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  • davidwills 2:56 pm on January 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , new wave, , ,   

    Invite to the Sounds Good Evening and more about the Perkinjean hallucination giro 

    Just came across these in the ol’ box o’ trix. This is the 1967 invitation to the ‘Sounds good evening’ (my words) a multi-dimensional extra-mural feast for all, including students from Twickenham art-school that Barney Burge and I concocted. The letterhead was designed by Barney and printed at Terrence Conran’s expense. This is a very rare, maybe the only(?) instance of a ‘Colin Fulcher’ credit.

    And here I reproduce the crib that Barney used for the Blockhead’s logo (197?). It is from, if I recall correctly, a rad book publishing house of the 30’s. Barney’s inspired version below..


    Photograph by David Wills Copyright! 2010 Barney the film director in action (1967) with his trusty super eight film movie camera on which he shot the world’s first made for TV music ‘video.’ He is looking through the view finder of my twin lens Yashica.

    Warning: Use of the Perkingean pattern assembly rotating giro (mentioned previously in this series of posts) can cause epileptic seizures and may result in irreparable harm if practiced in unsafe conditions such as a cliff edge

    Over at http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/081123-hallucinations.html you may see on this site excellent science gossip, it’s a place of transcendent know-it-alls – and where you may find wise words about the Perkinge effect. For instance, Patrizia Broghammer and Hermes Trismegistus both wrote on the subject. Thanks to them both and their host Live Science, for allowing me, in another dimension, the permission to quote you in full:

    Patrizia Broghammer says: “I think I have a simpler explanation of hallucinations.

    I do not agree that they are “located in the world around us, not in the mind’s eye”.

    It is exactly the opposite.

    Assuming that we do not see the world, but we see the world reflected by our eyes (in fact just consider how much sharper a vision is with glasses and how different reality can look seen under the lenses of a microscope) hallucinations are nothing else than a distorted transmission of what our eyes see or our ears hear or what our nose smells.

    If you send to the brain stimulus in a different way or if you distort the way stimulus are sent, you have hallucinations.

    You look at the same thing, but the conditions and the transmission of what you see is different.

    The same can happen without hallucinations, just with the brain conditioned by what we read or know.

    How much different a music sounds to our ears when we know it, or a painting looks when we actually are explained about it.”

    And HermesTrismegistus wrote:

    “ …  The idea that hallucinations are manifestations of extra-dimensional perception isn’t all that new, and one I agree with to a large extent.  Leary based a large portion of his research on a very similar premise.  Perception is an odd thing.  What’s labeled “real” and “hallucination” is largely subject to what the majority perceives.  There is no absolute way to define reality simply because those definitions of perception are themselves a product of individual perception.  Who’s to say those defining what is real and what isn’t aren’t hallucinating?  Delusions, when labeled “reality” by the majority, become so because people perceive them as such.”

    • rebecca and mike 9:56 am on January 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      it was very nice to see the A1 Good Guyz letterpaper make an appearance here… there are just a few other times you see a ‘Colin Fulcher’ credit in print, and those few times are usually in relation to his Conran work, but yes, certainly much rarer than his later ‘Barney Bubbles’ credit (which wasn’t exactly plentiful either!).

  • davidwills 1:18 am on December 4, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , new wave, ,   

    The ‘Sounds good evening’ 

    Photograph by David Wills Copyright 2011.

    Here the jolly fun at Leigh Court is captured during the Sounds Good Evening in 1967 in a photograph by me. Various folk are recognizable, but many of the names are a part of history that escapes me. Lower right is Jenny, the football (soccer) poet, Crispin’s amour.  Jenny and Crispin are still an item, living in Spain I think. No doubt some of these good people will bless us with their mems of the occasion. More than that I’m lothe to conjecture, maybe more words will come as I sleep on it. Was that a good time or what? This was the time we lined the flat in plastic to avoid a repeat of the flying pastry dough on the carpet. It was the primer for all parties that followed.

    It is an irrefutable fact, acknowledged by all, that the future Right Honorable Lady Wordsworth, with or without spectacles, is nowhere to be seen in this assembly.

    • Michel 2:05 am on March 8, 2011 Permalink

      The girl with the head-scarf at lower right is Patricia Kinsella who worked as Barney’s assistant for a while. I’m still in touch with her and know she will be astonished to see this!

    • davidwills 4:10 pm on March 8, 2011 Permalink

      … the Lady Wordsworth would again like to emphasize that is most certainly not her in this shocking picure, either, so she says.

      Those pictures of the Stones(?) on the wall were lent by Ginny Clive-Smith at Conran.

      I look at this picture and again see the influence of Warhol’s Factory at work here. No speed-kills use here, a few of us smoked hashish-in-tobacco joints. Though this was later to change for Barney to frequently daily LSD use from 1969 on. Wild. Seemingly licentious times, but not really licentious, too suburban for that. Compared to the average goings-on about town we art students and kin ruled a wild world of boss art activity that echoes on yet.

      In San Francisco I once interviewed a prospective room-mate who was a 4 year participant in the army Co-intellpro (Sp?) tests on the effects of long term acid (LSD) use. It wasn’t pretty, I didn’t rent to him.

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

    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 6:23 pm on May 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Inner City Unit, , new wave,   

    Barney Bubbles and ‘Naz’ Nazar’s well-worn, Inner City Unit t-shirts 

    David Wills wrote: Hi Nazar, Why do you get so carried away in a frenzy of excitement when you spy a Bubble?  How have the products of Ditchwater Designs affected your mating habits? Tell all, avid arters are waiting. Short or long, no matter. Thanks,

    ‘Naz’ Nazar writes: Hi David. Great to hear from you. The simple answer to your question is YES! Coincidentally, I’d taken some snaps earlier this week with a view to sending them to you, and here they are.

    These are two (well-worn) t-shirts produced for Inner City Unit in 1981.

    First t-shirt features a Constructivist design by Barney,


    with the band’s name in cyrillic font. The shirt was sold at the merch table at the band’s gigs. I remember raising concerns about the frivolous use of Constructivist motifs by some other designers in the early eighties. Barney’s take on the situation was simple. “We all rip off the same people Naz,” he said.

    The second shirt was produced by Avatar Records to promote the release of the band’s “Maximum Effect” album.


    The type is taken from Barney’s design for the album cover, where it was originally laid over a photograph of Nik Turner avoiding a swinging light bulb, taken by Brian Griffin. Nik asked me to produce a songbook for the album, and Barney kindly handed me a bunch of spare prints of the Maximum Effect type, without the band’s name over it, which I cut up and collaged into my own drawings (not shewn). Cheers, Nazar.


    We got a comment in Russian on this post, which my Polish friend Zeno was unable to translate with ease, anybody out there got any idea what it’s all about?

    Пора переименовать блог, присвоив название связанное с доменами 🙂 может хватит про них?

    … international experts assure me that the message is somewhat dull, it’s an ad for a web site, duh.

    • Marinkina 3:59 pm on May 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Пора переименовать блог, присвоив название связанное с доменами 🙂 может хватит про них?

    • Steve Pond 10:51 pm on February 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Nazar is selling himself short, he did another ICU T Shirt which is one of my favorite T Shirts ever, not directly Bubbles linked but it must have been influenced… (The one for NewAnatomy Naz, got any photos?)

  • davidwills 8:39 pm on April 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 1979, 7 inch, , , church, , cracking up, , dentist, , fetish, flag, guitar, hammer and sickle, , labour of lust, litho print, , new wave, nick lowe, , record sleeve, rubber glove, teeth, USSR   

    A story about red rubber, acid-proof safety-gloves hanging on hooks in a row 



    Damn, these are transcendently* chill.

    This reminds me that, Fulcher, as Barney Bubbles then was, said the best thing about our visit to the Fulham gasworks in ’63, was the rack of red rubber, acid-proof safety-gloves hanging on hooks in a row.

    I think Fulcher/Barney’s recurring images of masks and  the use here of gloves (masks for hands), as I’ve writ elsewhere, comes from his visual amusement in ‘change.’ This was the word he chose to answer his teachers, John Kirby and Wentworth Shields’ exercise to choose a significant word and illustrate it graphically.

    It also reminds me of his excitement in 1964 reading Puddin’ Head Wilson, Mark Twain’s book that plays with identity exchange, and how, based on the story, he asked sculptor David ‘Chas’ Chedgey to swap identities with him.

    The grin in the glove with crooked teeth: In his twenties, Barney, like many then in Britain, had rotten, crooked and yellow teeth. His chum, Kate Moon, has said that Barney’s were a recurring problem, that when he had them fixed, at about the same time she cut his long hair, around 1975, they were transformative events in his life.

    I also dimly remember saying to Barney on a visit sometime about then, outside 307 Portobello, that he should get his pegs fixed. I remember for two reasons, one because I suffered from the same problem myself and had had dental work done in San Francisco at great expense by a fairly incompetent dentist called Kirby, but which made a huge difference to my comfort, and two, because it was so unusual for either of us to have such a personal conversation.

    You can see evidence of this dentaphobic behavior in early pictures of Barney where he often has his hand over his mouth to hide his teeth. See us three workers posing to commemorate completing the first Music Video (which co-incidentally features a broken guitar), and deliberately facing away to hide while painting the A1GGz’s bus. Barney generally disliked getting his picture taken. Unless of course he was directing the shoot – see The Erections.


    About this sleeve: This record is not an album, but a seven inch single. The back, where the hammer and sickle is made from the parts of a demolished guitar, is Barney’s take on the flag of the USSR, whose early Agitprop graphics inspired him so. The dots on the labels spell out N for Nick and L for Lowe.

    • I had earlier mistakenly spelled transendental (better than others) as transendentally (cosmic) which is not what I meant, but possibly true if you’re into that sort of thing.
    • Blog Tag 1:30 pm on April 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

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    • rebecca and mike 6:42 am on May 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      hmmm… industrial-strength rubber gloves…
      another one makes an appearance on the inside sleeve of Elvis Costello’s ‘This Years Model’, UK issue 1978.

    • davidwills 6:45 pm on May 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you very much for adding substance to the lore of Fulcher’s Big Adventure. Where is the glove on This Year’s Model? a quick glance at Google images revealed naught.

    • rebecca and mike 6:41 am on May 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      on the inner sleeve (not the outer sleeve)

    • davidwills 8:29 pm on May 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Visiting London in ’75, while standing outside 307 Portobello on a sunny day as Barney showed off his new Hawkwind graphics, I told him that, having had some intense dental work of my own, I knew it would seriously change his life if he got his bright-yellow, seriously-crooked British teeth fixed, I go, “You should git yer teef fixed.” He’s all, “Yeah.”

  • davidwills 5:02 pm on March 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , genius, , , , , new wave,   

    Blimey – Barney Bubbles! 





    David Lowbridge who sent us these nicely imaged sumpturies says: The reverse of the inner sleeve (shown above) with three different shaped/sized ellipses is entitled: ‘BIG MAN’; ‘TALL MAN’; ‘EXTRA WIDE SHORT MAN’.

    Long-time reader Steve Kirkendall writes:

    Hi David, Hope all is well. As promised, here’s some words about why I’m a big fan of Mr B, with a little story about my fave Bubbles-werk.

    Blimey – Barney Bubbles!

    Barney Bubbles was a major influence on my work as I made the transition from illustrator to full blown designer in the early eighties. As we all know, he was incredibly versatile, moving from one style (and medium) to another, often employing styles that other designers would base an entire career upon, but which he would use to make a graphic statement, then move on.

    My favourite Bubbles-werk would have to be his Elvis Costello packaging. And because I was such a huge EC fan, the music became the soundtrack to those wonderful graphic trips Mr B would take me on, as I stared at every detail of the sleeve design. And the press ads, posters and buttons for EC and the A’s carried the same level of invention and attention to detail. 

    In the face of stiff (no pun intended) competition, my personal choice of top Bubbles graphism would have to be the the sleeve for ‘Get Happy’. It is the only piece of graphic design that made me stop dead in my tracks and utter ‘Bloody Hell!’ out loud. This was swiftly followed by a speedy purchase, then back home to listen to the album and more importantly, drool over the sleeve. The reason this piece of work stands tall above any other Bubbles output for me is that scuff mark on the front. (Although, my not-entirely-reliable memory seems to tell me that there was a larger, 12″ sized, scuff on the reverse too). 

    Genius is an over used word, but if Barney Bubbles wasn’t a genius, who was?


    David Lowbridge says: Yes, there was 12″ scuffing on the reverse too — be interesting to hear any recollections of the reaction this got at the time, any returns for instance!? This is the record where Barney used VAT numbers for the credits:

    Photography VAT 239 7568 14, Artwork VAT 245 4945 42

    • David Lowbridge 6:26 pm on March 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, there was 12″ scuffing on the reverse too — be interesting to hear any recollections of the reaction this got at the time, any returns for instance!? This is the record where Barney used VAT numbers for the credits:

      Photography VAT 239 7568 14
      Artwork VAT 245 4945 42

      The reverse of the inner sleeve shown above (middle image) is also great with three different shaped/sized ellipses entitled: ‘BIG MAN’; ‘TALL MAN’; ‘EXTRA WIDE SHORT MAN’.

    • rebecca and mike 9:03 pm on April 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      strangely enough, in the book ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ the outer sleeve of the Get Happy LP is shown, but the fake ringwear on the back has been photoshopped out! (it’s been removed). there’s probably a funny story in that somewhere 🙂

    • David Lowbridge 10:15 pm on April 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Crikey… not spotted that!

      Strange really as, in my humble opinion, the scuffing on the back looks slightly ‘mannered’ (you could equally say ‘deliberate’) in comparison to the front — the way the scuffing breaks around the E of ‘ELVIS’ for instance. Small detail, and maybe I’m missing something, but…

    • rebecca and mike 6:55 am on April 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      it’s interesting to note what happens in the advert Barney did for this LP. the design incorporates a pic of the front cover, but it is shown without ringwear. this is a nice touch as it helps make the fake ringwear more believable when you come across actual copies.

      a similar thing happens with the press packshot for Elvis Costello’s ‘This Years Model’ (another sleeve Barney designed); most of the time a properly cropped version of the sleeve gets used (as opposed to the mis-cropped version with printer registration marks appearing on the front – as per the actual sleeve design).

    • David Lowbridge 7:21 am on April 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting to hear. Is that deliberate with ‘This Years Model’, the corrected packshot I mean? Always thought it might have been ineptitude/ignorance on the part of whoever is re-releasing it.

      I wonder if the cassette tape release (if there was one) of ‘Get Happy’ omitted the ringwear too, or had two lots where the spools would be!

    • rebecca and mike 8:00 am on April 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      when we talk about the packshot used for ‘This Years Model’ we’re not talking about anything in relation to re-releases, we’re talking about the picture of the LP cover that was doing the rounds in most press and magazines for the purposes of illustrating reviews and chart positions etc (and even some retailer promotions). we’d like to think distributing a ‘corrected’ packshot to third parties was all part of the grand plan! on the adverts Barney did for ‘This Years Model’ no packshot was used, although the photo of Elvis-with-camera was used as some kind of approximation.

      the ‘Get Happy’ cassette? that’s a whole different story… we’ll give pics to David Wills to post up on this (his) blog.

    • David Lowbridge 8:35 am on April 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Understood… look forward to seeing the cassette.

      [It’s indicative of the games being played that I often feel the need to couch the language I’m using when taking about BB work — using alot of ‘scare quotes’ too. The fact that I feel the need to phrase things in a certain way, which I’m sure I’m not alone in, says alot about the effect of the work and its different layers of meaning.]

  • davidwills 11:15 pm on March 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , new wave,   

    There were two different covers Barney Bubbles did 


    Talking about the Ian Dury song-book covers, Rebecca and Mike reveal an astonishing breakthrough in Barnology that, yes –  there were two different covers Barney Bubbles did! Two completely diff  flat-arts for the same song-book.

    David Wills says: SInce I have nothing to top that. Hold, yet – are those the artist’s ink-and-pen tests on the right of cat and boot, or is it a wacky script? Aha! I pushed the magic buttons, enlarged the words – and they sprung out clear – “London-calling.” The grid reminds me of Barney’s yellow scarf with a red, 0.5 inch square grid on it, Rupert Bear style back in ’63.

    David Lowbridge: I’d not seen the one on the right before — are they from the same pressing of the book (which I assume) or different editions?

    rebecca and mike: regarding the two versions of the Ian Dury Songbook: they are the same publisher, same year, same ISBN

    David Wills: I’d guess the second song-book cover was by another hand with the guidance of Barney. Who was his assistant at the time?


    David Lowbridge: That grid is reminiscent of the Lives catalogue too (although it’s easier to see on the poster) which must’ve been done in the same year.

    Great to see this, and your ‘London calling’ spot too.

    David Wills: For our younger readers,, we should perhaps explain that use of the grid, as does Barney here, was not then quite a viz-cliche, a graphic tick used by every Tom, Sylvia and Brian in town. Barney did’t mind if somebody’d been there before him, but def he’d be the first to use it well.

    • David Lowbridge 8:10 am on March 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I’d not seen the one on the right before — are they from the same pressing of the book (which I assume) or different editions?

      That grid is reminiscent of the Lives catalogue too (although it’s easier to see on the poster) which must’ve been done in the same year.

      Great to see this, and your ‘London calling’ spot too.

    • David Lowbridge 8:13 pm on March 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Here’s the Lives poster I mentioned (sure you all know what it looks like anyways!) http://tinyurl.com/cmwsvy

    • rebecca and mike 7:29 am on March 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      regarding the two versions of the Ian Dury Songbook: they are the same publisher, same year, same ISBN

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