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

    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, , , , punk   

    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, , , punk, ,   

    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 3:49 pm on November 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , promo, proof, punk, ,   

    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 6:59 pm on November 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Get Happy, , , , , Prog Rock, Psychedelic, punk, Roadhawks   

    Barney Bubbles – Progressive's Progressives 

    What is this cornucopia of visual soda-pop we see below I hear you thirsty readers ask. It’s several Barney Bubbles posters, each shown in their successive stages of printing. Gasp in delight as you observe the inks being added one-by-one to create the final artistic vision. Pics hunted out by Barney boffins R&M (yes, them again) and shared here for your delight. Labels have been added to the pics to explain the ink build-up. Stay tuned for more inky tales…

    The colors in the progressives were borrowed from the Victorian era original copy of the Encyclopedia of Design and Decoration, 1885 or so, that I have mentioned before. Barney re-ownershipped the book when it was decomissioned from Twickenham art school use, and regularly used the multiplicity of extraordinary color combinations shewn therein in his works. The color-combination for the first Hawkwind poster was from a Moorish fabric design. The book was printed in something like 32 self-colors, some of which I’m sure were vegetable derived. The book is now worth a lot in the original printing.

    Progressive print stages of Barney Bubbles Hawkwind poster. 1970s.


    Progressive print stages of Barney Bubbles Hawkwind poster. 1970s.


    Progressive print stages of Barney Bubbles Elvis Costello poster. 1980s.

     
    • D.Cheema 10:01 pm on November 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thirsty work!

  • davidwills 6:31 pm on November 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: andre the giant, , , Barrack Obama, , , giant, , , , obey, obey the giant, , punk, , 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, , , one chord wonder, one chord wonders, punk, , 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, , punk, 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, , original, punk, 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 6:29 pm on August 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book design, , , Directory 1979, , John Cooper Clarke, journalist, Mark Ellen, New Musical Express, NME, punk, rock, Smash Hits, Word   

    Barney Bubbles – Damned Review in NME 

    Seems like not all folks thought much of Barney Bubbles’ work at the time, particularly NME journalist Mark Ellen who in a review of the ‘John Cooper Clarke Directory 1979’ book which Barney designed, slammed it with criticisms such as “dreadful punk-chic composition”, “cheap geometric artworks”, “hung at irritating angles”, “simplistic overtures”. Surprised readers of this blog will be happy to hear that four years later, the NME did write Barney a glowing obituary.
    ***
    Further. This review reminds me of all the other space blind writers and publishers I’ve worked with, who payed cash for paper or space and proceeded to waste it.
    Thanks to the ever-helpful R&M for a copy of the original article that can be read below.
     
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