Sunday 10 January 2010


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


Paul G said...

What a great improvement on the staid RM ones.
Would you mind if I feature this on my blog - - since you have the most popular DIY in your mix?


Paul G

Dubdog said...

Thanks, and feel free.

Anonymous said...

love it.
fancy doing a single sleeves version to make an old man very happy?

Dubdog said...


BLTP said...

nice one! thought the original ideas were a little safe. Didn't think PCL was the best Peter savile sleeve to choose. They do have to look good at 1cm square but that doesn't justify using Coldplay! Love the durutti column idea!
On similar vein here's my reworking of sleeves as ikea catalogue pages.

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more - great selection - but xtc ? -
but the original selection by the RM essentially was a poor show to say the least - they and the mysterious selection committee didn't really have a clue and consequently illustrated a total lack of respect for the major influence this movement had on visual culture today
unknown pleasures vs PCL - tough call - UP has become popular through culture - PCL was major in relation to the medium - the correct use of soap is perhaps one sleeve that comes close to that level of originality also - IMHO
- Richard Smith

and here's my two cents >>>