Thursday, 31 December 2009

Onward and upwards



2009 is almost over. As is the first decade of this century. Lots of lists everywhere, looking back and remembering it being the decade of iPods, Google, Obama and Radiohead.

Personally, I'm only really interested in looking forward. Can't see the point of looking backwards, or else I'm only reminded that in the last 10 years on a national and global level we've completely failed to eradicate poverty, homelessness, the gender pay gap, global warming, bloodshed in foreign lands…I could go on. We might as well be looking back on the decade that was the 1970s, or the 1980s, or the 1990s. Hmmm.

So, like I say, I'm all for looking forward. If the next 10 years is as good to me on a personal level as the last; getting married and a complete career change being the major high points, both of which I couldn't have predicted in 1999, then I'll be a happy bunny. And it's the last 10 years that have actually taught me to look forward. As Howard Devoto said in 'Shot By Both Sides', "You live and learn, you have no choice".

Happy New Year and a progressive 2010 to all Dublog readers.

Monday, 21 December 2009

This is what a year sounds like: 2009

Posted slightly earlier than normal because as of 23rd December, I'm going to be avoiding computers and the Internet for a week as Claire and I go and freeze our arses off next to the mighty North Sea.

So, here it is, my annual posting of all the music I've bought/downloaded/ripped in the last 12 months. Obviously I've listened to more than this from my existing collection, on the radio or out and about but this is what I've (largely) spent money on, been given or hired from the local library.

This year there won't be any large analysis of the list, other than to say: Animal Collective's 'Merriweather Post Pavillion' was the most disappointing release of the year (one idea repeated), closely followed by Bonnie Prince Billy's 'Beware'; Akron/Family's 'Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free' was my favourite release of the year, the one I've returned to the most, closely followed by Billy Childish's 'Archive From 1959'; Kode9 + The Spaceape's 'Memories of the Future' was the 'how did I miss that when it was originally released' revelation of the year and World Domination Enterprises' 'Let's Play Domination, The Analogue Remix' the best re-release of the year.

Various - Kickin' Hitler's Butt, Vintage Anti-Fascist Songs 1940 - 1944
Bloc Party - Intimacy
Joe Gibbs and the Professionals - African Dub All-Mighty: Chapters 1 & 2
The P Brothers - The Gas
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion
Circlesquare - Songs About Dancing and Drugs
Peter Molinari - A Virtual Landslide
The The - Infected
Spiritualized - Songs In A + E
The Stooges - The Stooges
Frank Turner - Love Ire Songs + The First Three Years
Micah P Hinson - Micah P Hinson & The Red Empire Orchestra
Various - I'm Your Fan: The Songs Of Leonard Cohen
Various - The Story Of The Blues
N.A.S.A - The Spirit Of Apollo
Various - Dark Was The Night
Iggy Pop & The Stooges - Raw Power
Various - The Imagined Village
Jah Wobble - Chinese Dub
The BPA - I Think We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat
Depeche Mode - The Best of Depeche Mode Vol 1
Kode9 - Black Sun/2 Far Gone
Various - Wire Trapper 21
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Beware
Screaming Blue Messiahs - Live at the BBC
Lou Reed - Live in Italy
Run DMC - The Best of
The Velvet Underground - VU
Micachu - Jewellery
PJ Harvey & John Parish - A Woman a Man Walked By
Lou Reed - Street Hassle
Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92
David Bowie - Aladdin Sane, Low
Bob Dylan - Dylan box set
Beastie Boys - Check Your Head, Ill Communication
Killing Joke - Killing Joke
Fugazi - Repeater + 3 Songs
Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years
Chicks On Speed - 99 cents
DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
Lou Reed - Rock n Roll Animal
Forever Delayed - Manic Street Preachers
Prince Buster - FABulous Greatest Hits
The Broken Family Band - Please and Thank You
Jeffrey Lewis and The JunkYard - 'Ere Am I
The Nightingales - Insult to Injury
Crass - Feeding The 5000
Akron/Family - Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free
David Byrne - Everything That Happens Will Happen On This Tour
Madness - The Liberty of Norton Folgate
Kronos Quartet - Floodplain
Culture - Two Sevens Clash
Lou Reed's Metal Machine Trio - The Creation Of The Universe
Iggy Pop - Preliminaires
British Sea Power - Man of Aran
White Denim - Fits
Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over The Sea
A Hawk And A Hacksaw - Darkness At Noon
The Zydepunks - Exile Waltz
Billy Childish - Archive From 1959: The Billy Childish Story
Crass - Best Before
The XX - X
Camera Obsura - My Maudlin Life
XTC - Black Sea
Iggy Pop & James Williamson - Kill City
Alan Price - O Lucky Man
Beastie Boys - Too Many Rappers
Mos Def - The Ecstatic
Arctic Monkeys - Humbug
Augustos Pablo - East of the River Nile
Rage Against The Mahine - Rage Against The Machine
Gang Of Four - Solid Gold/Another Day, Another Dollar
Junior Murvin - Police & Thieves
Burning Spear - Marcus Garvey/Garvey's Ghost 100th Anniversary
World Domination Enterprises - Let's Play Domination, The Analogue Remix
Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Warp20 (Recreated)
Warp20 (Chosen)
The Dead Weather - Horehound
Woody Guthrie - My Dusty Road
Massive Attack - Splitting The Atom EP
Thom Yorke - Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses
Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Bill Callahan - Woke On A Whaleheart
Various - 5 Years Of Hyperdub
Richard Hawley - Coles Corner, Truelove's Gutter
Sufjan Stevens - The BQE
The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace
Devendra Banhart - What Will We Be
Public Image Ltd. - John Peel Session (10th December 1979)
The Doors - The Doors, Strange Days, LA Woman
Public Image Ltd. - Flowers of Romance
Kode9 + The Spaceape - Memories of the Future
King Midas Sound - Waiting For You
Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space
Public Image Ltd. - Public Image
The Stranglers - Rattus Norvegicus
Horace Andy - Feel Good All Over, Anthology 1970 - 1976

Reality bites



Saw this on a car recently. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Links:
Darwin Fish
Darwin Year
Evolver zone
British Humanist Association

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Quote of the week

"He was one of those blokes who permanently wore leather trousers. That normally indicates that the person in question is a graphic designer." Jah Wobble - Memoirs of a Geezer.




Sunday, 6 December 2009

Branded in the night



I got branded last night at a gig - with a logo I created! And despite many attempts to wash it off and after having a shower this morning, it's still there. I always thought my work would come back to haunt me.



I created the logo for Antigen Records last year and have since worked on a label for a limited edition 7 inch release of Earth Mother Fucker's 'I Fuck, Therefore I Am', (due for consumption by the general public early 2010). And indeed, in applying typography to a photograph supplied by Antigen's Jason, I branded the mustachioed gentleman in the image with the Antigen logo, which, in my hungover, tattooed state this morning, fills me with a sense of irony and moustache envy.



The typography for this label was an exercise in creating a lo-fi aesthetic and I trawled both Jason's and my curling Letraset collection in order that I could capture that home-made, untutored look. This Letraset collection hasn't seen the light of day since creating record sleeves and posters for bands, pre-computer, in the late 1980s, early 1990s. In trying to emulate that vernacular, I found it was actually more difficult than I thought to try and ignore my typographic sensibilities and not worry about mistakes in kerning and baseline alignment. In fact, before training as a graphic designer, when I previously used Letraset, these mistakes would happen naturally despite my attempts otherwise. Now, I have to force them.

As for all things Antigen, they are going from strength to strength, albeit on a local, small-scale basis. The Earth Mother Fucker single is the first in a series of 7 inch lathe cut releases which will be sold both separately and in a box set. Last night saw the debut gig of These Are End Times, to my knowledge, Ipswich's only post-rock band. They are going into the studio next week to record some of their material. Likewise, Antigen's Bring Back Her Head were selling their CD at only their second gig and The Waxing Captors, who rounded off the night, were celebrating having just signed to the label and are about to start recording a CD in January 2010 for release next spring.

All this only three weeks after another successful Antigen gig, although then there wasn't a guitar in sight, featuring John Callaghan, Antigen's Henry Homesweet, Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer and Mixomatosis's last ever gig.


R.I.P. Mixomatosis.

Antigen
These Are End Times
John Callaghan
Lathe cut records

Friday, 4 December 2009

I'd rather (Union) Jack



Well done to the UCS Level 5 BA (Hons) Graphic Design students, and Dave, for getting their Union Jack book published. The book features variations of the Union Jack on existing 'National Weeks'. Available for £7.75 plus postage from blurb.com. An exhibition of imagery from the book will be on display in the lobby of University Campus Suffolk's Waterfront Building, Ipswich, from December 17th.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Testing testing

Through work I have just got hold of MacSpeech Dictate. This is a talk/type application that allows you to talk and your Mac will magically type what you are saying, sort of. You do have to remember to say the words "full stop" if you want a ".", along with other such commands. This can be problematic. For example if you want to say the word "ampersand" rather than have an "&" , or if you want to say the word "comma" rather than have a "," .

I am using this software to create this post and I initially refused to go back and correct mistakes via my keyboard. However, that notion didn't last long because aspects of the last sentence of the last paragraph were completely nonsensical Due to the fact that I couldn't say the word "comma" without the software placing a "," where I wanted the word. Teething problems aside, I can see how this is going to be very useful in helping me manage my RSI.

Now for some swearing; Buck, sheet, bollocks. 1 out of 3! Not so good.

It will be interesting to see whether using this application with effect the way I talk and write. So, if you should bump into me and I keep saying the word comma, and if in future posts you keep reading the word Buck, then you will know that the software and I are starting to merge!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Father of the dead



"Sir Christopher Meyer, testifying to the Chilcot inquiry into Britain's role in the war, made it clear that once the Bush administration decided to take military action, the Blair government never considered opting out or opposing it."
Source: The Guardian

The Iraq Inquiry
Iraq Body Count

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Twatter

Private/public information is intelligently discussed on Eye blog and is worth a read if, like me, you are baffled by why anyone would want to know my/your/some celebrity numbskull's whereabouts/activities 24/7. There's already too many egocentrics around without massaging more into existence. Anyway, it's all sort of summed up nicely in this faintly amusing spoof:

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Annual review

Puzzled with what to do with the Photo Booth application that came with my computer when I bought it a year ago, I decided to map my balding. Here is the first annual review.



I am not obsessed with going bald, merely interested in mapping its development.

I long ago gave up the notion that I would ever be able to grow a mohican again.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Waxing lyrical

Waxing Captors replace Pindown in upcoming Antigen Records gig at The Blue Room, McGintys, Ipswich on 5th December with Bring Back Her Head and These Are End Times.
More details from
http://www.myspace.com/antigenrecords


Sunday, 1 November 2009

Tickle the eye



Went to the excellent Mariscal Drawing Life exhibition at the Design Museum on Friday with Claire, Lindsay and some graphic design students. I typed a lengthy review earlier today that also detailed our visit to Tate Modern to see the disappointing Pop Life exhibition and the interesting John Baldessari Pure Beauty show. Unfortunately I managed to lose it all before I posted it! Hmmm, that'll teach me to type long posts directly into blogger while also uploading photos and creating links. Better to type it in TextEdit and paste it over later. Oh well. You'll have to make do with the links below because I'm not typing it all again. That said, I do want to quote Mariscal, who wrote many things on the walls of the exhibition but this made me smile: "We all want drawings to tickle the eye". I'll second that emotion.

Photos from Drawing Life on Dubdog@Flickr.

Design Museum website.

Drawing Life exhibition blog.

Pop Life at Tate Modern.

Pure Beauty at Tate Modern.

Bins of the beast

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Bugged

I went to see Adam Buxton's Bug in Norwich a few weeks ago with a couple of friends where, amongst other things, he showed these two amazing videos.





Thanks to Sarah B for tracking them down.

Velvet crush



via CR Blog

A new book of posters commissioned for the Velvet Underground, one of the most important bands of all time, has just been published by Rizzoli books.

The above reminds me of some drawings I did of friend and colleague Ian Cook's band Crush Deluxe, arguably one of the most important groups to come out of Halesworth, Suffolk, on 24th April 2004.



More here.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Just added



New sleeve art and PDF download artwork link for Democracy In Action by Pindown added to dubdog.co.uk.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Just add noise



Just read a great article on Expletive Undeleted eulogizing the merits of Jah Wobble's finest moments with PiL's Metal Box. Also contains my favourite quote of the month "No Wobble - no point". I concur: Expletive Undeleted

Reminds me, I must buy a copy of Wobble's Memoirs of a Geezer.

I found Expletive Undeleted via the ever excellent Uncarved.org whose latest post features articles from a 1987 edition of the NME on the subject of stealing music in the then newly emerging sample age. It's interesting looking back on a time when bands such as That Petrol Emotion were lambasted by narrow minded journalists for using a drum machine! John Eden, Uncarved's author, talks about how this issue of NME opened his mind to what the possibilities of music could be. Read it here: Uncarved

For me, it was Steinski and The Mass Media's 'And The Motorcade Sped On' that blew me away and opened my mind to future possibilities. It was given away free on a 4 track EP by NME in the same year:

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Pindown in action



Pindown's 2004 CD release, Democracy In Action, is now available as a free download (MP3 or FLAC) from Digital Vomit Records:
http://www.digitalvomit.com/dvr041

Thanks Lee.

More Pindown news: we're performing a gig on December 5th, that's 2 in one year, which is a massive increase in our less than prolific work rate. You can catch the digital sample mayhem at the Blue Room, Ipswich. Also on the bill are Bring Back Her Head, featuring ex-Violent Playground members and These Are End Times, Ipswich's one and only post-rock outfit. More details available from the Antigen Records and Pindown sites.

Preceding this gig is another Antigen presentation in the shape of a performance from ex-Warp artist John Callaghan [featured on the recent Warp20 (Recreated) release], again at the Blue Room, on Nov 14th. Also on the bill are Pindown labelmate Henry Homesweet, Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer and Mixomatosis.

The Antigen pipeline is also bulging with planned new releases for 2010 which will be announced when details are firmed up.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Monday, 14 September 2009

Clash City Morris



After my recent post/review of a weekend spent at Towersey Folk Festival, you can find an article about David Owen, "Britain's premier folk artist" on Eye magazine's blog



There's more of his work on The Ink Corporation website.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Doing the Lambeth skank

Storm

I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week at the D&AD Xchange conference in London, the best event in the D&AD calendar. Below, Storm Thorgerson, the designer of the Dark Side Of The Moon Pink Floyd album cover amongst many others, talks about why designers design in conversation with Adrian Shaughnessy.

Storm Thorgerson from D&AD on Vimeo.



The Ian referred to off camera is Ian Wright, an illustrator who worked on the N.M.E in the early eighties and has gone on to work in mosaics using many different medium and spoke before Strom.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Meanwhile…



After my recent exclusion from using computers I amassed a fair few photos on my Olympus and Cybershot. Today is the first chance I've had to go through some of them with a view to uploading them to Flickr. As there are so many, I published them in themed batches and that cover my usual interests and ongoing projects documenting typography, signs and notices, shadows and patterns that caught my attention, unexpected observations, self portraits and lots of McDonald's litter. They are largely from travels in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. You can see the results here.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Queer as folk


Urban Morris troupe Boggart's Breakfast working on their set

Claire & I spent last weekend at the delightful Towersey Festival, an event that takes over the whole village of Towersey in Oxfordshire and dedicates it to all things 'folk'. 3 stages on site with other performers playing in the village hall, local pub and the chip shop in nearby Thame which was a short ride away on a specially laid on London Routemaster. Only 3000 campers or so and some 2000 odd day visitors that left plenty of space for all. The site even had flushing toilets and showers which left the most hardened folkies comfortable about sticking their fingers in their ears and keeping insects out of their beards. OK, so you have to be tolerant of some of the excesses of the folk scene, such as tankard envy and morris dancing, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself thanks to good company, Thatcher's Cider, and some good performances from the Imagined Village and Spooky Men's Chorale.

It was also good to see an organisation called Folk Against Fascism being supported so widely by punters and festival organisers alike. Apparently the BNP have let slip plans to infiltrate the British folk scene in a desperate bid to find some sort of culture they can call truly English. Read more here in a recent Guardian article . FAF (who I'm not sure they've really thought through their acronym,) state in their leafelt "The British National Party’s manifesto encourages its members to insinuate themselves into the folk and traditional customs of Britain. This involves the appropriation of British folk music and culture as a means of spreading its peculiar brand of racism and intolerance. The UK folk scene is a welcoming and inclusive one; folk music and dance have always been about collaboration, participation, communication and respect.
Folk Against Fascism has been created to take a stand against the BNP’s targeting of folk music, a stand against the appropriation of our culture."

Anti-fascism in the folk community has always been strong, as the great Woody Guthrie demonstrates:



That said, I do have lots of issues with the folk scene. One of the music tents was a dedicated Céilidh tent. Now I love Céilidh music but unfortunately you now can't seem to see a Céilidh band without the addition of a caller shouting dance moves from the stage. It's so regimented and frustrating. I don't want someone telling me how to dance. I want to enjoy myself on my own terms and I get the impression at Céilidhs, from the hordes who really like to take their fun seriously, that you'd be asked to leave if you just started dancing your own way somewhere on the dance floor (if there was space). And I must say, if the BNP really want to infiltrate the folk scene then there was a whole dance tent of willing people who unquestioningly respond well to orders. Each to their own and all that but I'm afraid I prefer not to have my fun dictated to me.

So we left the Céilidh tent and headed over to see Devon Sproule in the Concert Tent, only to find it was all seated. This is another thing about folk gigs I hate. Why seats? Ahhhh. I've seen too many gigs killed of their atmosphere because folkies want to sit down and stroke their beards. I once had an argument with a promotor for putting the excellent Eliza Carthy and The Ratcatchers on in a seated venue. Absolutely no atmosphere, despite the band being stunningly good and extremely lively. Now Devon isn't in the same league as Eliza and on this night she wasn't great but I'm prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt for having to work in extremely difficult circumstances. How can you perform dance music when you can't feed off the audience because they are sitting down and clapping so politely at the end of each song? Unfortunately, the drunker I got, the more I wanted to dance - especially when the completely underwhelming Demon Barbers came on. Not really my cup of tea but dancable if you've enough cider in side ya. But alas, it was all order order order. Hmmm, Folk Against Fascism may have their work cut out for themselves.

Luckily not all of the stages were this regimented and you could dance as much as you liked in the Festival Dance Tent which Claire and I called in on as we danced our way back to our tent, only stopping for a crêpe and maple syrup on the way. Towersey, we'll be back, but please only put seats around the edge of the dance floor and keep a space in the Céilidh tent for me to dance my own jig!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Dear Internet

Dear Internet.

I hope you are well. I know I haven't been using you much recently, and I know you like to be used, but I'm sorry, I've been hurting.

Our temporary separation has highlighted one or two things to me about our relationship. Sure, I'm aware I took you for granted and maybe didn't give you the respect you deserved. And I must assure you, it's not you, it's me. That said though, my time without you has made me realise that you do talk a lot of crap sometimes. There are sites and blogs I would feel deficient if I didn't visit regularly. I know now that I don't need them.

You see, my dear Internet, I've been seeing others behind your back. I know this is going to hurt but I'm afraid I have to be honest. You'll get over it I know you will but I must confess. The complete first series of Mad Men I watched on DVD over two days was dirty of me I know but even you and your Google database of my search history should know that I like a bit of well detailed retro. Lindsay Anderson's O Lucky Man showed me how to be a real man while Iron Man left me feeling slutty. I even scored with a German intellectual in the form of The Wave which got me thinking. Sorry dear Internet, I do not ask for forgiveness.

I have to, I'm afraid, also confess that it wasn't all pressing buttons. I've been thumbing paper as well. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies made me laugh again without it involving cats. I also read about music in the form of Thank You For The Days and Lost In Music. And they were both gentle with me I can assure you. And I must confess to a lengthy late night pillow session discussing ethics in graphics with Good.

There were others as well my little virtual reality. I witness things, places and people. British Sea Power, Thom Yorke, Magazine and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds enthralled me. The Peak District showered her beauty down upon my body and Le Tour de France gripped me by the seat of my pants. I've also caressed pens and pencils between my fingers and I've filled memory sticks to overflowing with images of the natural world and man mad beauty & ugliness.

So dear Internet, you can see I've been busy in your absence but I now feel it is time to reignite our feelings for each other. However, my binary friend, I wish not for the old dominating S&M relationship we previously had. I want a new one, one built on sharing our lives with others. There's room for more than solitary tappings and scrollings. There has to be if you and I are going to have a future together.

And so, I leave you now until the next time. I do love you but I won't let you control me, you have to understand.

Yours not quite so faithfully,

Nigel

Sunday, 12 July 2009

The last post

I'm under doctor's orders to not use computers for a month in order to try and ease my RSI so Dublog will be static for a while. McJunk, Pindown videos and MA research are obviously all on hold. Check back here in a month or so and hopefully I'll be posting again with mended hands and observing all the health and safety advice about posture, avoiding f***ing laptops and not allowing my obsessive work ethic to get the better of me. So, as you are reading this, all I have to say is Sit Up, Look Sharp, to paraphrase Dizzee. I'm off to do some drawing and read some books for a month. Ta ta.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Glasto girl



Callie's Official Review of Glastonbury;

Blur- Fantastic
Nick Cave- Very good
Bon Iver- Very good
Bruce Springstein- if he'd sang one more song I would have thrown a stone at him to make him stop
The Specials- Good
Spinal Tap- dreadful- accidently saw them
Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Alright
Bat for Lashes- a bit dull
Neil Young- Excellent
The Doves- Very Good
Camping- Hell on earth

Human interface

Hi from Multitouch Barcelona on Vimeo.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Blame it on the boogie

When Steven Wells signed off his last piece of writing before he died, little did he know the ironic connotations of the last line. As the press hype up a world going stupid idiot mental over a dead pop star, Boff of Chumbawamba pays tribute to Steven Wells who would have had a field day with this current farcical praise of pomposity and egotism. Read it here on Chumbawamba's blog. It puts things in perspective a little.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Mc300



For eager Dublog readers (the select few), you may have wondered why this blog's header still contains the phrase 'recent work', considering most of my postings of late have been more of the 'interests and throwaway comments' variety. Well, here's a brief round up of all things Dubdog, outside of talking about graphic design for a living in the day job.

McJunk is still ongoing and in fact, it turned 300 today. I posted here a while ago that I was looking at putting on McExhibition and this is still on the cards. I'm getting large prints done every month to level out some of the costs and I'm looking into different display formats and framing options. In the meantime I have also started writing and designing McBook to bring together the myriad of reasons for my continuation of this project. McBook will service two main functions; firstly it will give McJunk some context outside of observational photography and it will also act as an exhibition catalogue which I will use to help secure gallery space. Of course, if there are any Dublog readers who have any inroads in this area (gallery space that is), I'm open to suggestions. McBook will be self published through Lulu.com and will be available to buy online.

The book will take a while to get together, as will all the exhibition material. This is not just down to the day job but also because I'm also currently stepping up the pace (ever so slightly) on the Pindown front. In response to the relative success of our recent gig in Colchester, I'm working on some back drop visuals for Pindown for future live outings. I will also soon be writing new lyrics to accompany Jason's current spurt of musical creativity. This is all in preparation for going into a studio to record new tracks and stuff we've had knocking around for a few years but have never properly recorded. This should all see the light of day in a new Pindown release scheduled for late 2009, early 2010.

More details of all these projects will be released here as and when they unfold.

R.I.P Swells

Forget Farrah Fawcett, I've just heard the sad news that Steven Wells, journalist and poet, has died. There would rarely be a week that I wasn't glued to a Swells review or interview in the NME in the 80s. He lambasted most bands for the pompous self loving smug idiots the majority of them were. Not to say I always agreed with his tastes, but he was never, ever, a dull read. The closest we've got in mainstream journalism today is Charlie Brooker. There's a tribute here, and his last article here. For a sample of a rather tame (for him) rant about the Manic Street Preachers in 1999, go here.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Just play



Doesn't matter what order you play them in, it works - just play. Musical experiment by Darren Solomon here.

Friday, 12 June 2009

A message to you

Interesting interview here with David Storey, the designer who, alongside Jerry Dammers of The Specials and typographer John ‘Teflon’ Sims, created the Two Tone graphic identity and record sleeves.

Below: Walt Jabsco and the original Wailers photo of Peter Tosh that inspired his creation as mentioned in the interview.





After reading the interview, you'll see why it is such a crying shame that Dammers isn't involved in The Specials 30th Anniversary gigs. The whole Two Tone concept was his idea, he was a man of vision with an innate sense of the power of visual language coupled with using music as social commentary to drive home a message. Come on, the guy also single handedly got Nelson Mandela released from a 25 year prison sentence. OK, I exaggerate somewhat but lets be fair, before The Special AKA released that song, how many people in this country outside of hard nosed politicos had heard of Nelson Mandela? Not many. Jerry Dammers achievements are chronically under valued, not just in musical history, but in youth culture and British social history as well. And he got 'blokes' dancing again.

If you're wondering what he's up to now, them check out The Spacial AKA, his tribute to Sun Ra and Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Three veggie breakfasts

Paskins Town House, Brighton

Ken & Sarah's, Hollesley


Claire & Nigel's, Ipswich

Friday, 5 June 2009

Show time

This Wednesday saw the Private View of the UCS School of Arts Degree Show. The evening was a great success with drinks flowing freely all night, good humour and industry interest in student work.


Dan looks on as Damien eyes keeps his eye on the drink

The show took place in 2 locations; the new Waterfront Building where the first graduating BA (Hons) Photography students exhibited, and in the Art Block in Campus North. Fine Art and Interior Design students took the top and ground floor exhibition spaces in the Art Block respectively with Graphics taking two rooms on the middle floor. Despite the middle floor being traditionally difficult rooms to show in, the quality of the work and room layout overshadowed this and the graphics exhibition was the busiest of the lot all night dragging well on past the official finish time and needless to say, spilt over into a nearby bar.
 
Dave talks to Tom and Chris

Congratulations to award winners:
Ümit Souleyman - Level One Studentship Award.
Hannah Ruffles - Level Two Studentship Award.
Suzanne Franks - Level Three Studentship Award and The Graham Scott Award for Typography.
One of the patrons of the course, TCM, awarded three prizes in memory of the late Adam Easdon (an ex-student of the course who worked at TCM after graduating) for a brief they set at the beginning of the year: Runner-ups, Anna Nyberg and Robbie McWilliams both received cash prizes while Sean Scannell won £1000 and work experience with the London based Media Production Company. Simon and Ben from TCM were genuinely shocked by the quality of the work and had a tough time choosing a winner, mentioning that much of it could have gone straight to TV.

Ian chats to Rachel

Well done to all the Graphics students for an excellent show, you've done yourselves proud.

The show continues until Monday 8th, 10 am - 6 pm and 11 am - 3 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Thanks to the Reunion Gallery for sponsoring the show.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Coincidence

I started getting pains in my arm and wrist at the end of last year that I'm probably incorrectly referring to as RSI without a medical diagnosis. Since then, I have also been reading uncarved.org blog regularly. It's written by a guy called Jim Eden and in between his posts about dub reggae, grime, punk rock and police brutality, he's been talking about living with RSI. In his latest post he conducts an interview with his own arm which is both funny and scary. Right, I'm now going to stop using my Mac for unessential things for the rest of the day and book an appointment with my GP this week!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

It has come to this…edit


I recently started an exercise in recording my media interaction. Initially I limited this to my consumption of published media, such as TV, websites, newspapers and magazines. I have since broadened this out to include media, medium and tools etc that I use on a daily basis, be that computer hardware and software, notepads, pens, recording devices, listening devices etc. Outside of one or two that I am forced to use in order to earn a living, these are items that I do not need to physically function on a day to day basis but are choices that have become habits and are taken for granted most of the time. Adbusters bought to my attention the phrase 'mental environment' in regards to the daily visual bombardment we all consciously and subconsciously absorb from the side of busses, billboards and adverts in magazines etc. Well, this is my own personal 'mental environment' that I have constructed around my life. I have utilised pretty much everything in this list within the last 7 days:

Creative Review
Eye
Tate Etc
Adbusters magazine
Wire magazine
thewire.co.uk
The Guardian
Design Observer
CR Blog
Eye Blog
Noisy Decent Graphics
Graphic Journey Blog
Johnson Banks Blog
Uncarved Blog
Design Assembly
BBCNews.co.uk
Guardian.co.uk
BBC 1,2,3 & 4
ITV 3 & 4
Channel 4
Film 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC 6music
Facebook
MySpace
Blogger
Wordpress
Delicious
Flickr
Google
Wikipedia
Wolsey.ucs.ac.uk
YouTube
Vimeo
Spotify
Amazon
iTunes store
iTunes
Address Book
iCal
Safari
Firefox
Mail
Outlook
Internet Explorer
NewsFire
Preview
iChat
MobileMe
QuickTime Pro
Font Book
Image Capture
SuperDuper!
Snap N Drag
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe InDesign
Adobe Acrobat Professional
CS Premier
CS Bridge
Dreamweaver MX
Apple various
Dell PC
DAB Radio
Toshiba hard drive
iOmega hard drive
Cruzer memory stick
HP printer/scanner
Sony Ericsson camera phone
Olympus camera
Panasonic headphones
Cambridge Audio stereo
LG TV
Wii
Pilot pen
Moleskin notebook
Verbatim CDs
Samsung DVDs
Xerox paper
Canon photocopier
Staedtler pencil
Swann Morton scalpel
Harmon/Kardon speakers

I have found this process both interesting and banal in equal measures and am still thinking about what it means to consume/use so much with so little active consideration. Taking these items for granted and purely on face value without considering how any of this stuff actually works, was produced, its psychological, social or environmental cost could be considered as crass, arrogant, decadent and selfish. I would not contest any of these descriptors. But this is what my life is made up of at this moment in time. Right here, right now, it has come to this. I'm not talking content. You can read much into my reading habits and probably make a fair assumption about my character and have a broad stab at some of my opinions. I am much more interested in what my lack of consideration of the utilities I use daily say about me, other than the fact that I need to get out more?

This post has been edited in the light of a comment posted discussing semantics. NB

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Product


I bought the Buzzcocks first album,  'Another Music In A Different Kitchen', on vinyl many years ago from a second hand record shop in Mansfield. For the £2.50 I paid for it I was extremely pleased that the plastic bag promo that accompanied the original release was still inserted in the sleeve. Mine is in slightly better condition than the one in the image below (borrowed from a CR blog post about Malcolm Garrett and the Buzzcocks) and is safely stored away in my loft with the album and the rest of my vinyl collection.



I loved the forced irony of the word PRODUCT proudly emblazoned on the bag which seemed fitting in contrast to the teenage homosexual and existential angst of Pete Shelley's lyrics. Anyway, moving forward about 25 years; in anticipation of seeing a reformed Magazine at Latitude festival later this year, I bought a Magazine T-Shirt, also designed by Garrett. (The link outside of Malcolm Garrett, for those not familiar with these important bands: Howard Devoto was the lead vocalist on Buzzcocks' first EP, 'Spiral Scratch', before leaving to form Magazine.) A few days after ordering my T-Shirt, it arrived in the post packaged in a rather nifty Magazine plastic carrier bag.





However, I won't be reusing this fashionable item as it's made of BioPoly and will photo biodegrade. Because of this I dare not take it out into sunlight for fear of it disappearing around whatever it may be containing. This is a great shame because I think I prefer the bag to the T-Shirt and although I'm all for biodegradable plastic, I would probably have reused this bag so many times that in sustainable terms I may have justified the energy spent in it's production more than it only having a once or twice use lifespan. 



Guess I'll have to get up in the loft and store this bag in my copy of 'Correct Use Of Soap'.

Recommended listening:
Buzzcocks 
Spiral Scratch
Another Music In A Different Kitchen
Love Bites
Magazine
Real Life
Correct Use of Soap
Play