael Moorcock and Deep Fix… The New Worlds Fair 

    RandM write: in a rush but quickly to let you know that Barney DID do some work for Moorcock.

    the main thing he did was the LP design for ‘Michael Moorcock and the Deep Fix’ entitled ‘New Worlds Fair’. (See above)
    he also did some promo items for this LP too.

    he also did a logo for one of Moorcock’s characters ‘Zip Nolan’ but it is thought to have never been used anywhere

    this was on PGs blog a few months ago.

    • David Mosley 9:38 pm on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Just for the record, the full context of Moorcock’s comment about ‘never having used Barney’ in Pedro’s interview is specifically with regards to *book* covers:

      From ‘Part II’:
      “PM: Did you ever invite [Barney] to design one of your books’ covers?
      MM: 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 [Richard] Glyn Jones for that period.”

      • davidwills 9:57 pm on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        My bad, if you don’t find it.objectionable from a webloggian perspective I’ll edit to show the truth. I edited Pedro Marquez text for added drama, not for sense it would seem. Damn artists have no respect for text.

    • davidwills 10:14 pm on July 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, looking at that hideous mask in the center of the cover, I have a feeling I may have drawn the original myself, it looks to be drawn by another hand. Unlikely – but is there a credit ?

      • R and M 4:54 pm on July 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        The LP came out in 1975, and the credit reads:
        “Da cover by Barney O’da Bubbles (late again !!)”

        The ‘hideous mask in the center of the cover’ that you comment on was pretty much lifted from a comic.

        The front cover design is actually a photo of a 3d model Barney made of a ticket booth to the Fair; it even incorporates real dust.

      • davidwills 11:53 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I think the reason I thought I’d drawn the original is that way backa when, I was a horror comic fan and liking this image copied it, hence the confusion. In 1952(?) I was reading the comic, The Blob, when the Brit gov, banned horror comics, and as a result I was never was able to finish the story.

    • davidwills 5:32 pm on January 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hold it researchers!
      I was a lookin’ at that mask, and once again had the strong impression that I’d drawn it. Then in the dark of my noggin there appeared the idea that the original in the magazine was for some reason unreproducable, (it was torn) and that Barney asked me to redraw it, which is what I did. It would be easy enough to check, since I drew it freehand.

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