Monday 25 October 2010

Thursday 21 October 2010

RIP it Up

I was saddened to hear today of Ari Up's death. The Slits were an important band, and only partly for their music. They gave punk an authentic female angle and a spirit that embraced 'crusty' long before that scene ever existed. Like many bands, they got worse the better they learnt how to play their instruments, (now that's a blog post list in waiting), but when they burned bright, they were truly brilliant. All you need is Cut, their fantastic first album. And their rendition of Heard It Through The Grapevine. When I found that 7", backing Typical Girls, at a car boot sale about 12 years ago, I played it back to back all day when I got it home. Although I'd heard it before, I felt like I was discovering music again. Took me back to when I heard the Buzzcocks Spiral Scratch EP for the first time at the tender age of 15 and the excitement it gave me. Grapevine would be on my desert island disc list.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

I wanted to go to Chelsea

I spent the day in London today visiting 'must see' exhibitions with UCS graphic design students. I ended up at Tate Britain checking out the Muybridge show which I found much more engaging than I thought I would, but the main attraction was Process: The Working Practices of Barney Bubbles.

For those that don't know, Barney Bubbles created many of the sleeves for punk and post-punk pop favourites such as The Damned, Generation X, Ian Dury and The Blockheads, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Nick Lowe, and was Stiff Records' designer in residence. Before this he had a history of designing record sleeves for Glastonbury Festival and Hawkwind, as well as creating light shows for Pink Floyd, which is where his name was coined, as he mixed oil, water and ink and projected this to form psychedelic 'bubble' back drops for live shows.

It is only in the last few years that he has been getting much deserved recognition as he preferred anonymity to fame during his working lifetime, with much of his work going unsigned. 27 years after his death, with Paul Gorman's excellent 'Reasons To Be Cheerful' biography (2008), and this show, Barney Bubbles is finally being seen as a hugely important figure in the history of graphic design.

Paul Gorman was on site this morning and together with Donald Smith, Director of Exhibitions at Chelsea Space, kindly gave an introduction to Barney's working life and practices to students. The show was put together on the basis that most of the finished outcomes, (the products) were displayed along the entrance ramp, with the focus being squarely placed on Bubbles working methods. Sketches, Letraset and Rotring artwork, overlays of tracing paper with notes to printers and PMTs were all given pride of place. Students were amazed, enthralled and daunted in equal measures by the fact all the artwork was produced by hand - Barney committed suicide 2 weeks before the introduction of the Apple Mac in 1983.

The show unfortunately finishes this coming Saturday (23 Oct) but find below more images and links to Paul Gorman's blog, the Chelsea Space website, and unusually for Dublog, a link to Amazon for Reasons To Be Cheerful book; go buy it.

I look forward to the coming weeks where this exhibition will form much debate and discussion among students about process on display, ideas informing application, application informing ideas, and old school design methods.

Barney Bubbles blog
Chelsea Space
Chelsea Space 'Process' images
Reasons To Be Cheerful biography

Thursday 14 October 2010

Good fucking design advice

Loving this: Good fucking design advice

Agit mail

This week, on the same day, I received 2 pieces of communication via snail mail and email from friends both stating that they saw these and thought of me. Not sure what that says about me, or them.

This postcard came from the William Morris house and gallery in Walthamstow and is self explanatory. Thanks Dan.

The second item came from my friend Liz, who titled it Westminster Dicks. Thanks Liz.

Mentor 1930

Monday 4 October 2010


I'm one step closer to adding a publishing wing to Dubdog as I received my ISBN prefix through today. I've never, ever been so excited about numbers as I was when I got the email earlier today, being math phobic as I am. I now have an Excel file, (something else that is rare) with 10 shiny ISBN numbers awaiting something to be attached to them.

Next up is registering with Nielsen's online publishing service, which carries a 5 day wait, so I can register the paperback version of McJunk with its own ISBN.

As for the book itself, I've been refining the introduction again. It was my colleague Dave who told me that 'writing is rewriting', and how true he is. It is definitely improving with each draft and I'm pretty much there with most of it, except for the last paragraph that is. This I'm really not happy with at the moment but I'm fairly certain I'm within grasp of nailing it.

Lastly, I imported the text into the InDesign file yesterday and was relieved that the text still fits the space allocated for it despite these umpteen rewrites.