Thursday 26 February 2009

Best dressed chicken

As I wrote here last year, one of my early musical influences was dub reggae and I cited the very specific moment I can remember first hearing it. Many of the sleeves of the reggae records/CDs I've collected in the last 40 years have never really done the music justice. Some rereleases have managed to address this with the opportunity to completely overhaul the visuals of many important records. The Blood and Fire rereleases designed by London's Intro in the mid 1990s were very good, with a particularly excellent repackaging of the Congos' Heart of the Congo. The original sleeve (a photo of the band playing some congos, not exactly taxing the imagination, is it?) can be seen centred, in homage, in an elaborate 3D collage of found material and different collages representative of each track title adorn the accompanying booklet.

The Congos' Heart Of The Congo, rereleased on Blood and Fire.

Lots of the original Jamaican sleeves are bizarre, often over egging an idea with very staged photo shoots. Many feature cliché ridden embellished drawings and there is an unintended high 'cheese' element apparent on numerous releases. Despite this, I have come to love these sleeves, particularly the ones that are just outright funny and have a more natural, carefree feel. An excellent example of this can be seen in the infamous Dr Alimantado's Best Dressed Chicken in Town. A fantastic LP and a great sleeve.

I mean, come on, do your flies up man!

With all this in mind, I've just read a great article on's blog analyzing the design of 42 reggae album covers. Despite the author's dissing of dub and the fact he has never listened to Linton Kwesi Johnson, it's well worth a read and has two links to reggae sleeve flickr sets, here and here.

Thursday 19 February 2009

One flag

Adbusters have selected 32 finalists for their One Flag design competition. Vote for your favorite here.

Monday 16 February 2009

Hinge and blogit

Walking to the post office after work today I saw this amazing hinge on a church door that I had previously ignored.


Airplot - join the plot

Click on the above image to get into bed with Emma Thompson and Alistair McGowan, figuratively speaking of course. It costs nothing to become a beneficial owner of a plot of land directly in the flight path of the proposed new Heathrow runway.

Tuesday 10 February 2009

D Day

To celebrate Darwin Day on 12th February 2009, the British Humanist Association have rolled out these witty typographic posters designed by Blast.

Rising tide

Purple Snail, who created the art instillation on Felixstowe beach last year to highlight the threat of rising sea levels, have created an education pack of the site specific exhibition. The pack details the journey they took to create the piece of work and discusses its environmental message. A PDF of the pack can be downloaded from their website here. My review of the private view in August 08 can be read here.

Friday 6 February 2009

Omnipresent omnibus

As a Christian group roll out their response to the Atheist Bus campaign, there is now an online bus slogan generator for you to pitch in with your own maxims.

The British Humanist Association responds to the pro-god advert amicably.

Tuesday 3 February 2009

Tainted love

Malcolm Garrett's Buzzcocks' logo still looks great. I was nearly tempted to buy an 'Orgasm Addict' T-Shirt that faithfully rendered Garrett's 7" sleeve collage but thankfully resisted. As for the gig, while it was good to hear Pete Shelley's vocals live and see (half of) the Buzzcocks (and two session musicians) play a faithful rendition of their (fantastic) first two albums, Steve Diggle acted like a complete wanker. A rock star wannabe, the antithesis of what the Buzzcocks were originally all about. I always loved the subtext to Shelley's love songs, teenage gay angst perfectly captured, tense, terse and questioning, but unfortunately Diggle came over all testosterone and Pete Townsend like, throwing his microphone into the crowd at the end of the set baiting the middle aged audience with shouts of 'anarchy.' What a cock.