Thursday 12 April 2007

So He Goes.

Kurt Vonnegut dies 11.04.07. So it goes.

Here's a quote -
" 'We are killing this planet as a life-support system with the poisons from all the thermodynamic whoopee we're making with atomic energy and fossil fuels, and everybody knows it, and practically nobody cares. This is how crazy we are. I think the planet's immune system is trying to get rid of us with AIDS and new strains of flu and tuberculosis, and so on. I think the planet should get rid of us. We're really awful animals. I mean, that dumb Barbra Streisand song, 'People who need people are the luckiest people in the world' - she's talking about cannibals. Lots to eat. Yes, the planet is trying to get rid of us, but I think it's too late.'
And I said goodbye to my friend, hung up the phone, sat down and wrote this epitaph: 'The good Earth - we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy.' "
from: Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without A Country. 2006.

Here's another -
"He was one of the very few prominent Americans who was unafraid to call himself a socialist. Still railing against stupidity and injustice in 2007, he leaves us at a time when a voice like his is as necessary as it ever was. So it goes."
Nicholas Lezard,, theBlog, Books.

Tuesday 10 April 2007

Digital Delay

I've now compressed DigiDigitDigital and it is available online. If you have the patience to download this 19.9 MB film it can be found here.

Unfortunately the quality has been dramatically effected by the compression - it should flow a lot faster and appear less 'clunky' but it still gives a fair indication of the film's intent.

The soundtrack was made with the use of 4 digital and one analogue radio all tuned into the BBC Radio 4 lunch time news. Digidigitdigital was made as a result of a previous posting here called Evolution and was recently shown at Ipswich Town Hall Galleries 'Dark & Daring' film screening. See review here.

Sunday 8 April 2007


My recent splurge of looking at old work and archiving has led me to finally compress my first animation and get it online.

Find here Pindown's Bloodbrand video made in 2005.

Saturday 7 April 2007

Bum Gravy

Trawling through old work recently led me to a DVD of Bum Gravy performing circa 1994 at Kings Cross Water Rats club.

Edited clip of Bum Gravy performing Swamp Donkey available here.

Bum Gravy existed somewhere between 1991 and 1995 and played in various locations. Whilst in existance they released 3 and a half cassettes (remember them?) and a 7" double A side single 'Fat Digester/Super M' on Fist Fun Records. In 2001 Antigen Records released a CD compilation of their entire output entitled 'Excretion 2000'. Regularly featured in the pages of NME and Melody Maker for their (literally) crap name, many thought the band to be the over active imagination of music journalists but were in fact 6 or so people from Colchester who were bored with what constituted independent music around that time (read - early Blur, Suede, Shed 7, S*M*A*S*H, These Animal Men, Elastica, Sleeper, Echobelly etc).
High point - supporting Silverfish at the Clapham Grand. The in-house PA engineer allowed Bum Gravy's own soundman access to the mixing desk. He got it so loud it forced the Melody Maker reviewer from the building.
Low point - playing Colchester Tatoo Convention. After setting up the band was forced to wait around for 3 very boring hours only to be asked to "turn it down" 30 seconds into the first song - it was decided there and then to pack up and fuck off.

Bum Gravy were:
Ozzie - vocals and FX
Myself - vocals and metal percussion
Geoff - drums and metal percussion
Peter - guitar
John - bass
Simon - guitar
Phil - bass when Simon left
Richard - live sound and remixes

Friday 6 April 2007

Walt Jabsco, I owe you.

I had to put together a presentation recently about my personal work and how I got where I am now. It's interesting what dragging up the past can do for you! Anyway, as I was trawling through the work I did before I trained as a graphic designer - the hobby stuff I did for bands and political groups while working as a printer/finisher - I worked out where my graphic design roots were formed. I can blame no other than the British 2 Tone movement of the late 1970s, early 1980s. I loved The Specials, The Beat, The Selecter, Madness & The Bodysnatchers (never too keen on Bad Manners I'm afraid). I loved the mix of Ska music and punk attitude together with the dress sense and the social commentry reflecting the times. I also loved the whole movement's identity. Each band used a different font for their logo, some like the Selecter and Bodysnatchers used a bespoke typeface. I loved the black and white imagery and it's semiotics - each band was mixed race (with the exception of Madness) and all had an anti-racist ethic. And they all had their own little figurine. Madness had a squat 'M' wearing a pork-pie hat, the Beat had a dancing woman in tight skirt and headband and Jerry Dammers of The Specials devised the dancing cool dude Walt Jabsco icon for the 2 Tone label. Each was seen on their respective bands record sleeves. Then the film/LP Dance Craze was released and all logos and icons were on one sleeve. I was in seventh heaven. I'd sit and trace off these characters and different band logos and re-draw them, trying desperately to re-create them freehand. I'd cover my canvas school bag and school books with them. They were each individual but each had a sense of belonging. At thirteen this was powerful stuff. If only I'd have realised then that this was called Graphic Design and I might have progressed from my crap O' Level results to Art School instead of into the print trade and found my true vocation earlier in life.

Excellent history of 2 Tone website here.

This post was partially inspired by Michael Bierut's Our Little Secret posting on the Design Observer weblog about the film Helvetica and his typsetting love affair.

Waiting to happen