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  • davidwills 4:39 am on July 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: art, , , , , , ,   

    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 9:23 pm on March 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , alice in wonderland, art, balloon race, , bear driver, , , crystal palace, , director, , film, footage, hookah, lewis carroll, mad hatters tea party, mask, michel parry, mod, monsters, mushroom, pop, , , rosemary chester, , soho square, trippy, , , ,   

    Barney Bubbles – Alice In Wonderland film 

    The rare and much discussed Barney Bubbles ‘Alice In Wonderland’ film (made with Michel Parry and a bunch of our other friends) has been unearthed from the vaults and can be viewed here! Barney Bubbles (Colin Fulcher), who was my old pal back from those times can be seen on the film, as can Rosemary Chester who plays Alice.

    However, note that the music isn’t the originally intended soundtrack – it is a new song by Michel Parry’s daughter’s band ‘Bear Driver’ – and the footage has been re-edited by ‘Bear Driver’ band member Harry. Some of the locations are recognisable as Soho square and Crystal Palace Park, where the monsters are! Here are some stills:

    Barney Bubbles film still: The Caterpillar sitting on a mushroom smoking a hookah.

    Barney Bubbles film still

    Barney Bubbles film still: Mad Hatter's Tea Party, Barney is on the right, looking towards the camera.

    I’ll have many more words to add soon about this escapade, so as usual, check back for more…

    • R and M 9:59 pm on March 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      In the still that shows Barney Bubbles looking towards the camera, there is a masked figure next to him. This exact same mask can be seen in one of your photos from the Sounds Good Evening held at Leigh Court in 1967. Here is the direct link to the pic https://davidwills.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/rowdy-times-at-leigh-court-high-the-sounds-good-evening/

      • Crispin & Jennie Thomas 3:28 pm on June 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        David ..I reckon this film must have been a long on-going project of Barney’s…Jennie and i hitched to Matala Greece and Istanbul, via Paris ( i guess 67) and ended up making ( I guess a Super-8 ?) version of Alice In Wonderland with Jwennie paying an Alice type figure..in the gardeen of a house in Boulogne Billancourt /Paris..where Barney was staying….and here we are stil together x from Stroud .Werer you there too?

    • davidwills 10:50 pm on March 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Yup, sure is, it’s the fromer labour PM, Mr Wilson, the taxman of Beatles fame.

    • davidwills 12:24 am on March 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      At one pont in the tea party there a guy wearing a pointed hat that came from a street find on the North End Road, including someone’s complete Jordanian I.D. The top hats were from the old Peterborough Road days of Chris Higson and Mick Jackson when the hats were often worn to Trad-Jaz events.

      This reminds me so much of an Andy Warhol movie. From what I read of Edie Sedgewick’s adventures at the Factory in Manhattan I can see how much we owed to Andy Warhol in our various adventures. I was at the opening party of the new Factory, I think in August 67. Went with Brice Marden’s swoon, Helen Harrington the muse, I took off with Sandy Daley, said she was the daughter of the the late Mayor Daley and sibling of #2, a videographer of an intelligent (she thought I was smart) red crew-cut beauty in jeans. She filmed the piercing of Mapplethorpe’s nipple at the Factory about that time. Over coffee in a grease-bar she invited me back to the Chelsea Hotel, I said “Why?” in that anoying inner idiot voice i know so well. She looked like I came in from the moon, “Whadda y’ think?.”

      Reading Ciao Manhattan it’s easy to imagine what awaited. But Helen’s sage advice not to get hooked-up with the Factory crowd too much kicked in and I slouched off, early as usual, leaving the party, back to the pin factory on Grand Street. Thereby avoiding a disolute life of depravity, speed and an early death.

      Yes, the Warhol crowd were represented in 1967 at Leigh Court by Helen, who loved our set-up and compared it favorably with Andy’s doings, but without the death thing. She gave smart advice that has followed me through life, “An artist is one who does art, that which is done by an artist is art.” She also said that Brice had said that once you had worked in ad agency you could no longer be an artist. I expect he said that thinking of Andy W who had toiled in the art department at JWT or similar, I figured it didn’t apply to me ‘cos I’d only worked at DPB&T long enough to act as a catalyst on the boss and send him to New York..

    • R and M 8:41 am on March 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      In Will Birch’s book ‘No Sleep Till Canvey Island’ this film gets a mention. Here’s a quote from it:
      “‘Colin Fulcher was into fantasy’, says Stafford Cliff, another former colleague at Conran. ‘He made a film in Kensington Gardens, where everyone had to dress up as characters from Alice In Wonderland. He was drawn towards the pop scene and underground publications such as Oz, in which he desperately wanted to be involved’.”

    • LiveUnsigned 10:51 am on March 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Great to hear Bear Driver involved in something like this. A very creative band: http://www.liveunsigned.com/Bear_Driver/

      • davidwills 9:28 pm on March 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        … er, isn’t that comment from Bear Driver, about Bear Driver?
        ‘Tis so, very creative. I think perhaps they are not getting their money’s worth from LiveUnsigned.com

    • R and M 8:50 am on March 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      David, whilst we’re loosely on the theme of creative projects based on literary works, do you have any recollections of the Hobbit you and Barney Bubbles made, around 1968?

    • davidwills 8:54 pm on March 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hi there good people one and both, no I can’t say as how I do, having little, nay no, memory of the occasion. Are you sure I was there?

  • davidwills 9:04 am on January 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , art, , , , , , El Lissitski, ,   

    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 8:55 pm on January 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: art, , , , Maise P, Margaret Minay,   

    Barney Bubbles snaps Maisie P 

    Colin Fulcher snaps Margaret Minay. The top pic shows the invitation by postcard, the bottom pics show the results.

    Margaret Minay writes: “I’m not sure what pictures you are going to use… The ones in Colin’s bedroom, or the ones in Syon Lodge. Or both?

    Either way, you can be sure that on both occasions I was terrified.
    I was very unsure of myself, and couldn’t really think why anybody would want to photograph me… But I was also very attracted to Colin, and as I said before, in awe of him.
    When he was taking the photographs in his bedroom, I felt slightly more confident than when he took the pictures later in Syon Lodge, because we were alone and he was quiet and thoughtful, unlike when he was in college with his mates.
    We listened to music, Leadbelly, I think it was, and, we spoke about a lot of the things I was interested in… namely jazz and politics… Because of my father’s influence I was brought up to be very left wing and we spoke about CND and my close friendship with another student, whom Colin had dubbed ‘Ban-the-bomb’ because of her involvement with the CND marches.
    He also knew I was going to a concert to see Thelonius Monk and I think he was quite impressed… It was later that he sent me another postcard with a beautiful little painting of who he thought was Monk, but in fact it was Stevie Wonder. He’d just found a picture in a magazine and copied it without realising who it was… He cracked up when I told him.
    The session in Syon Lodge was more difficult, because I was so self-conscious. He was cracking jokes all the time just to make me laugh. Nothing ever came of the photo-shoot, I don’t know why he thought anything would.

    Now I just feel melancholy, thinking of that long time ago… “

    • davidwills 1:33 am on January 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I think the year is 1962, in May, please correct me should you know better.

      “Jenny’ referred to in the post card is Twick’art student Jennifer, she can be seen elsewhere is this train, she is the tall girl (wrongly caprioned by another name) with Roy ‘Bumps’ Burge in the photograph of the A1GGz painting their version of Kesey’s bus ‘Furher.”

    • David Wills 8:17 pm on January 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I realize now that I saw this post card before Colin (Barney) sent it, was impressed by his use of thick rules, but was shocked by the use of the ‘w’ word and seriously thought that Maisie wold be horrified too. Didn’t mention it at the time, but expected she’d never speak to him again because she was, unlike most other arters of our aquaintance then, a sophisticated and politicaly aware person whom I very much admired,

    • davidwills 4:25 pm on February 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’m doing a recall, Misty fade, 1963, Colin is still at school, shows me the prints when we went to look at the new pad, at Leigh Court in West Ken. I had worked as a pro printer, used Picture Post’s photography printers for my prints, and was working at Town magazine, so I had David Bailey and Donald McCullen prints with which to compare Fulcher’s efforts. Thinking of a layout I say they need trimming vertically with the sides cropped off, The way I thought that he’d do it was by cutting a paper mask and gumming it to the print, as we did at work on Town magazine. But Colin actually cut the prints with a Stanley knife, and a few days later shows me, I think to myself he shouldn’t have used the one on the right, maybe just the ones on the left and in the middle. but say it looks cool anyway. I mentioned the cutting of the prints, how it makes it difficult to reproduce. He said it didn’t matter ‘cos he was going to make new prints anyway. Still at this time he thought he had got an entry to some fancy magazine who would use his pictures, maybe through Mr. Gould, although I have no rason for presuming that. Could have been his imagination. Someone must have further said something to him about his snaps ‘cos he threw everything away.

      People enjoy intimate details: I was at that time hugely jealous of Fulcher’s way with women and Maggie in particular. And Barney may also have been envious of me at other times. On a positive note over the years he certainly tried to hook me up with variously very creative women, notably Allison and Pamela Poland.

      Barney and my disagreements were worked out on the battlefield of lfe and kept track of with a loosely accounted points system. Ah, miss spent youth. Fade to sunrise.

  • davidwills 11:51 pm on March 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: art, , , , , , , , , Rock ‘n roll, , ,   

    A Neighbor on Avonmore Road looks quizzically at lens 

    This girl was a part of the roadside audience while painting our psychedelic bus in 1967.
    Photograph by David Wills.

  • davidwills 9:08 pm on November 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , art, , , , invention of the web   

    May 1983. “Yeah. These are for you, don… 

    May 1983. “Yeah. These are for you, don’t know what you’ll do with them, but I expect you’ll think of something, right?. Collage maybe?” said Barney when he gave me these old prints I’ve been posting lately. And that’s why the web was invented – to make possible their publication. They were in a box full of print tests. left over from some project way back, late ’67 or later. We were going to do a show of the influence of the A!GGZ,as an art project A1GGism, but it dissipated as an idea to do as 1969 wore on. I was unhappy with the prints and Barney wasn’t interested in the Mega Jumble sale that I was into. I’d made the prints over at the Fulcher family house enlarger in Colin Fulcher’s, aka Barney B’s, temporary darkroom on Tranmere Road, Whitton. Most of the negs were mine but the Muleskinners and the grad pix were photographed by Colin. In a way this is the continuation of the work barney and I started in ’63 and prepared for in ’67, to art-up a multi-media AiGGz show in the ongoing sequence of ‘Inspector Burge Investigates,’ the Image poster, the Erections and the Super 8 ‘music video.’ These pictures were intended as images for an A1GGz Poster and box, to contain the Ultimate.
    I’ll work this into a post I think.

  • davidwills 5:52 pm on November 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: art, , Electric Cool Aid Acid Test, mom, moustaches, TSR2   

    Phantom post. Pay the Taliban. 

    Ceasefire. Convert poppy-fields to legal cash-crop cannabis, build schools, leave.

  • davidwills 3:37 am on August 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: art, , ,   

    Go spin a song: An idea that didn’t quite work 


    My Aim is True

    With Barney in London and me in San Francisco, we spoke on the phone in early 1977 maybe, arranging to meet. I mentioned how i thought that Elvis Costello (EC) had so many songs he could do a show using a TV-type roulette wheel to dial for songs on stage. EC tried doing this in San Franscisco in the seventies sometime, he had a wheel of songs and somebody would come up on stage and spin a song. Got a lousy review from Joel Selvin. I just read about it, didn’t go.

    The picture shows the idea in practice, you spin Elvis and his guitar points to a song title, the item promotes the ‘My Aim Is True’ LP, which dates to 1977. This is a USA piece of memorabilia, not a UK one, and the chances are that it WAS NOT done by Barney, but was done by the marketing guys at Columbia Records in the USA. Quite whether this ties in with my spinner story god only knows, but the idea had to come from somewhere and maybe travelled thru a series of conversations. Yeah that seems right, “it was an idea they were trying out to see if it worked,” don’t recall where I heard or read that though.

    I know there was a review of it in, as I say could be in SF Chron by Selvin I think. The reviewer said it mixed-up EC’s love-sick-sadsack songs with his wry-detached humor jibes and it was difficult for Costello to switch emotions unprepared. It must have appealed to the music-hall-Vaudeville performer in him to try it on.

    I hereby mention with glee:




  • davidwills 8:06 pm on August 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: art, Bruce Connors, , graphic archaelogy   

    Garry Rusoff remembers the rad movie maker Bruce Connors 

    This reminiscence by A1GoodGuy, the writer Garry Rusoff, now a teacher in LA, tells of meeting up with Bruce Connors. Connors was the San Francisco cult movie maker and creative person, whom it seems from Garry’s tale also helped invent light shows. Connors was a big influence on the ace graphic designer Barney Bubbles. Barney met Connors in ’68 at Connors’ house in San Francisco, but unlike Garry, Barney had a trying time of it, said he had to listen to Connors wife complain for an hour or more, in what he described as a fetid pigsty. As I mention below, Barney said, “You shouldn’t get too close to your heroes.” But Garry had a trip…

    images-1 Connors’ apartment




    BACK IN THAT TIME:  By Garry Rusoff      Copyright 2009

    University of Southern California in the mid-60s: wild friends and strange events in a theme ride into the total unknown.  Culture in the upheaval of being reinvented.  Back in that time there was a wounded USC student hurting from his father’s early death.  That night with Bruce? It was because of Catfish Tonk.  He was an actor, a druggie and the temptation into the unknown for me, an easy way out into the furthest edge of the groove of the 60s.  David /Catfish and I and Margaret,a girl whom we were both trying to make, shot up to SF in my tiny TR3.

    Once in the City we parked out in sleeping bags at his friends who shared whatever they were ingesting in the way of food and psychedelics.

    We ended up with Bruce Connors at his studio.  I knew instantly that I was in the presence of “Art.”  Here was a man living his art every second.  He was inventing his reality as if he were creating the universe and tonight it was a light show, the likes of which I never knew could even exist.  His cat on a ladder was the center of the night’s theatrics, and its silhouette curled nonchalantly as Bruce juggled lamps, shades and  objects this way and that.  It was a living show, complete with shadows, bubbles, lava-lamp shades of dimensions stretching out to that strange new beyond.

    I was watching him as much as his light show.  He created worlds and galaxies with unending dimensions and unstoppable energy.  Nothing was ever perfect for more than a moment or two and then he’d jump up and change the scene with dramatic flair while the cat licked its paw with apparent disinterest.  Bruce scooped the cat one rung up on the ladder.  Perfect!  For a second or two … then onto a new perspective.

    We were running around doing his bidding, putting on his show, taking part like demigods in his roiling universe.

    That time ended.  Next morning I found Catfish with Margaret in her sleeping bag.  Oh well.  The TR3 limped back home with a broken engine, never to recover.  But my mind’s eye had been stretched, pummeled, contracted and expanded and morphed into many molecular components by the combined action of San Francisco, Bruce, and Catfish.  No girl, dying car, but many neural connections born that night in the marathon light show in Bruce’s studio.


    David Wills adds: In Bruce Connor’s obituary, by Kenneth Baker in the SF Chronicle, I read that Connors famously said, “On the 12-step program of Artists Anonymous, the first is never acknowledging any of your work, after never signing it… ” Connors also made a movie of clips from found old newsreels and flicks with a music backing that some say was grandmother of all music videos. In 1991, it was selected for the Library of Congress, by the National Film Registry.

    There are definite direct connections between the Connors’ ethic and the Bubbles show. I can recall the always plugged-in Fulcher (Barney B’s birth name, as he was then still called) in 1964 mentioning him and the 1958 movie. The movie would be a natch for Barney to enthuse over – found object, industrial, and collaged. Barney did see the Connors’ movie in 1966, he made sure I watched it too, “It’s very important.” he said. He called my mum to tell me. I saw it on TV at my parents house in Teddington, while he watched it in Whitton – there was no TV at our shared A1Good Guyz HQ, at Leigh Court, West Kensington, London.

    From the NY Times, “A key figure in the San Francisco Beat scene in the late 1950s, Mr. Conners first became known for his assemblages made from women’s nylon stockings, parts of furniture, broken dolls, fur, costume jewelry, paint, photographs and candles. These works, created between 1957 and 1964, had the aggressive appearance of avant-garde sculpture but at the same time seemed old and musty, like broken-down junk found in a forgotten attic or props for a scary Hitchcock-like movie. They were a vehement rejection of the optimistic, consumerist spirit of mainstream American society”

    The Grandfather Of All Music Videos: “In the late 1950s, Mr. Conners also began an influential parallel career as an experimental filmmaker. Under the influence of his friend and fellow filmmaker Stan Brakhage, he created collages of found and new footage.”

    Like I say, a big influence. Fulcher did meet Bruce Connors in 1968 in San Francisco, but he had an awful time, he said Connors’ wife kept him talking for hours in this dismal junk ridden apartment. Barney said you shouldn’t get too close to your heroes.

    • rebecca and mike 6:02 pm on August 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      okay, so it’s interesting to hear about never acknowledging/signing your work, but the real issue is, WHY is that a belief to hold.

      surely more than just a result of a self-effacing nature, or the fact that cornflakes packets in supermarkets don’t have a designer’s name on them…

      • davidwills 4:47 pm on December 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        The following is writ to be spoken in a funny voice, afteer I been readin these Scottish tales in ‘Ahead of its time’ ed. Duncan Mclean, pub. 1997, especially the Alison Kermack ditties.

        Rebnmike mailed me one day
        to say that the reason,
        of course, dduh,
        Barneey never signed his wwirk,
        waas ‘coss he din waan
        no effin taxfuc to keen his biz.

    • davidwills 7:05 pm on August 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      OK, some quick replies off the top of my head.

      Many reasons, many layers, some contradictory.

      To avoid the crass commercialization of self by any means.

      This was Fulcher’s way of answering the Twickers’ art school set problem of how to advertise ones self and prepare a portfolio – use no name. In the same mode, Fulcher pictured the back of his head in his school potrait. And so on.

      To set himself apart from, and avoid, the general run of the mill hack-designer’s way of self promotion. (As he would, if alive today, avoid by any means the sordid exploitation of his name by that cheap, unscrupulous body who is so brazenly counter to Barney’s exquisite aesthetic.)

      Self effacing – and yet not. To be different. To do the opposite of the expected. (It sure worked… )

      To be a William Morris influenced communard. (Although Morris certainly signed his guff.) No plastic in Barney’s house, no car, no name.

      But ultimately I think it was also because deep down he was never fully satisfied with his work and didn’t want his name on it.

    • davidwills 2:15 am on August 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      … and another thought, at school we were discouraged, i.e. “Not allowed,” to put our names on our work.

      Why? Because that was the law, the way it was – we were not ‘ready’ to have our work signed. An artist, in later life, would not want to be known by their inferior school work was the explanation Mr. Wentworth-Shields gave me.

      Plus, the work we did at school was considered the property of the school, not the student.

      I guess it seemed natural to Fulcher to continue the idea of no name until he was satisfied he was ready, which it turned out, was never.

      Another relevancy, is in silversmithing. It is only when a student has reached maturity, which is decided by an examination of the proficiency of students work, that the Silversmith Guild formally allows the wouldbe smithy to ‘earn’ their initials, their ‘mark’, and be allowed to stamp them on their first ‘piece’. Fulcher never earned or tried to earn his mark, but this is some of the background to the idea of working anonymously.

    • davidwills 2:31 am on August 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      … And other, obvious, point – still today, except in unusual cases, few artists get credit in an advertisement or on many commercial graphics. Record covers and books are an exception. Hence Barney’s cereal box comment.

    • davidwills 10:39 am on February 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      … and of course as my incomprehensible faux-Scottish brogue above attempts to tell, and as RandM first suggested – Barney didn’t want the tax man to know what he’d done, so they couldn’t trace his income. Not that he got much, anylane.

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