David’s big head
I just was a doin’ my exercizes, little bit a day – one more push up every so often, ’til I get to 24-a-day. I’m now down to 167lbs (perfect by the chart for my height of 5ft 10ins) in 3-months – from 185lbs in June. So, there I was admiring m’self, the Narcissus Apollo of Petaluma, and when I looked in mirror – I saw David. The Michaelangelo one, big head an’ all.
In the art books, they say ol’ Michaelangelo made David’s sculpture with a too-big-a-head because people would be looking up at him. Stuff-a-nonsence – most people look at him across the Florentian traffic from a distance, so the effect of perspective as viewed from below would only be seen by a few compared with the crowds further away – so why compensate for those few close-up folk? AND ANYWAY IF YOU’RE BELOW LOOKING UP AT HIM FROM BELOW YOU EXPECT HIS HEAD TO BE SMALLER, THAT’S HOW PERSPECTIVE WORKS, WE’VE ALL SEEN IT IN ACTION FROM WHEN WE WAS KIDS.
So… I say that Michaelangelo used a Jewish model, like me, and his head was bigger than the traditional proportion of eight or nine heads to the body, or whatever it is, and gave him a big bonce, and that’s why “every body calls ‘im big ‘ead” (to quote Stanley Holloway). Revise the art-history text books!
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David’s big head
Today in Sonoma on Broadway outside the post office I saw two suspected Tea Party activists with “Impeach Obama” posters hawking for votes, no problem – except they were displaying posters with Hitler’s ugly moustache on Obama’s face. I complained to both the women at the table, saying, “I think that’s disgusting.” As I walked away I saw there was a woman also walking away obviously distraut, I think she was jewish. She was crying, whispering to herself “That’s so disgusting” In the post office, she was inside, sobbing her eyes out. I said to her “That upset me also, I told them what I thought, and used a finger” I stewed a bit, then marched back to the table, irate, livid, steaming and intent on mayhem. I grabbed a poster with both hands and ripped it down, grabbed a second and tore it away too. Then marched off, a proud Ripper, saying to myself, “My grand-dad died in Auschwitz, I’ll be damned if I don’t avenge his memory.” The two at the table started to video me, and called the police, complaining that I’d violated their first ammendment rights. I said, “Go ahead, I’ll be pleased to curse you in court.” We drove away, adrenaline coursing through my veins, elated that I’d won one for the Ripper.
(My punk name back in the sixties and since was ‘Sid Squeek,’ Sid does random acts of non-violence and senseless acts of atrition.)
As an added note to the above, later in the day just as I was about to about to speak to to the the man in the frame shop next to the post office and ask him, “What do you think of the Hitler posters?” he said exacty the same thing to me,”What do you think of the Hitler posters?” When I told him what I had done, he grinned, and shook my hand. That evening I spoke with another guy, proudly telling him what I had done, he also responded,by shaking my hand, and added that if he saw the poster – he’d burn it.
Along with the rest of my jetsom that disapeared down the memory hole over the years were two silver spoons given to me at birth in December 1941. One was from Alan Turing, he of Enigma fame, the master codebreaker Churchill credited with making the biggest single contribution to the Allied victory over Hitler. The other spoon was given by Turing’s boss, RV Jones, Churchill’s choice for scientific advisor to the War Effort – and my godfather. Both spoons had my initials engraved on them, each set of initials in different type styles. As a kid I marvelled at the intricate characters. I realized this morning that my intense interest in these monograms was the inspiration for me to be a graphic designer. To have had such a spoon-fed gift at the height of the blitz was truly extraordinary. My dad, CSWiIls, BSc, was at that time working as a scientific officer at the experimental aerodrome in Farnborough, Surrey, England, which is how he came to know such prestigious people. He was working with Jones on early radar and playing chess with Turing. In another interesting connection, one of my middle names is Christopher, I am thus named for Turing’s boyhood chum, Christopher Morcom, whom he idolized and who died when he was twelve.
I am currently reading RVJones book, The Wizard War, 1978, which is the true story of how to do a good job and beat the Nazis.
Women’s lib happened for me on Thursday, 6 October 1971 at 3:30 PM, in the studio at the newsweekly, Ink, when the wittily observant beauty Cassandra Wedd said I should, “Wise up.” It struck me in a flash – that what I had begun to learn about mens’ attitudes towards women in the previous five years or so was in need of repair. The times had changed – time to get with it. I talked to the hilarious man-skewer Germaine Greer, read Simone DeBouvoir’s ‘Second Sex,’ walked through a door before a woman (and later reverted to tradition), I did some washing-up, learned to cook, the whole works. I’ve spoken with other people, men and women, and they often agreed that the change in attitudes between the sexes around that time was sudden for those who got it. But some never learned, and I don’t think my friend, Herr Barney B. ever did. He was still writing to me in 1976 that he and his mates were trying to get over “misogyny.’ I have a strong feeling he seldom or never scrubbed a floor, washed the dishes or thought a woman smarter than himself.
I’ve been a-musing on the subject ‘cos my newly wooed darling, the adorable Tamala, had concerns that I had an interest in bondage, having seen my recent posts – and was considering the possible ramifications. Happily, being tied or tying doesn’t do it for either of us, but the subject arose and led to discussions before the air was cleared. Nowadays honesty in relationships is uppermost, healthy and hella fun. Collossal orgasms, cleaner dishes, better food and, ah yes, what a great life….
In my new home town of Sonoma in Sonoma County, CA, USA, as my heart-throbber Tamala and I were jaunting off to Costco on a saucy shopping spree for knickers and bra, when we saw smoke, white, that told of a grass fire. But soon the smoke turned an ominous black, curdling the sky with a plume of uncontrolled terror. We were diverted away from the scene by cops who closed the road. But soon our journey took us to a vantage point that gave us a view straight out of a movie. There before us, across the road was the blaze. There were helicopters dropping water scooped from nearby ponds. We drove on, with the belching coal-black smoke roiling in clouds drifting over the Bay-Area. Suddenly… “Oh my god – look at that!” I screamed.
Here’s the video….
A waxing moon might be considered a good choice of icon to help sell a circular slab o’ vinyl (wax, vinyl, geddit?). That probably wasn’t the thought Barney had when he did this greysome poster for Elvis Costello’s Imperial Bedroom LP though, but you never quite know…
‘Barney was a ‘cutter’ nutter.
I recall being in a corridor at Twickenham Art School and Fulcher (AKA Barney’) was rolling his shirt sleeve sleeve down. For some reason, I forget how it came about, but he told me that he and some other guys liked to cut themselves with razors or burn their arms with cigarettes, “You wouldn’ understand.” he said. So true. This was especially macabre considering how, much later, he killed himself by plastic bag after having expertly slashed his own face.
Incidentaly, our good friend Chris Higson may have been a inflluence, his face was totally disfigured after being practiced on by burn surgeons during the second German war, Higson had caught fire with a paper bag on his head.
My indefatigable London correspondents R&M tell me a fresh film about punk rock act Johnny Moped has been laid and hatched by Fred Burns, son of The Damned’s Captain Sensible. Sadly only a trailer can currently be seen though, click here. The trailer features Barney Bubbles’s bondage maypole video; a video he directed for Johnny Moped’s ‘Incendiary Device’ track (something Barney wrote me about in a letter once). Here’s a still from the video showing what I’m goin’ on abaht:
R&M also tell me that Barney used this bondage theme for press ads for Johnny Moped’s LP Cycledelic. And so here below, for your sweaty pleasure, are three of the published press ad variations. The photos are different in each ad, as are the graphic dingbats Barney put in the top corners, and R&M tell me this isn’t even the complete set. Boy, Barney never did like to make life easy for himself!
Don’t forget to drop by again soon tomcats!
Here shared for your viewing delight is a page taken from underground newspaper Friends, featuring a snap taken by photographic legend Phil Franks (the essential silver-salt and cellulose documenter of the happenin’ Grove Gate London underground of the late 60s and early 70s), to whom thanks are given.
The exposed flesh of witch Nicki was being painted by myself and Barney Bubbles at the time, captured by Phil, and printed in Friends for posterity; a naked flesh canvas to play out our painterly symbolism upon. I am absent from this particular frame, and Barney is darting out-of-sight (as usual), sleeves rolled up in earnest painterly mode. Underneath the photo? Some text about Alex Sanders’ coven, and musings on the dangers of the Ritual of materialising Astaroth.
First outed in R&M’s seminal ‘The First Barney Show Ever 2001’, now republished here. And lest I forget to mention, another similar but different (and also by Phil) pic of the scene got used by me in an erotically charged mag at around the same time.
Want more? Did you see this earlier blog entry, where Barney is spotted on video walking through the Friends office, scalpel in hand.
See you again soon, dear readers.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, and matters of the heart coming to the fore, here displayed for your timely appreciation is Barney Bubbles’ sleeve for Phillip Goodhand-Tait’s 1983 single ‘Heartbeat’. A track originally recorded by Buddy Holly, an icon Barney was happy to often parody in his graphixeffex. My London correspondents (whom I thank for the image) tell me this was one of the last sleeves Barney designed.
Welcome again readers to the magic theatre of Barney Bubbles. Here for the first time ever – and for your continued viewing delight – we have a previously hidden treasure, gather ’round as I explain… Shown above on the left is a rare proof of a poster Barney designed for Elvis Costello’s LP ‘Get Happy’ in 1980. See how it uses yellow, red and black; an early colour test (printed in small numbers and not even trimmed) later abandoned in favour of the main print run’s orange, mauve and black. No longer just an X on the map, but found, dug up and shared!
Images kindly donated by Barney historians R&M.
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