Sunday, 30 September 2012


Emerson Lake & Palmer Tarkus inner gatefold an example of the often never seen and little appreciated inner gatefold. With the arrival of the CD the gatefold declined, mores the pity. Here are some examples of the art of the inside.
Dark Side of the moon Pink Floyd
Slade Alive
 Wings over America
Yes Close to the edge
Psychedelic Furs Forever Now
Roxy Music For Your Pleasure
Included in the gatefold for Alice Cooper Billion Dollar babies
 Cream Goodbye
King Crimson Starless
ELO Out of the blue
Grace Jones Island Life

Further reading:

Saturday, 29 September 2012


Barney Bubbles created record sleeve art that spanned generations and musical trends always with a lean towards the independent music scene and with a political ethos inherent in his work. A great British Album Cover Artist who excelled with his poster design Single sleeves and multi media work.
further reading-

Thursday, 27 September 2012


The great British album cover. Designers photographers and artists as diverse as Hipgnosis, Barney Bubbles, Roger Dean, Jamie Reid,Guy Peelaert and Pete Saville have created, over the years, album covers that define and compliment the music within. This is no easy task and hard to define why a particular image works hand in glove with the ethos of the band/singer and the music within. When it works it is often simply a happy accident but those happy accidents were used to create iconic images. The art of the album cover is now something of a relic of a bygone age as CDs and downloads lead the market.
Unlike the other great movement in record sleeve art; the brilliant Blue note record sleeves from across the Atlantic, the British music scene and the art that it created has some diverse and interesting works to be enjoyed and appreciated for the impact the sleeves gave to both the record buying public and the musicians who benefited from the iconography.

A new band lineup and a new cover that somehow made the fantasy/mysticism 
of Roger Dean look fresh
A striking alien image that set the tone perfectly for Bowie's next career phase
An intricate multi layered cover for Elvis Costello and the Attractions' Armed Forces that reflected the complexity of the lyrical messages within
The Clash's blistering debut album had a cover that captured the urban confrontational context of the band
The cover of Unknown pleasures by Joy Division hinted at just that; unknown
 pleasures within?
How to follow up Dark side of the Moon? Wish you were here successfully managed the impossible and the oblique nature of the music was matched by Hipgnosis' cover art
The Smiths' record covers were masterpieces of capturing Britishness and this image of  a young Yootha Joyce tells a story, albeit subtlety
The maelstrom of the Happy Mondays in design form

The Rolling Stones as feted heroes arriving at the feast; a perfect summation of there power at the time
Marc Bolan in grainy relief with an amp for company giving a feel of raw power

A simple group portrait that is so much more, defining the fab four
Britain at the time that Parklife was released is somehow encapsulated by this image
Possibly the greatest team up of music and art both image and music matching up exactly
The high faluting aesthetic of Spandau Ballet captured in this image before they became a fine pop band

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Far better than it was expected to be. A kitchen sink style story of fame with the acting of the members of Slade a revelation

Going to the cinema as a kid often involved 'bunking in' to the local fleapit to see an X or an AA film. The Holloway Odeon, The Holloway ABC and cinema's that no longer exist on Essex Road and The Angel. At that time in cinema history there was the beginning of a great era in film, an era of Coppola and Scorsese, Spielberg and Allen and many more. My early cinema going experiences were characterised by a mixture of British movies, pop star vehicles, Kung Fu, War Movies and the controversial. Here's a visual representation of those early movie going experiences.

One of those films that everyone was talking about and certainly had a 'must see' appeal

 Making the case for the Mosquito as being WWII's most underrated airplane

The movie that created a wave of nostalgia; not least with TV's Happy days riding that wave
An overlooked Disney animation that is stylistically a cross between The Jungle Book and 101 Dalmations
Famous, or should I say infamous movie that was worth kudos if actually seen before Kubrick pulled the plug
The creation of the perfect anti hero for the times
Hammer for the young and groovy (featuring the legendary Caroline Munro)
So important as a film about contemporary Britain was Kes that it was shown in my School. So good was Kes that us School boys enjoyed every minute
My least favourite Bond Roger Moore debuted in this blaxploitation tinged adventure (yes Caroline Munro was also in this)
Gritty was the word for this very British revenge tale with Michael Caine on top form
One of many Sit-com movies of questionable quality that I went to see
A challenging movie for a young man, or for any age group but a memorable cinematic experience
We all went to see Tommy and it was probably the first musical that many saw on the big screen.
A film that captured the essence of Bruce Lee's charisma and the genre he created. It was to have been the English language hit that would take him beyond cult status
A tragic tale of success and excess which was a counterpoint to the earlier That'll be the day.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


The Phoenix Cinema in North Finchley is a lovely old picture palace a short journey away on the Northern Line. On Thursdays they show a Classic Movie at 11:00am; a chance to have an early viewing of one of the great movies that may only have been viewed on the small screen in an appreciative atmosphere. Last Thursday the classic was Angels with Dirty Faces, one of the group of Cagney Movies that form a divine selection. The Roaring Twenties, The Public Enemy, White Heat and Each Dawn I die are the other films that make up Cagney's gangster quintet.

The story of Rocky Sullivan and Jerry Conolly is a morality tale about good and evil and paths taken. Rocky enters the criminal world by way of saving his friend Jerry and inevitably is undone because he saves Jerry, now a priest, from being murdered. Rocky's relationship with a gang of local boys, The Dead End Kids is one of an idol and his admirers. In the scenes between Rocky and the kids we are treated to a charismatic and dynamic Cagney, verbally and physically jousting.

Edmund O'Brien and Humphrey Bogart are also excellent as a kind of Yin and Yang in Rocky's life and an underused Ann Sheridan plays a spirited love interest.

The use of sweeping establishing shots and Newspaper headlines is used effectively at the start of the movie and throughout montage is employed to great effect. Cinematically it has a lot of class and the director Michael Curtiz's work on the film is rather underrated.

The question that remains for any viewer of Angels is that of Cagney's death scene. Sentenced to the electric chair a defiant Rocky turns into a snivelling coward. Is this at the request of Father Jerry in order to dissuade hero worship or does Rocky genuinely lose his resolve? No one knows and that adds to the enigmatic nature of Rocky Sullivan; Kind hearted, humorous yet a cold blooded killer.

Angels with Dirty Faces is part of the anti crime message genre yet shows it's anti hero in a sympathetic light; that of a boy who couldn't run as fast as his friend and therefore doomed to enter the world of crime and never get out alive.