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  • davidwills 8:18 pm on November 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Conran, , , , ,   

    Barney Bubbles – Are Y’ Courtin’? 

    Barney Bubbles Chilli Willi sticker (courtesy R and M)

    Here we see Barney Bubbles in cheap and cheerful mode, rapidographing up an image with references.

    There’s Walt Disney’s Pluto’s bent ears – but with four fingers and thumb style hands, deliberately non-Ub Ewarks-like (Ub was the originator of the Disney three fingered hands).

    The Harris Tweed jackets are amusing, each with their own weave. Improbably for a time of experiment in all things garment, we were still wearing such things back then, a tweedy jacket with elbow patches being useful for its pockets. In ’73 I was featured in the Times on the fashion page doing a layered clothing strip tease in Covent Garden by Ed Bell, in which I believe I was wearing two such jackets as well as an overcoat or two, and many underlayers.

    Talking of layered clothing, it was Barney, back in his ‘Colin Fulcher’ days who preached the no-underpants style of dressing, with a view to avoid the presumably unseemly seam lines viewable through skin-tight denim trousers (OK, ‘Levi’s’) that he shrank wearing them in the bath so he said (I don’t believe he did). This was a person at Conran Design inspired piece of fashion sense.

    The border lines are drawn sharp (real sharp!), in contrast to his oft-used wiggly jagged line that was deliberate and not the product of a shaky hand. His ‘shaky hand’ drawn line was evident in the drawings he did for the Book of Egg Cookery in 1967, but which I in my innocence redrew, much to his annoyance.

    Hand lettered, the type seems to vary in weight with ‘Chilli Willi’ perversely appearing lighter, I wonder if that was intentional? It was quite likely a product of not particularly caring if it was or wasn’t, just the way it came out of his fingers.

    The line up of jolly chaps is a tip of the hat to Music Hall’s ounce of flash and wit, which influenced him in his BBC radio Light Programme Arthur Askey “Are y’ courtin’?” mode. He did enjoy that pounding the boards scene.

    • davidwills 10:45 pm on November 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Didn’t notice afore, but I like how the Chilli Pepper closest to us has two ears, but to simplify matters the other four have only one ear apiece.

  • davidwills 9:23 pm on March 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , alice in wonderland, , balloon race, , bear driver, , Conran, 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 6:44 am on January 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Conran,   

    This year, 2011, is the first year of the second decade of the 20th century and yet – still no hover cars 

    This year, 2011, is the first year of the second decade of the 20th century and takes us 10% of the way through the 21st century, and yet – still no hover cars. Howsoever, my good friend, the inventor Deborah, writes to say that this year is special because there are four dates which are graphics-worthy examples of the confluence of like minded, duplicated numerals and which, in addition I may point out, are binary to the max. They are, 1.1.11 and 1.11.11 and 11.1.11 aaannnndddd… roll of drums… 11.11.11, doesn’t happen again for a century. As Deborah says, not too many years where that happens.

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

    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 5:28 pm on November 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brion Gysin, Conran, Dreammachine, , , Rod Stewart, William Burroughs   

    See Perkinje pattern lamp shade and Barney Bubbles as he takes acid for the first time. 


    1967. Mod meets freak. Here we see the late 20th century at that moment in time when Barney Bubbles first ingested LSD. This touching family scene shows the gang preparing in front of the mirror in my room at Leigh Court, West Kensington, London W14, for the Alexandra Palace all-weekend bash. Barney’s hair is being combed back down, mod style, by Lorry One-day-to-be-Sartorio, to give it that fluff-it-up bouffant, Rod Stewart look. Barney’s dopamine receptor induced glassy eyes stare from a mask painted on his face, on which another mask is to be affixed. He looks to be drying his nail polish. John Muggeridge to the left. I photographed the occasion thinking it to be historic, I was right.

    Above the cosy scene is a lamp shade I bought at Conran’s store, Habitat. (Which I seem to remember was in Heal’s, could that be possible?) Barney, at this time, was working at Conran’s design studio and was friendly with a manager there, whom he advised on some purchases for the store. One of his recommendations was this lampshade, because it reminded him of the Perkinje Pattern based Dreammachine we had once considered making. This spinning optical illusion device, the Dreamachine, was invented by Brion Gysin, a writer and performance artist (and associate of William Burroughs), with scientist Ian Sommerville. The Dreammachine was a  stroboscopic flicker device designed to be viewed with the eyes closed and produce visual stimuli.

    I had bought the lampshade forgetting about the Dreammachine association, although it seemed familiar, so when Barney asked me, “Y’ going to use the Lampshade then?” I didn’t know what he was talking about. I figured it out and explained that it didn’t spin and the geometry was wrong so it wouldn’t work.

    Reproduced here below for new readers who have not investigated the back story, is the post I previously posted explaining the workings of the Dreammachine and the Perkinje Pattern effects.

    Perkinje Patterns: Great Flickering Fingers – it’s the Dreammachine

    Here’s something for the Hawkwind crowd – how Barney amused himself. Gysin was the guy who taught Burroughs to do cut-ups. Here Gysin describes the lowdown heads-up on one of Barney the Entertainer’s (p)arty tricks. You probably all know that Barney got his cut-up text ideas for that Hawkwind booklet off Bill Burroughs, who in turn worked with and was influenced by poet Brion Gysin. But did you know that one of Barney entertainments used Gysin’s discovery of the Dreamachine? Read all about it here.

    Strange News: Key to Hallucinations Found

    By Jen Palmares Meadows, Scientific Blogging

    Almost fifty years ago, the beat poet Brion Gysin (1916 – 1986), described a visual hallucination that he experienced while riding a bus:

    …Had a transcendental storm of colour visions today in the bus going to Marseille. We ran through a long avenue of trees and I closed my eyes against the setting sun. An overwhelming flood of intensely bright patterns in supernatural colours exploded behind my eyelids: a multidimensional kaleidoscope whirling out through space. I was swept out of time. I was in a world of infinite number. The vision stopped abruptly as we left the trees. Was that a vision? What happened to me? (Brion Gysin, 21 December 1958)

    Gysin, a writer and performance artist, though known for his discovery of the cut-up technique, which inspired writers like William S. Burroughs, was also the co-inventor (along with scientist Ian Sommerville) of the Dreamachine, a stroboscopic flicker device designed to be viewed with the eyes closed and produces visual stimuli.

    At the end of his documentation, Gysin asks, “Was that a vision? What happened to me?”


    According to Dominic ffytche of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, and author of ‘The Hodology of Hallucinations,’ a study recently published in an issue of Cortex, “Fifty years on we are able to answer Gysin’s question.” Gysin’s hallucinations were quite similar to what Jan Purkinje (1787-1869), the father of contemporary neuroscience, experienced as a child.

    “I stand in the bright sunlight with closed eyes and face the sun. Then I move my outstretched, somewhat separated, fingers up and down in front of the eyes, so that they are alternately illuminated and shaded. In addition to the uniform yellow-red that one expects with closed eyes, there appear beautiful regular figures that are initially difficult to define but slowly become clearer. When we continue to move the fingers, the figure becomes more complex and fills the whole visual field. (Purkinje, 1819)

    When Purkinje moved his fingers, he simulated an effect similar to that of Gysin’s Dreamachine.


    And check this, out.


    • Rebeca and Mike say: The Dreamachine eh? Looking at stuff with your eyes closed eh?Okay then, there was a poster Barney did for the fictitious band ‘The Image’ (members of the band were Roger, Pete, Colin, Roy and Wöll). The poster featured a silhouette of a guitar-weilding guy, and was printed in two strong colours (there are different colour variations of this poster). You have to stare for a while at a star-shaped badge the guitar guy is wearing and then shut your eyes. Low and behold, due to the magic of after-imagery, ‘The Image’ of a pop star you’ve just been looking at appears, as if on the back of your eyelids!

      Before we’d come across this poster, we’d used a slightly similar after-image technique for a fashion shoot we did for Tank magazine in London. You stared at green tights (for example) and when you’d charged your eyeballs up enough you looked over to the photograph of the girl, and all of a sudden she was wearing pink tights!

    • The Wöll, in RandM’s comment above is my pseudonym of the time. This ‘Image’ poster is another in the co-operative pieces Fulcher and I worked on together and which are only half credited in gorman’s ‘Reasons.’ In the absence of any obliging personnel to fulfill our grand ideas of impresariodom, we were inventing the band, The Image, in reverse, graphics first then the band.
    • John Cowell 5:30 pm on November 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hi David, Just saw the Book of Barney and that pic of us all outside 307. Do you have a copy? If you ever come to London – I guess your not here – do get in touch. John (Cowell) BTW I know my web site’s crap!

      • davidwills 10:59 pm on January 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Hey John, saw your name as ‘brother John’ in the NYTimes with breaking news. What’s hot in sounds these days? Don’t got no print of the line up.

    • Lia Denae 7:50 pm on May 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’m dear past freomd of John M and Barney, in London for just one week, can we meet?
      Lia (formerly Sarah Seagull)

  • davidwills 5:52 pm on November 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Conran, 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.

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