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  • davidwills 6:38 pm on January 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 4000 Weeks Holiday, Album Art, , , , , Bob Bromide, , Definitive Biography, , , jake riviera, , ,   

    Barney Bubbles – Ian Dury, 4000 Weeks Holiday 

    Barney Bubbles orginal (almost) design for Ian Dury's '4000 Weeks Holiday': Front

    Barney Bubbles original design for Ian Dury’s ’4000 Weeks Holiday’: Front (photo on cover by Bob Bromide)


    Barney Bubbles original (almost) design for Ian Dury's '4000 Weeks Holiday': Back

    Barney Bubbles original design (almost) for Ian Dury’s ’4000 Weeks Holiday’: Back

    Hello New Yearers, Happy New Year! To kick off this season’s delights, here’s a little-seen item from the repertoire of my old friend Barney Bubbles.

    Late 1983 Barney designed a cover for Ian Dury’s ’4000 Weeks Holiday’ LP, only for it to never really see the light of day. I say ‘never really’, because nearly everywhere across the world a different artwork solution was used, but Barney’s original design did make it onto the cover of the Portuguese issue (amongst a tiny handful of other seemingly random places I am reliably informed). Check out the pics above. The photo that Barney used on the front cover is by Bob Bromide.

    My English friends RandM (Barney boffins of extraordinary detailedness) are quick to point out that even the Portuguese version is not totally true to Barney’s original artwork; apparently only a copy of the original UK test pressing complete with test sleeve is. Why so? By the time the LP came out to the public (after Barney’s tragic demise), the record company changed the tracklist by removing ‘Noddy Harris’ and adding ‘Inspiration’, and so the record company had dutifully tweaked the design of the tracklist accordingly. But, this Portuguese issue is pretty darn close to Barney’s original design, so here it is goddamit!

    Pondering why the tracklist changed? The company execs feared the legal ramifications of upsetting Enid Blyton’s estate with the ‘Noddy Harris’ lyrics “Winnie The Pooh is having a wank. And what are you up to? Said Thomas the Tank…Fuck off Noddy you stupid prat. Fuck off Noddy in your rotten hat”.

    Keep smiling and see you all again later for more tales of daring-do.
    IanDuryRAM1983

     
  • davidwills 1:44 pm on June 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Imperial Bedroom, jake riviera, , ,   

    Barney Bubbles – Waxing Lyrical 

    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…

    Elvis Costello Imperial Bedroom poster - by Barney Bubbles 1982

    Elvis Costello Imperial Bedroom poster – by Barney Bubbles 1982

    ‘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.

     
  • davidwills 8:41 am on June 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Basically, Billy Childish, , Chiswick Records, Chrissie Hynde, , , Fred Burns, , Incendiary Device, jake riviera, , , ,   

    Barney Bubbles – Bondage Mayhem 

    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:

    Still from Johnny Moped video 'Incendiary Device', directed by Barney Bubbles.

    Still from Johnny Moped ‘Incendiary Device’ video, directed by Barney Bubbles.


    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!
    3 Press ad variations for Johnny Moped's Cycledelic LP, by Barney Bubbles. Thanks to R&M for the pic.

    3 Press ad variations for Johnny Moped’s Cycledelic LP, by Barney Bubbles. Thanks to R&M for the pic.


    Don’t forget to drop by again soon tomcats!

    Fred Burns film’s website is here.

     
  • davidwills 7:44 pm on February 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 1983, , , Buddy Holly, , , , Heartbeat, instant records, jake riviera, line records, Phillip Goodhand Tait   

    Barney Bubbles – Heartbeat 

    Heartbeaaat
    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.

     
    • Rooksby 10:41 pm on February 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      David, I’ve been visiting this site on a semi-regular basis since the 1st edition of Reasons to Be Cheerful appeared, & I just wanted to say that – several years on – it’s as fascinating & inspiring as it ever was. More power to you, sir – keep it Bubblin’. :)

  • davidwills 3:49 pm on November 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , jake riviera, , , promo, proof, , ,   

    Barney Bubbles – Got Proof? 

    gethappyproof
    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.

     
    • Willi 8:05 pm on December 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      never a dull bub ble

  • davidwills 6:31 pm on November 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: andre the giant, , , Barrack Obama, , , giant, , jake riviera, , obey, obey the giant, , , , Shepard Fairey, , Street Art,   

    Obey The Bubbles 


    Welcome thrill-seekers to an impromptu Barney Bubbles / Shepard Fairey mash-up. Made possible by reshuffling some of Shepard Fairey’s LPs that appear as part of his current exhibition in London. Cunningly created onsite by my London correspondents R&M.

    All “Shepard who”? He’s the Obey Giant guy; Barrack Obama’s Hope street artist of choice.

    Show is at The Stolen Space Gallery, The Old Truman Brewery, Off Brick Lane, London E1. Closes on November 4th.

     
  • davidwills 6:43 am on June 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , gaye advert, , jake riviera, one chord wonder, one chord wonders, , , the adverts, , tv smith   

    Barney Bubbles – The Adverts 

    A recent documentary about punk rock band ‘The Adverts’ features TV Smith, the band’s singer/songwriter talking about the sleeve that Barney Bubbles created for them in 1977 (using a photo shot by Phil Franks who sometimes comments on this blog).

    TV Smith: “I had no problem with Stiff Records, even when I thought I was being done over. I could see the point of it, for example, the cover of One Chord Wonders. They put Barney Bubbles onto designing the cover, then when we got invited into Stiff to see what he’d done, well, I felt like I’d been stiffed. But, what can you say, it was a brilliant cover. They created an icon out of Gaye and they put The Adverts firmly in punk rock history. There was no question that that cover – which I would definitely not have agreed to – was a massive step forward for the band.”

    Cover of The Adverts’ ‘One Chord Wonders’, by Barney Bubbles, photography Phil Franks.

    Photo of Barney Bubbles from ‘The Adverts’ documentary.

    Watch the whole documentary HERE, fast forward to 11.50 for the Barney Bubbles bit.

    (Info provided by Barney Xpurtz R&M)

     
    • D.Cheema 3:40 pm on June 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      TV Smith did not go into why he had reservations about the cover – despite its brilliance and why he thinks he felt stiffed. Stiff knew what they were doing which was to sell records. I would like to see if there was any comments made at the time. They moved to another record label for their follow up – which was a minor hit.

      • davidwills 6:13 pm on June 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I ‘spect that TV Smith thought, like me, that the cover was a rippoff of the IT newspaper logo that used a coarse half-tone of Theda Bara, the It girl, but which was the inspiration, not the source.

      • Rebecca and Mike 9:32 pm on June 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        We spoke to TV Smith a few years ago about this. TV Smith’s reservations stem from the fact that The Adverts were a band of four members (3 male, 1 female), but only one of them (Gaye Advert, the female member) was pictured on the front of the sleeve.

  • davidwills 8:54 pm on May 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ain't That a Shame, , , , , Dave Vanian, , Designer, jake riviera, , Rat Scabies, , ,   

    Barney Bubbles – Ain’t That A Shame 

    Well readers, I’ve been cajoling Barney Bubbles boffins Rebecca and Mike to dip into their folder of ‘stuff Barney did that not many people know about’ and they’ve come up with some goods for us all to admire.

    Pictured here below is a sleeve Barney (born Colin Fulcher) designed for former Damned punk band member Brian James in 1978. Marvel at the dextrous flicking of Barney’s favourite ink-laden toothbrush across carefully cut masks. R&M tell me that as well as creating the entire front illustration, the design of the front, back and label design is all Barney’s handiwork. They also point out to me the design of the record company name on the label (BJ Records) uses the spindle hole to not only hold the record in place, but also provide the ‘O’ of ‘RECORDS’ and the dot of the letter ‘j’; a typical economy of means.

    Want to know what the track sounds like? Listen here:

    And maybe check this blog entry where Brian talks a little about another sleeve designed by Barney, and muses on his personal dislike of folks like Malcolm McLaren.

     
    • Francesco Borseti 6:13 pm on May 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Mr.Wills,
      are you still in touch with Mr.Garry Rusoff ?
      I’m writing a book and I’d like to ask him some questions concerning The Evictors (1978).
      If you have the pleasure I’ll give additional informations about me and my project at my email.
      Thanks.
      Best,
      Francesco

      • davidwills 2:19 am on June 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Yes I am but can’t find his numero, he lives in LA – if you 411 him you should be able to find him, if I do it first I’ll let y know.

    • David Christopher Townley Wills 3:08 am on May 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Oh wow… that’s a real gas guyz.

  • davidwills 8:51 am on March 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , dave robinson, , , if it ain't stiff, jake riviera, original, , shirt, , t-shirt, vintage   

    Barney Bubbles – Stiff Records Stiff Sentence 

    Classic Barney Bubbles Stiff Records “If it ain’t STIFF, it ain’t worth a fuck” t-shirt.

    This t-shirt illustrates nicely the music hall/vaudeville aspect of Colin Fulcher/Barney Bubbles’ work and is probably influenced, if not actually composed or passed on by his dad, who was a working class man of the people sort of bloke. Dad had a fairly extensive mental joke book. He was a fan of Max Miller the radio joker who was banned from the BBC for 5 years for telling a bawdy tale of which Lord Reith (founder and director of the BBC) did not approve. Goes like this, ” I was walking along a narrow mountain pass, so narrow that nobody else could pass you, when I saw a blonde walking towards me. A beautiful blonde without a stitch on, yes lady, not a stitch. Cor blimey. I didn’t know whether to toss myself off or block her passage. “

    There is some confusion as to whether it was a Max Wall or a Max Miller joke, but I’m fairly certain it was Miller. Don’t matter either way, Mr. Fulcher, a News Of The World sort of man, liked ‘em both. I can remember the day in 1962 when Barney showed me his Paolotzi lookalikes standing in the entry to their house on Tranmere road, and ol’d man Fulcher telling that very same joke along with the story as how Miller got banned by the Beeb.

    (I got my copy of this t-shirt in ’83 when I swapped with Barney for my T-shirt celebration of the repeat integers date 7 7 77.)

    Note to readers unfamiliar with colloquial English, “Cor blimey” is a cant phrase derived from the medieval curse “God blind me if I tell a lie.”

    It is amusing that until recently there was no Googlable picture of this t-shirt except for an inferior Bowdlerized knock off.

     
  • davidwills 10:13 pm on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , death, , , , in search of barney bubbles, jake riviera, ,   

    Barney Bubbles – In Graphic Detail 

    Barney Bubbles artwork (detail)

    Revelations.

    Today I’m in a mixed time awareness of the ages, reading a slew of overlapping novels, from 1948′s 1984 Orwell to the 1996 or so Ladbroke Grove of M. Amis. I’m also reading Northanger Abbey, by the eighteen-year old Jane Austen of 1799 and sitting on a fold-out mattress in the company of my eighteen-year old daughter Alessandra and her Chinese friend Dghzou here in 2012. The young women discuss the boys in the Occupy Oakland demo they were at last night, “They should have left when we did. No sense those men. I expect they got arrested. Let’s send them pictures of our food.”

    As they chat, I listen to the now six week old recording of The BBC Radio-4 programme about Colin Fulcher, alias Barney Bubbles, on Dghzou’s lap-top, a show about how my ol’ friend Barney went nuts.

    It’s a clever and emotional piece of detective reportage from the front lines of Barney’s life.

    Such a revelation, I had no idea he was so troubled. We were the best of friends but in the style of blokes of the time we shared no intimacy of the sort that might lead to telling it all in such a forthright way. Not like in California today when every body tells their woes.

    During my visit to his place in Islington in May of 1983, six months before he died I didn’t hear his hidden voice telling me his troubles. Not so hidden in retrospect, he said it to me out loud, something like, ‘I have a date with death.’ But I took it as metaphor at the time.

    No matter that death stared us down, that both of our parents had gone in a moment, his the year after mine, we’d never admit such a sentiment as loss to each other, no, not cool. No, he wryly looked away as I asked, “So. How did your parents die?”

    He dismissed me with, “They just died, di’n’t they.” Not a flicker of emotion.

    But he went on to say that the Australian Aborigines had given him a death, had put a stone on him and that he would die to protest the ways of the world, did I believe such things?

    “Yeah, they work, I’m sure.” We both agreed that how killing stones worked was that they were believed in, and that objects were alive, like shapes, a conversation we’d had over the years.

    On the radio show Fulcher’s sister, Jill, was astonishingly and appealingly forthright, so dramatically different than my remembered youthful fear of her, of what I imagined was her dangerous wrath and disapproval of me, her brother’s odd friend. No, Jill showed, through her clear telling, some of her brother’s hidden emotion. She sounded so real and poignant, with that radio sound effect of a ticking clock in the background, giving off a powerful whiff of the suburban, glassy-tiled fireplaces of Whitton, as I sat eight-thousand miles away on a fold-out here in San Francisco.

    What a great piece of BBC magic, of emotional and you-were-there detective work this is. I grew up listening to the radio and this show is as good as it gets. Now all this telescoping of time muddles the world of radio and novels into a confused memory, with Cassandra Austen, Jane’s sister, editing a movie of Barney Fulcher slicing his face mask, all the while adding adding bits of Burrough’s Naked Lunch to the mix.

    A minor point of fact about the radio programme, I don’t think ‘Colin Fulcher’ become ‘Barney Bubbles’ in 1963, He adopted ‘Barney’ in maybe ’66(?) and it wasn’t until 1967 when he started his light show that he adopted ‘Bubbles’. Hmm, I seem to recall I am wrong by a couple of years.

    Another thing of which I’m less certain, but do feel, is that I don’t think Barney was ever really in ‘fashion’, so I don’t think he ever really went ‘out of style.’ He was always too far out in front to be really accepted for the seer he was by his paymasters. I think the reason he got used so much was because his employers were connived at by Barney’s force of personality. His “Cheap and Cheerfiul,” won the day despite their misgivings about his ideas. But when things went wrong for him in ’83, probably I now realize because of a bad cocaine and speed habit, he was less able to cope, and so off he flew with the Australians.

    Colin Fulcher went in a ritual which was Barney Bubbles’ ‘Look what you made me do’ to the music industrial-complex. Plus I think warmonger Margaret Thatcher had just been or was going to be re-elected. His arch-enemy, Town mag publisher Michael Heseltine, then Minister of Defence, was weaseling for PM. Elvis Costello. HM Govt. There were many reasons to protest but his seedy metaphor turned deadly. It wasn’t just the disease, as Wiki calls it, that killed him, he was saying something. The bag and the cuts were masks in a performance.

    Stupid idea. Don’t do it Barney.

     
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