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

    Barney Bubbles – Got Proof? 

    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 8:18 pm on November 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , The Attractions   

    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 1:28 am on July 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , The Attractions,   

    Many of Colin Fulcher’s (AKA Barney Bubblles) album covers to be seen 

    I just found this
    Which means it’s probably been around a while. ‘Tis a view of much of the Colin Fucher (AKA Barney Bubbles) ouvre, I could correct one or two things in the biography, but a it’s good show and worth a visit.
  • davidwills 8:31 am on April 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , art graphic design, , bruce thomas, , , , elvis costello and the attractions, Gone In The Morning, LP Rock, , , Spring, Stained Glass, Sutherland Brothers, The Attractions, Tulips   

    Barney Bubbles Tulips – An Open and Shut Case 

    Well regarded Barney Bubbles historians RandM (or for those unfamiliar, Rebecca and Mike) have forwarded this seasonal contribution from their Barney symbolism files, for which we are truly thankful… thank you folks!

    Hi David,

    Well, it’s Spring-time, so we thought you might like us to make a Spring-related contribution to your blog.

    In 1972 Barney Bubbles designed the cover to Quiver’s LP ‘Gone In The Morning’ in a faux-marquetry style (although the stained glass in the centre of the design was on real glass, but sadly got accidentally smashed many years ago). We’ve commented before that the flowers on the front of this LP are tulips, but maybe now is a good time to dig a little deeper (if you’ll pardon the gardening pun) into the symbolism of them.

    Quiver Gone In The Morning LP 1972 - Designed by Barney Bubbles

    Tulips (spring-blooming perennials) grow from bulbs, and these bulbs can be seen towards the bottom of the design on the front and back of the LP. Tulips respond to the daily rhythm of light and dark, causing them to open and close, and so on the back of the LP Barney has shown the tulips closed (accompanied by a photo of a partially obscured sun, presumably a sunrise), and on the front of the LP has shown the tulips open (accompanied by the fully lit stained glass design). The tulips’ opening and closing  – or coming and going – with light and dark is a reference to the LP’s title ‘Gone In The Morning’. It doesn’t stop there though, the flowers and bulbs also represent arrows (the bulbs are the arrowheads and the flowers are the flights), a reference to the band’s name Quiver.
    Barney’s work is like a visual cryptic crossword, but a crossword that doesn’t help by letting you know how many letters are in the answer!
    The band’s bassist Bruce Thomas subsequently played with Elvis Costello and The Attractions, which regular readers of your blog will know Barney did a lot of work for too.
    Best wishes,
  • davidwills 4:27 pm on April 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Sticker, The Attractions,   

    MASSIVE Barney Bubbles rare art scoop: clues to the mysteries 


    RandM writng: Here is the original cassette release for Elvis Costello’s ‘Get Happy’, designed by Barney Bubbles in 1980. the artwork is entirely different to the LP artwork which you showed in an earlier post.

    • rebecca and mike 5:54 pm on April 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      the make-up was a nice discovery when we opened this cassette up for the first time. the comment on the eyebrow pencil is particularly resonant:

      lowbrow, not eyebrow (eyebrow highbrow geddit?)

      this seems to be another Barney Bubbles line along the lines of ‘Elitism is the curse of…’

    • David Lowbrow 1:40 pm on April 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Four eyes on there too — reference to Costello’s trademark look I wonder?

    • rebecca and mike 9:03 pm on April 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      we had never sussed the ‘eyes’ bit, but think you just hit the nail on the head there. nice!

  • davidwills 3:37 am on April 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Phil Lithman, , StickerArtwork, The Attractions,   

    Reproduced with thanks courtesy of Rebecca and Mike… 


    Reproduced with thanks courtesy of Rebecca and Mike (RandM), from their extensive collection.

    RandM say:

    Sticker for Chilli Willi by Barney Bubbles. This dates to circa 1972 when the band were with Revelation. Revelation were the label who released the Chilli Willi LP ‘Kings of the Robot Rhythm’, and the ‘Glastonbury Fayre’ triple LP set, both of which were also designed by Barney.

    David Wills writes…

    I’m really hazy on this – it’s all a dream, now, so I’m going to try to recall by writing. Many of the items have already been mentioned in various postings and repeated here. Facts may diverge from reality, but you’ll get the idea.

    Middle of May, 1983 – I’d arrived in London from San Francisco and on my third day in town I was off to visit Barney. Sunny day, cherry trees in bloom, being a south Londoner I got lost walking up what I think was Cannonbury road to St Paul’s Road, unsure of the streets thereabouts in Islington, just over from bro’ Peter’s place in Camden Town. Oddly, brother Peter’s address is on similarly named, St. Pauls Crescent (It didn’t have an apostrophe in Paul’s back then) which in turn was similar to another of Barneys’s old addresses Paul Street, near Fleet Street. A diet of Paul’s.

    An 1823 Georgian house in of row of similar houses, I walk up the six steps with a railing that had not been used for the scrap metal war effort by Lord Beaverbrooke. But the railing on the street to protect unwary walkers had been and was replaced with two pieces of bendy wire – a passer by might easily fall into the light well.

    There was a big black Georgian door, with a heavy knocker, that may have been a hand holding a ball, but was a simple Regency knocker, there were two plasic white bell-pushes on the left, of which I had been instructed to ring the uppermost, Barney opened the door and we walked up the stairs (where he later hung himself) to the kitchen and I was introduced to a lady who shook hands.  Polite conversation, along the lines of “Hello” and B and I wander about the tidy, open plan, spacious house. Such a difference to the studio in the old coal-haulers stables off Scrubbs Lane. We walk into a room with a sideboard on which there is a copy of Oz, I say, “I liked that issue, Pearce did that, you have anything to do with that then?” I walk to sit on a couch where he hands me Rem Cool’s Coney Island New York.

    Barney grins, “Yeah. Oz, I don’t tell too many people though. I like it to be secret.” He didn’t want to pay tax on his earnings.

    There’s an unfinished painting on an easel in one room (that may or may not have been the ‘Mary had a little lamb’ I’ve read about someplace). No, I think he had it back for repair or addition, and it had been partially dismantled when I saw it.

    Sitting on the couch he showed me the Koolhaus book, “Coney Island,” raved about it. Said it was a huge influence. Seems a bit second hand to me, I’m less than enthused, not realizing it’s the original for the style. I was already familiar with it from Architectural Digest, C.1958 or so, Barney says it’s funny how two people so much alike could have such different views about something so central to his vision. He’s enjoying showing off his style, I expect like me, he first read about Rem in AD.

    Barney says let’s go downstairs, down two flights of stairs into a fairly cramped space, where we sit and talk. I have snippets in my head…

    “I got called from Japan, they wanted me to work there.”

    “Nah, couldn’t speak the language”

    “I don’t expect you remember those wallpapers books you gave me?  I used them for a set of covers for Ian Dury.”

    “I’m going to be famous one day.”

    “One of the guys I work with, Dave Edmunds, he’s real cool, I like to hang out with him, you’d like him, reminds me of you.” Which is a funny sort of odd, says I, ‘cos my mum’s great granny Edmunds, in south Wales, fancied her self as posh she did, family had shops in Tradegar and stuff, was a real character, went nuts, saw apparitions at the foot of the bed, my ma used to like listening to her go on.

    Barney says another guy he liked working with was Chilli Willi, I think he said he’d been to art school, really got it.

    Barney took off upstairs, left me there to look at his portfolio as he said, “I get to do all the things we ever dreamed about in the old days.”

    While he was gone I swapped t-shirts, gave him the shirt off my back, my 7:7:77 t-shirt, screened in purple on black in wood letter, that I hand-set at Hercules press, commemorating the sequence of numerals in that date, in exchange for an ‘If it aint Stiff, it aint worth a fuck’ shirt – one of my favorite Barney designs because it is so blatant. When I first saw it in 78(?) it made me realize that Barney was the spirit of the times manifest.

    (Just tried to find an image of that t-shirt on line but the only one I found had the FUCK Bowdlerized as !*#%.)

    Gave him my 1982 Haight Ashbury poster of an architecturally collaged watercolor painting.

    He wanders over to a thick walled windowsill shelf, uncovers  up a white cardboard box filled with photograph scraps from back in the day, and a silver Mylar mask, that he says he picked up after a concert by that hellfire fella, whatshisname, Arthur Brown, King of the Hellfire, says,”Here, these are for you, they’ll be really interested in these. This’s one of his actual masks.”

    Talk of old times, how Moulton was a crook. I ask if he had anything to do with the Bert Crowther, and the Adam Fireplace gang connection, Barney goes, “Yeah, something like that.”

    He tells me me about how when Moulton ditched him with a big tax bill for money he never received. He was wandering desolate on the streets in Wapping or some place, ready to jump in front of a truck. All seemed at an end. Then he met Chris Higson out of the blue, who invited him in for a pub drink and that’s how he met up with the pub-rock scene. Co-incidences and old friends, including our old friend Dai Davies. I may be imagining this, but I’m hearing Barney say that this wandering episode gave him the inspiration for one Music video he directed, the award winning Specials Ghost Town

    I ask if he knows any work around I might do, he says,”Furniture design, it’s really easy. I draw it and  work with a guy who makes it.” He’d had his furniture work in Face magazine, which I’d seen it in the magazine rack by Camden Town station.

    Since I no longer could smoke the godawful tasting hashish and tobacco mix I used to, Barney surprisingly, since neither of us were ever into it, offered me two lines of cocaine, which we sniffed up furtively with a rolled pound note like two kids behind a shed.

    I tell how I’d been working on posters and shit with Margo St. James, a hooker in San Francisco, on the Hooker’s Ball,  from 1973 to 79, my successor to the Oz Police Ball in London 1971, I designed the poster for that too.

    Barney tells that his experience with prostitutes was not so much fun, as how he’d gotten volved with an rather elderly commercial sexworker woman who followed him around and bugged him on the phone forever.

    We talked of this and that, old memories. He said he was planning to go to Australia, (or maybe he’d already been) I said I was there the year before. I mentioned an Aborigine, from the 19th Century, Wyndradyne of the Wirajuri, I’d learned about, who led a successful, for a while, skirmish against the settlers. Was clever enough for a while to arouse the sympathy of some liberal minded writers. We talked of killing stones. I said that just like always, all over the world, wherever you go, in Australia bad stuff happens. Wyndradyne  died. Left a curse.

    It got late, I asked if I could stay the night on a couch or something, but he said it was against house rules, I imagine he could easily fill the place with dossers and had strict orders not to do so. But he said some business blokes, but cool, were coming by, whom I now realize included Jake Riviera (sp?), and they gave me a ride back to Camden Town.

    As I was leaving Barney and I both go, “See you” – and that’s the last I saw of him.

    Driving, Jake says, “You known Barney long then? He’s the best.”

    • onlinepastrychef 5:35 pm on April 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I saw the cute pink/gray bunnies and wasn’t sure I was in the right place. Very accessible, if you like rabbit bottoms!

      Hope all is well w/you. Saw you on condron.us–just discovered them myself a few days ago. Seeing better traffic from them than w/Alpha Inventions.

    • davidwills 5:00 pm on July 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      The other guy in the car was the McClaren guy of the Sex Pistols.

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