Monday 29 December 2008

This is what a year sounds like, 08

It's been a record year (no pun intended) for buying, downloading, ripping and being given music in 2008 and this is what it largely sounded like. Personal overview at the bottom of this post:

British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
Thom Yorke - And It Rained All Night (Burial Mix) EP/Atoms For Peace (Fourtet Remix) EP/Harrowdown Hill (The Bug Remix)
Autechre - Quaristice
Fugazi - In On The Kill Taker, Red Medicine
The Ex - Singles. Period.
Lou Reed - Sally Can't Dance
Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
Feist - The Reminder
Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Black Uhuru - The Dub Factor
Julian Cope - Peggy Suicide
Modeselektor - Happy Birthday!
The Bug - Poison Dart EP
The Angels Of Light - We Are Him
The Angels Of Light & Akron/Family - The Angels Of Light & Akron/Family
Akron Family - Meek Warrior
Wire - Read & Burn 03
Various - You Don't Know, Ninja Cuts
Box of Dub Volume 2 - Dubstep and Future Dub
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band - 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons
Elbow - The Seldom Seen Boy
Benga - Diary of An Afro Warrior
Skream - Skream!
Barry Adamson - Back To The Cat
Portishead - Third
Wire - The A List
The Fall - Imperial Wax Solvent
Holy Fuck - Street Horrrsing
Wooderson - Safeguard/Heard About It (Demo)
The Tupolev Ghost - The Alpha EP
Meat Beat Manifesto - Autoimmune (Import)
Talking Heads - 77, More Songs About Buildings & Food
Chumbawamba - The Boy Bands Have Won
Danbert Nobacon And The Pine Valley Cosmonauts - The Library Book Of The World
Nomeansno - The Day Everything Became Isolated, Wrong
Bonnie Prince Billy - Lie Down In The Light
Cat Power - Jukebox
Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley: His Best
Animal Collective - Water Curses EP
Billy Bragg - Mr Love & Justice
Malcolm Middleton - Live At The Bush Hall
Outkast - The Love Below/Speakerboxxx
Lee Perry - A Serious Dub
John Renbourn - Nobody's Fault But Mine: The John Renbourn Anthology 1966-2005
AntiFolk Volume 1- Compilation
FabricLive 07 - John Peel
The Felice Brothers - The Felice Brothers
White Denim - Workout Holiday
Eliza Carthy - Dreams of Breathing Underwater
Adrian Sherwood - On-U Sound Crash: Slash & Mix
Mark Stewart - Edit
Lee 'Scratch' Perry - The Mighty Upsetter
Neil Diamond - Home Before Dark
Getatchew Mekuria, The Ex & Guests - Moa Anbessa
Various - Best of Nigel
Various - Gangsta Top 10
Various - God songs +
Tricky - Knowle West Boy
Wire - Object 47
The Bug - London Zoo
Various - Trojan Box Set: Skinhead Reggae
Steinski - What Does It All Mean? 1983 - 2006 Retrospective
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
The Young Knives - Superabundance
Lou Reed - Lou Reed, Coney Island Baby, The Blue Mask
The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement
Foals - Antidotes
Diana Ross and The Supremes - The Ultimate Collection
Squeeze - Essential Squeeze
Dizzee Rascal - Maths + English
The Specials - Stereo-Typical, As, Bs & Rarities
David Byrne & Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts
Roots Manuva - Slime & Reason
Lee 'Scratch' Perry - Repentance
David Byrne - The Catherine Wheel
Glasvegas - Glasvegas
TV On The Radio - Dear Science
Mogwai - The Hawk Is Howling
Lou Reed - Berlin: Live at St. Ann's Warehouse
The Clash - Live At Shea Stadium
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy with Harem Scarem and Alex Neilson - Is It The Sea?
Palace - Arise Therefore
Warsaw Village Band - Uprooting
Talking Heads - Remain in Light, Fear of Music, Speaking in Tongues
The Specials - The Specials
The Stooges - Fun House
Augustus Pablo - King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown
Half Man Half Biscuit - CSI Ambleside & back catalogue
Six Inch Records 01, Patrick Bell - Travel Notes
Six Inch Records 02, Max de Mara - Classist
Six Inch Records 03, The Joy of Living - The Beyond Within
Robert Wyatt - EPs
Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, Frankenchrist
Iggy Pop - New Values
Hot Chip, Robert Wyatt and Geese - Made In The Dark
Aretha Franklin - Respect, The Very Best of Aretha Franklin
The Everly Brothers - Definitive Pop

As I've just moved my vinyl collection into our loft many of these purchases are digital replicas of things I already have and it's good to catch up with some Lou Reed and Talking Heads again this year. Without wallowing on past glories though, (although I must mention it was great to hear Steinski's 'And The Motorcade Sped On' again on his retrospective, the first piece of sampling I ever heard back when I was 14 or 15 and it still sounds innovative today), here's my take on some of the above:

Disappointment of the year has to be the last Wire release, 'Object 47'. Largely well written and performed songs but the production is dreadful and dulls the whole sensation, especially in comparison with the magnificent 'Read & Burn 03' released towards the end of 07 which led me to have high expectations. CDs that have been played the most include Vampire Weekend's debut (thanks for the tip off Kelvin) and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's 'Lie Down In The Light' with the best dogging themed song I've ever heard. Discoveries of the year include the Angels Of Light (thanks Roki) and Warsaw Village Band (thanks again Kelvin).

As for my favourite, well, it's difficult to choose. Roots Manuva's 'Slime and Reason' is up to his usual high standards although he threw several curve balls with some of the more upbeat tracks ('Again and Again', 'Do Nah Bodda Mi', 'Buff Nuff') which left his usually excellent fare pale in comparison and led to an excellent but schizophrenic album. Portishead's 'Third' is shear electronic bliss once it gets going which sadly isn't until halfway through - then it becomes immense. If the first half could have matched the second then it would have been top of the pile but in truth they only really made half an album. However, the one that ticks all the boxes for me personally is The Bug's 'London Zoo', a dub/electronic hybrid that is atmospheric, dense, poetic, heavy and paranoid; real zeitgeist stuff and completely at odds with anything else that was released in 2008. (Thanks for the recommendation about 'Poison Dart' last year Steven or I'd have never have found this.)

Monday 22 December 2008

In print in Imprint

I bought a copy of Daniel Eatock's Imprint today and found some of my submissions to his online 'Thank You Pictures' project included in its pages. It's always satisfying to see your own work in print, especially in these days of instant online publishing. Published were; 4x4x4x4, Post Post and Twin Twin. Thank You Daniel.


McJunk reaches 200.

Friday 19 December 2008

This is what a year sounds like…

…if you are a detainee of the War On Terror:

AC/DC - Hells Bells, Shoot To Thrill
Barney The Purple Dinosaur - Theme Tune
Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
Britney Spears
Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA
Christina Aguilera - Dirrty
David Gray - Babylon
Deicide - Fuck Your God
Don McLean - American Pie
Dope - Die MF Die, Take Your Best Shot
Dr. Dre
Drowning Pools - Bodies
Eminem - Kim, Slim Shady, White America
Li'l Kim
Limp Bizkit
Matchbox Twenty - Gold
Meat Loaf
Metallica - Enter Sandman
Neil Diamond - America
Nine Inch Nails - March Of The Pigs, Mr. Self-Destruct
Prince - Raspberry Beret
Queen - We Are The Champions
Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name Of
Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Saliva - Click Click Boom
Sesame Street - Theme Tune
Tupac - All Eyes On Me

Join the silent protest against music being used as a form of torture by creating a 5 second silent protest film on camcorder or mobile phone and upload it to zero db. Those without video recording equipment can still sign the petition at the same location.

Dubdog's protest will be uploaded shortly.

Screenshots of silent protesters on

Dublog's annual 'This is what a year sounds like' for 2008 will appear here shortly. 

Friday 12 December 2008

No solution

I've just read a particularly weak entry from the usually pretty good Creative Review blog about the new McDonalds packaging graphics. Here's my response:

‘Going that extra mile’ on the bag in the last photo… when I spot that same bag decaying in a hedge a mile from the nearest drive thru I may raise an ironic smile. However, the packaging doesn’t get seen before the purchase so serves no purpose other than surface dressing. What a waste of ink on paper! It makes no attempt to address any of the problems of McDonald’s litter: now that really would be worth reporting. This is a missed opportunity and begs the question where is the design imagination? Why not take the opportunity to get consumers to dispose of their litter appropriately through graphics on the packaging? I can’t applaud graphics that make no attempt at solving a problem, this is just prettying up an existing one.


Thursday 11 December 2008

If I Woz A Tap Natch Poet

Linton Kwesi Johnson wishes he was a Tap Natch Poet on The Guardian website. You are Linton, you are. Well worth 3 minutes of your time.

Monday 8 December 2008

Government orders

Above: Front page of the Guardian today.

Below: Plane Stupid protesters obviously took David Miliband at his word.

Be careful what you ask for in future David.

Which side are you on?


Monday 1 December 2008

6 inches of Joy

The Joy of Living (featuring ex Bum Gravy drummer & protagonist Geoff Clark) release a CD on Stanley Donwood's new record label Six Inch Records.

Thursday 27 November 2008

R.I.P Alton

Having stopped getting the Guardian delivered everyday and not listening to much radio recently I've only just found out about the death of Alton Ellis. What a voice. R.I.P

Monday 24 November 2008


Got home from work today to find the David Byrne and Brian Eno collaboration "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today" laying on my doormat. I bought the download when it first came out a few months ago and forgot I'd opted for the physical copy as well. I primarily wanted the CD as well as the virtual version because Sagmeister Inc had done the artwork/packaging. The download version came with PDF artwork but these things are rarely satisfying, as Adrian Shaughnessy is fond of discussing.

Anyway, I was expecting a little more from Mr Sagmeister's studio as far as inventiveness for the download artwork. If anyone could tackle this design doldrum then Stefan should be able to realise a decent solution. Shame the print version is laid out in such a conventional way as well but this leads me to guess that it was one of Stefan's interns that worked on the piece. However, as far as the concept goes, it's dripping in irony. The so very naff 3D computer applications (3D Studio Max and the like) that generate this sort of imagery for creatively challenged architects to slap factory filters and renders on walls and other surfaces of their 'artist impressions' adds an eerie Stepford/Celebration, Florida aesthetic to all the images. This sits perfectly well with 'Home', the first track on the release. Of course, as you would expect from anything that comes out of Sagmeister Inc, the type is nice apart from the odd bit of poor kerning on the Byrne/Eno pages (which endorses my intern theory). Also, the print is a little subdued on the cover. The booklet is punchy for an uncoated stock. Either this cover is the runt of the print run or they used a different card stock to the booklet and hence the difference in ink saturation.

Anyway, less of the design diagnostic, what really struck me was the sticker on the cellophane. Great sticker. Excellent typography. Shame it's going to get ripped off and thrown away!

OK, so I appreciate it wasn't stuck directly on the cover and thus ruin the sleeve forever, but come on, I wanna keep the sticker. So a big decision followed. Do I tear the shrink wrap off to reveal the booklet and be able to listen to the superior quality of the CD over the mp3s version I downloaded, or do I leave it sealed and be content with the burnt copy I made? I fleetingly considered buying another copy but then realised that would just be too sad and decedent.

So I ripped it off. It was the only thing to do really and this is how I now know the difference in print quality between the cover and the guts.

And I'm glad I did. To touch a piece of print, to flick through a booklet, to sniff ink on uncoated stock is a much more satisfying experience than looking at a PDF on a screen.

But what to do with the sticker still sitting stuck onto the plastic wrap waiting to go into the recycling bin? Should I carefully cut out the little square of plastic it was stuck to and keep it with the CD? Or should I gingerly try peeling the sticker off, knowing that in the process I may rip it?

I took a risk.

I peeled.

It came off in one.

Now what to do with it? I didn't want to stick it onto the cover. I thought for a second or two and decided there was only one place it should go, and then thought to myself that that's where it should have been placed all along.

Oh the dilemmas of an anally retentive graphic designer and CD collector. Some one, please help me. My wife has so much to put up with!

Saturday 22 November 2008

Six Years: another pointless list

In renewing a work library book online the other day, I stumbled across a record of all the books I've borrowed from Suffolk College/University Campus Suffolk library in the last six years. Six years = my time as a lecturer in both Further and Higher Education. It includes the time I did my PGCE course and several videos I used to borrow every 4 weeks for a repeated teaching session. Fascinating only to me perhaps, but I thought I'd publish the 122 item list none-the-less:

How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul
Graphic agitation
The Storyboard design course
Picturing and poeting
Pause and effect
Saul Bass
Design issues
Graphic design as communication
Graphic agitation
No more rules
Transforming found objects into digital assemblage
The Culture show 24.11.07 & 08.12.07
This means this, this means that
Shock of the new
Designers are wankers
Why not associates
Consumption and everyday life
The ad factor
Design anarchy
Visual language
The ad factor
Onedott TV
The art of persuasion
Design studies
Motion graphics
How to fold
CD art
No brief
Typography now
The digital designer's Bible
The art of looking sideways
The best music CD art and design
Album cover album
Album cover album
Pen and mouse
Visual communication
Design anarchy
Hybrid imagery
Pen and mousey
Suffragettes to she-devils
Belleville rendezvous
The ad factor
Inside Saatchi and Saatchi
Business cards
Letterhead and logo design 8
How to get ahead in advertising
Structural package designs
Art of the advertisement (South Bank Show)
Smile i-D
Consolidated accession list no 47
The ad factor
Inside Saatchi and Saatchi
Creativity works
How to get ahead in advertising
Inside Saatchi and Saatchi
Art of the western world
All messed up
El Lissitzky
Josef Muller-Brockmann
The Typographic experiment
Ads infinitum - Soups/ food ; cleaning products and Oxo ; afternoon ads.
Inside Saatchi and Saatchi
Theory and practice of curruculum studies
Social change educational theory and curriculum planning
Curriculum studies and educational planning
Curriculum context
Knowledge and curriculum planning
Basic principles of curriculum and instruction
Developing a curriculum a practical guide
Curriculum beyond school
Icons of graphic design
Constructivist architecture in the ussr
Art is work
The art of looking sideways
D & AD 2003 showreel
Wolfgang Tillmans
Nosferatu 01/12/04
In America
Corporate Identity 4
Visible signs
Swiss graphic design
Creativity for graphic designers
Re-designing identity
Emotional digital
The Thames and Hudson dictionary of graphic design and designers
Josef Muller-Brockmann
How to do everything with Macromedia Flash 5
How to do everything with Macromedia Flash 5
Teach yourself Adobe Illustrator 10 in 24 hours
Owl who married a goose
The art of looking sideways
Teach yourself Macromedia Flash MX in 24 hours
Dreamweaver MX bible
Graphic agitation
How to fold
For a better world
Structural package designs
Successful IT projects in Excel

Wednesday 19 November 2008


This is me and Stoofer taken a couple of years ago and posted here in response to missing the call for photos of designers and their dogs on The Design Observer.

Thursday 13 November 2008

Overheard conversations #2

Over heard conversation in Norwich Waterfront toilet at a Half Man Half Biscuit gig last night: "This is the first gig I've been to in 15 years".
15 years. Fifteen years. FIFTEEN. One Five. Ten plus five. I'd have to be serving a serious prison sentence not to see a band in 15 years.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Dubdog gone

A big cock up by BT resulted in my Internet connection being disabled for over a week. Once the initial shock had subsided, I decided to treat it as an experiment. Luckily I could access some of my email accounts via WiFi at work and I also had access to the Internet there. But evenings and the weekend were the challenge. I've found that I've watched more films this week, learned the basics of a new computer application I've been meaning to get my head around for a while and I haven't burnt any food: no sneaking off to do a little surfing while I was waiting for the veg to steam. Also my back felt a little straighter from not sitting at a computer for too long and the RSI hasn't kicked in as much.

All in all, not a bad experience. I'd like to think that if civilization did completely collapse I'd be able to cope and at least I now know that I can live without my NewsFire feeds if I was forced to.

Thursday 23 October 2008


I don't know why, but my brother, or my sister, my memory is somewhat sketchy, bought my uncle a Dub LP. African Dub Almighty, Chapter 3 by Joe Gibbs and The Professionals. It must have been 1977 or '78, which would have made my uncle about 47. I would have been about 9. We used to go and visit my uncle, who lived with my grandmother in a council house in Rose Hill, just outside Carshalton in Surrey. He had lived there since my father's 4th birthday in 1933.

We didn't often listen to music when we were there. Outside my brother and sister, none of my family were big music lovers. My dad had a few classical LPs, a Bob Dylan compilation and several Jazz LPs, in particular Satchmo. My Dad did go out of his way to buy The Beatles Sgt Pepper when I was 6, I know not why, it was very uncharacteristic (not to mention several years after its initial release). From what I can remember, my uncle's tastes stretched to Armenian folk music and he would also leave Radio Three playing quietly, very quietly, on his bedroom radio all day. When you went upstairs in this tiny house you would wonder where the music was coming from; it was so quite as to defy directionality. He did, also, have a Woody Guthrie LP, Dust Bowl Ballards, that I really really got into later on in my teens. For some reason on a visit to our then home in Mansfield he bought a cassette of Hoagy Carmichael from a record shop in Chesterfield and left it behind. This, I also got into.

Anyway, I digress so early on. One time, we were paying a family visit to my grandmothers, or Nanna Dink as we called her due to being vertically challenged. My grandfather and my great aunts from my mother's side of the family came round as well, they only lived 5 minutes walk away. Their tiny front room now housed my grandmother, Mum, Dad, brother, sister, grandfather, two great aunts and myself, all dabbling in sherry and wine (excepting me, of course, only being 9 or so). There was possibly a girlfriend or boyfriend of my brother and sister included in the mix as well. My uncle, for some reason, decides to put on this Dub LP that one of my siblings bought him. Out of the speakers comes music I have never heard before. It was strange and mysterious. There were heavy bass lines, defined above all else. They were rock solid, carrying the music forward. There were occasional refrains of keyboard and guitar echoing in and out of the melee. There were electronic explosions, chicken caws and doorbells disappearing from the organised chaos as quickly as they arrived. And the weird percussive rhythm. I tried but failed to tap it out and but was instantly hooked. It didn't matter that to my young ears every track sounded the same. And I now believe my love of Dub was somehow sealed the minute my grandfather despaired with the refrain "call that music?"

The sleeve was so tempting as well. A red, black, green and gold illustration of two dreadlocked men walking through what looked like a market place with a red, gold and green border and clenched fists on the reverse. The information on the sleeve was confusing to me, which only added to the allure. Was the album called Chapter 3 and the band called African Dub or Almighty or visa versa? I couldn't work it out. I now know it was recorded by Joe Gibbs and the Professionals and is the best of the 4 African Dub LPs they cut in the 70s. Several years later, around the time my family got their first tape deck, I committed this LP to tape as I did the Woody Guthrie one. I had now learned a little more about reggae having honed my own teen tastes to the chart sounds of The Specials and The Beat. Later, I discovered the Clash, in particular Black Market Clash which contained Bankrobber and the still excellent Armagideon Time with extended Dub versions of both. And so my obsession grew, long before I ever smoked dope and it still continues to this day, long after I have given it up.

Dub reggae and socio/political American folk music. Two pretty good musical references to steer impressionable ears to I reckon.

'Desirable Ipswich' not an oxymoron shocker!

The words 'desirable' and 'Ipswich' don't often appear in the same sentence. But according to Channel 4 news earlier this week, Ipswich Quay is now a desirable place to live. Looking at the waterfront from the UCS building where I was teaching today, you can see why. Unfortunately it also happens to be one of the few vantage points where you can see the water for the yachts.

Sunday 19 October 2008


"Whenever possible we use renewable resources or we use wood that died naturally was felled by lightening or had to be removed due to road construction. Environmental concerns are always in the forefront at Washburn when building fine instruments."

Response after I queried where Washburn sourced their Mahogany from for a guitar I'm considering buying.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Do The Standing Still

Well, a friend joshed we must be the only people moving in the country and after several posts here mentioning our big upheaval, it's all fallen through. Several months of planning and less than two weeks away, the world financial situation scuppers a (albeit modest) dream to move near the Suffolk coast. And I was only designing our moving card last night. Here is a modified version of it (click on image to see clearer version). At least we still have a roof over our heads and jobs to pay for it. Better get on with the unpacking!

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Hue IQ

Test your colour IQ.
It aint easy. I scored 20 out of 99 (the lower the better) which is better than I anticipated.

Saturday 27 September 2008


Off to check out new stereos today. The old one has got to go. One channel on the amp repeatedly cuts out or breaks up, the speakers aren't the brightest around and every part is over 15 years old (excepting the tape deck and mini disk) if not more. We've had it cleaned out before but I really think it has now done it's time.

So, how do you buy a stereo? I've only ever acquired them before, always second hand; a friend of a friend is flogging an amp or someone moves out of shared housing and leaves behind some speakers etc. Having said that, the current set up is mostly my better half's. So, back to the buying, I've decided on a selection of CDs to take with me. Not sure what the shop assistants will make of my choice but I'm sure they've heard worse. I've chosen a range of styles and recording qualities to gauge the systems and separates I'll be listening to and this is what will be blasting out of electronic retailers around Ipswich later today:

Joe Gibbs and The Professionals - Almighty Dub Chapter Three (for the 70s dub production and sound FXs)
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Lie Down In The Light (for the clarity of the male/female vocal mix and for the folk)
Lou Reed - The Blue Mask (for the 80s production and the heaviness of the title track)
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La-Band - One Million Died To Make This Sound (for the mood and its lo-fi glory)
The Bug - London Zoo (for the deep bass, deep vocals and claustrophobic ambiance)
Leadbelly - C.C Rider (for the crackles)

I've rejected Fugazi and Bob Dylan and narrowly avoided taking some Bum Gravy, the ultimate in shit production.

The only thing missing is classical but that is for musical snobs and elitists and I'm unlikely to ever want to listen to any unless it is accompanying a nice advert on the TV.

Still deciding whether to get a turntable or store the vinyl when we move.

Friday 26 September 2008


It's been a crazy busy week. Got my first look in the new University Campus Suffolk Waterfront Building on Monday and then spent everyday except today in there begging rooms to induct new and returning students. It's looking good.
Also been busy planning some lectures for next week and dealing with loads and loads of admin.

In the great house move scheme of things got rid of our piano last night and although I tried not to, ended up giving the people that came to pick it up a hand. An old friend/band acquaintance turned up to help them take it away (coincidence) and it's the first time I've seen someone prepare for piano removal by wearing flip flops!
Another old friend phoned and as we hadn't spoken for two years it was a long call. Great to hear from him.
Saw some friends last Sunday and went to a Polish festival in one of Ipswich's many parks and watched the Warsaw Village Band who were fantastic. Thanks for the tip off Kelvin and it was great to see you all.

Down point of the week, I unfortunately had to pull out of a Pindown gig. It was scheduled for late October in Colchester, the same week I'm going to move house. Too much on at the moment to concentrate on rehearsing. Number one priority: keep sanity intact! We will play again however, and hopefully showcase some of Jason's new clothes I've heard he's been buying!

TV On The Radio and Mogwai's new albums have been helping me to keep on top of it all.

Wednesday 17 September 2008


My submission for an exhibition themed on CMYK with the outcome resulting in an A2 poster of one of my initial ideas. Text at bottom of poster reads:

'I love print. A screen can never match the tactile nature of paper or the smell of fresh CMYK on uncoated stock. Twelve years of working in the print industry leaves an impression you know. Not to mention that my grandfather was a printer and that my father, a photographer by trade, started and ended his career working in print. I sometimes feel I must have Pantone 1807c running through my veins. I can’t walk into a print shop now without my heart beating a little faster and I’m not ashamed to admit I get a little giddy when the smell of ink that pervades the air hits my nostrils. It’s the best smell in the world, fresh cut grass and ground coffee don’t come anywhere near. I am a self confessed print sniffer! CMYK is my DNA.
Nigel Ball, 2008 – after Milton Glaser.'

Link to previous dublog post on subject.

The mirror man

Just returned home from a very civilized works social. Lovely homemade food, wine and tea from teapots laid out in what is usually an exhibition cum teaching space with small tables adorned by plastic beakers of carnations. Joshing with colleagues about politely drinking tea out of cups with saucers while outside society collapses, I return home and check Newsfire to discover a Noisy Decent Graphics post today discussing the uselessness of saucers, and that The Design Observer has a post about Lehman's Bankruptcy Statement. I'm starting to get a little worried that my life is becoming an offline blog post where my comments and thoughts and activities mirror other peoples online activity. I'm sure there's some SciFi feature in this somewhere.

Sunday 7 September 2008


With an imminent house move coming up we've been Freecycling like crazy but alas we can't help this person who wants baby muslims!

Sunday 24 August 2008

If you go down to the beach

Yesterday I went to the private view of Purple Snail's latest exhibition, titled 100:50. This, their third exhibition, is a break from previous shows where each of the Snail's exhibited their own work in a gallery, (I say gallery, but in fact it was actually a tea room on Felixstowe prom!) This time they've collectively created an installation on Felixstowe beach to highlight the plight of global warning. If you're in the area it's well worth a look. Head for the Spa Pavilion and you won't fail to see them. Especially at night as it lights up. Unfortunately I had another engagement to attend so couldn't stick around to see them illuminated, but there's a photo on their blog which looks pretty impressive. I'll certainly be heading back one evening when I've more time.

I did stick around to be served a complimentary glass of bubbly and a free ice cream from the van they had organized. Two firsts for me, not only have I never been given a 99 at a private view before but I also have never seen Mr Whippy in a Clash T-shirt! I don't think Strummer had ice cream in mind when he wrote White Riot but I might be wrong.

The exhibition runs until the 15th September, and while you're there you can book tickets for Chas and Dave at the Pavilion.

Saturday 23 August 2008

Prepare to die

Had a look at ages ago. Reading Bill Drummond's 17 reminded me that it existed so I decided I ought to post my wishes.

Wednesday 13 August 2008


Listening to the great Bill Drummond on 6Music this morning made me go looking for his book '45' on my shelves. It's not there. This can only mean I've lent it to someone. I lend stuff all the time and often it doesn't come back. Not through any willful thieving nature on the part of the borrower, more just forgetfulness brought on by our busy lives. I also forget who I've lent stuff to.

I'm equally as bad. I have several DVDs here, (Sin City - Simon A, Sopranos, Night of the Living Dead - Ken, amongst others) that I keep forgetting to return. In fact, I got out Sin City last time Simon came over to return to him but we got so drunk it stayed on top of the piano where I'd put it!

So, as I'm about to buy Bill Drummonds new book '17', if I've lent '45' to any of my regular readers could you remind me who you are. You can hang on to it if you still haven't read it but I'd just like to know it's safe.

BTW, howies, the 3rd biggest clothing company in Cardigan Bay, run their own book and magazine lending service. More details here. And on that note, I'm now off to Ipswich Town Centre Library to peruse their extensive CD collection.

Bill Drummond's website, Penkiln Burn.

Sunday 10 August 2008

C30 C60 C90 Go!

It's a stupid time to think about moving house in the run up to a recession I know. But when something comes on the market that you've been coveting for a while in a location less than one mile from one of your favorite places, an isolated and wild stretch of the Suffolk coast, a place where you've spent summer holidays, wedding anniversaries and countless days out, it's an opportunity too good not to follow up. So as a result I've been doing a little de-cluttering as the house is slightly smaller than the one we currently live in. I took to this process earlier this year for a different reason and either recycled, free-cycled or took stuff I no longer wanted to charity shops.

However, there was little chance of anyone wanting my cassettes in this digital age and our local council won't recycle this sort of plastic, it being too brittle to do anything with. So, unfortunately, I've had to throw them away. Funny, because I was burgled when I lived in Colchester many years ago and I was gutted that the person that broke into my home stole my cassettes. I had so few possessions then, the friend I shared with and I only had a portable black and white TV and a cobbled together stereo system. I guess when the thief searched for stuff to punt on he was disappointed that we had so little and took what he could carry, which other than my extensive tape collection included a tape deck, an amp and my hair clippers. Ironically, he also took the only item of self-defense I kept in the house, an aluminum baseball bat.

I was most annoyed by the loss of the tapes at the time as many of them were irreplaceable; a fair number were of albums that had been deleted, there was a collection of edited John Peel shows, stuff that I'd taped off people I no longer knew and most importantly the only copies in existence of music I'd made. Luckily, or so I thought when I first heard the news, the police caught the guy. When they raided his flat to search for evidence from another burglary, they found all our gear. He had the stereo equipment set up in his flat and all my tapes scattered round. So, I eagerly signed for and bundled all our possessions in to the back of a car, under strict instructions by the police that this was the one and only journey I was to make with the baseball bat in the car, and drove home looking forward to setting the stereo up and listening to some of my tapes. On settling down to an evening of reacquainting myself with the lost sounds, I found the burglar had taped over much of the material with very poor, sub Tim Westward, late night weekday Radio One. What a complete and utter Bastard.

In those days there were times in my life when I had so little money that when I found a new piece of music I wanted to commit to tape, I would trawl through my collection and decide what, if anything, I would be prepared to record over, sticking little bits of masking tape over the protection holes to enable me to do so. To go through all this and then to decide to throw away all these cassettes seems like a travesty, but I haven't listened to them in years, and this seems even more of a travesty. They had been sitting in a cupboard collecting dust, forgotten until now. Many of the albums, the really special ones, have since been bought or burnt to CD. And like I said, we need to de-clutter. So another break with the past. I recycled the card inlays, naturally, and obviously kept the dub and reggae tapes, but past that I'm afraid to say that a large chunk of my listening past has been redirected to a landfill site. I'm not proud to admit it, but it's done now.

Tuesday 29 July 2008

Saturday 26 July 2008


Adam Ant was so wrong when he declared that "ridicule is nothing to be scared of": it can be an effective weapon in an anti-fascist's armory, as you can read in a recent posting about a BNP gathering on the new Chumbawamba weblog. Very funny.

Wednesday 23 July 2008

Font personalities

What personalities do individual fonts have? Watch the video of a font conference here.

Tuesday 22 July 2008


Award for most inventive protest method goes today to the man who tried to glue himself to Gordon Brown as a protest against airport expansion.

Monday 21 July 2008

Eclectic electric

Above: Henry Homesweet playing at his CD launch party on Friday 18th July in Ipswich.

The evening kicked off with a rousing set by Jack Rundell. Placing his microphone stand in the middle of the dance floor he set about making anyone who walked past him on route to the garden feel decidedly awkward as he wielded his guitar around the room within inches of carefully carried pints. Brow beating all 15 of us who weren't socializing outside into submission, he was warm and funny and extremely enthusiastic. He had even handwritten and photocopied the chorus to his last song to encourage a sing-a-long which several brave souls threw themselves into. This was the most traditional the evening got.

The venue was packed with 17/19 year olds who were only really interested in seeing Henry Homesweet and ElectronicMess and their chiptune nonsense. When both those 'bands' came on, the garden emptied of these young smokers with their iron lungs and dayglo T-shirts and baggy tight jeans (an oxymoron you may think, but no, they manage it somehow). Personally I can't see any longevity to what either HH or EM are doing but who said that should be a criteria when deciding what has merit and what doesn't. My main gripe is that there isn't much of a concept to this music past its lo-fi techno amusement value, but no doubt musick journalists will be raving about it being the next big thing because the kids are down with it, ever desperate not to miss a bandwagon to jump on. And the kids are most certainly down with it.

Despite reservations though, I did enjoy both Henry Homesweet and ElectronicMess although on the night I could be found blabbering in a drunken manner, "where's the fucking hi and lo end", it all being mid range computer bleep gabba with the odd bit of atmospheric synthesizer washes thrown in for 'lighter in the air' effect. More glitch and sonic overload would satisfy my personal tastes, haven't these people heard of Aphex Twin? Trouble is, 17 year olds today are so used to listening to music through shit speakers; either mobile phone or on computers, that I'm sure they don't realise there's a whole range of frequencies they've never experienced. Pindown tried to put this right when we took to the stage, instantly clearing the venue into the garden excepting the oldies that had turned up to see us. About 20 in number, they clapped after every song just like a proper audience. 6 songs later and my voice was officially fucked but the projections seemed to work which was a relief as I had only got them together the previous week. And despite my quip that I wasn't going to do any between song banter, Jason and I even joked on stage about forgetting the lino for the breakdancing section of the set which created mild amusement. I think the comedy routine is a little way off perfecting as yet although some would say the idea of two balding 40 year olds playing shouty sampled electronic industrial noise is a bit of a joke in itself.

Thanks to Roki, the PA guy and those that turned up to see us. See you in another 8 years! Also a big thanks to Mr Technical Thug for the lend of the projector and for supplying some footage for me to butcher.

For Jason's take on the night see the Pindown MySpace blog.
For a copy of Palm Trance, Henry Homesweet's CD, see Antigen Records MySpace page.

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Friday 11 July 2008


After taking a photo of students wearing their print knowledge on their sleeves, the UCS graphics lecturing team decided to set a show in September with a CMYK theme. Sitting at my desk contemplating this, I noticed CMYK staring me in the face in the shape of a David Shrigley postcard, a timetable marked with highlighter pen, a D&AD badge and a postcard that follows me to every workplace.

Below: Students decked out in four colour process.

Sedum de dum de done

The roof of Ipswich's new University is now covered in Sedum. See previous post.


There goes the Illuminated graffiti.

Wednesday 9 July 2008