My reworking of the latest stamps on offer from Royal Mail
There's been much talk on the news about the Royal Mail's latest stamp collection - the best of British vinyl record sleeves. Well, it appears, as far as I can see, that these sleeves have been chosen for the popularity of the albums rather than the quality of the artwork - and from a Top Gear fan's record collection at that. OK, so London Calling is an excellent album and the sleeve is a good reworking of Elvis Presley's first release married to a chance photograph by Pennie Smith. But Hipgnosis' Pink Floyd sleeve isn't their best in my opinion and surely Peter Saville's Unknown Pleasures sleeve is far more iconic than the New Order cover on offer? And there are some massive omissions; no Mark Farrow, Jamie Ried, Malcolm Garrett, Vaughan Oliver or Barney Bubbles, to name a few graphic designers who's sleeves have enhanced great records.
So I decided to try and address the imbalance a little and present here some personal favourites of my own. They're not all British and they're not all albums but I'm afraid I couldn't resist seeing Big Black's 'Songs About Fucking' and Sex Pistol's 'God Save The Queen' next to our beloved monarch. I accept XTC's Go 2 would be too small to read and I propose the sandpaper of Durutti Colmun's 'The Return of the Durutti Column' should be on the reverse side of the stamp to fit in with its original context. And the eagle eyed will probably point out that Spiritualized's 'Ladies and Gentlemen…' is a CD sleeve but I include it here to disprove the point Pennie Smith made on Channel 4 News the other night: CD sleeves can be just as good as vinyl sleeves - it's not the format that's to blame if the design is weak, it's the imagination of the designer and the narrow minds of record company execs.
The sleeves, left to right:
God Save The Queen - Sex Pistols
Doolittle - Pixies
Songs About Fucking - Big Black
Dr Alimantado - Best Dressed Chicken in Town
Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space - Spiritualized
Go 2 - XTC
Do It Yourself - Ian Dury and the Blockheads
The Return of the Durutti Column - Durutti Column
The Correct Use of Soap - Magazine
The original Royal Mail versions