Kubrick, Kunz and Quant in London

Last weekend I did the rounds of some current and newly-opened exhibitions in London, Stanley Kubrick at the Design Museum, Emma Kunz at The Serpentine and Mary Quant at the V&A.

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I wouldn’t call myself a Kubrick fan particularly but I’ve always been drawn to the design and imagery in 2001 and A Clockwork Orange in particular and this exhibition doesn’t disappoint on those fronts with many examples of props, artwork and ephemera associated with the films on display at close quarters. Philip Castle‘s airbrush paintings and foreign logo designs are a treat as are the Allan Jones-esque Korova Milk Bar figures and Droog costume.

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If you’re a Kubrick fan who hasn’t visited his archive I’d say there is probably everything you could want here. It was particularly nice to view Saul Bass’ concepts for The Shining poster up close complete with letters to Kubrick and the latter’s rejection comments.

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Emma Kunz was a wild card, I’d never heard of her but seen the work online and decided to give it a go as I was nearby. Not hugely impressive technically and with little to explain what and why she’d chosen to make these drawings with the most perfunctory titles, I was a little underwhelmed. The art was very hard to photograph in the light of the Serpentine so don’t take these as the complete picture.

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For Mary Quant I went for the packaging and graphics more than the clothes (although plenty were to my taste). The slightly confusing layout of the exhibits took some navigating if you wanted a chronological experience but the display design was excellent. I left wanting just a bit more than was on display and if this had been coupled with the content of the recent Fashion & Textlie Museum contents along similar lines then I think it would have felt more fulfilling.

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Delaware Road festival updates

The Delaware Road event in August continues to ramp up the line up as word gets around about it with more announcements to come. This will be a truly unique event, the likes of which haven’t been seen on this scale before. Transplant yourself to a secluded army base in the middle of the Salisbury countryside for over 12 hours of sonic, audio visual and performance-based adventures in sight and sound with a who’s who of the current crop of leftfield electronic, weird, and experimental practitioners working on the margins today. Buried Treasure, the label who hosted the last two experiences, have put together a mix showcasing some of the acts playing.

Tickets are available for the event, including group and camping options and follow the Facebook event for updates and competitions to win tickets and packages of merch from some of the featured acts and labels.

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Victor Vasarely retrospective at the Pompidou Centre, Paris

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The highlight of my recent trip to Paris to play at the Ping Pong 20th anniversary party was a trip to the Pompidou Centre to bask in the first major Victor Vasarely retrospective. A comprehensive overview of his work was on display, from earliest experiments through to his breakthrough op art achievements. Whilst a lot of his large scale work wasn’t present there were some 300 pieces to admire including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, prints, logos, textiles and more. The final room was particularly good with very low light and excellent lighting that picked out the paintings in a glow that seemed to make them radiate and become even more three dimensional. The level of skill and draughtsmanship on display was incredible and I’d highly recommend a day trip over before it finishes in May, the book shop at the end is something else too, take lots of money and a strong bag is all I can say!

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Kofie 1 at Stolen Space

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I’m playing catch up after getting a new computer and all the hassle that entails so forgive me because this exhibition has already passed. Augustine Kofie‘s first solo show in London was at the Stolen Space gallery in East London this February. He’s already had work featured as part of group shows over the years but this is his first one-man outing. Shown are a selection of his collage pieces including details. These formed only a small part of the work as there were some newer pieces that seek to achieve the same effect as these but solely with paint. This was a new direction that I’d not seen before and, while technically brilliant, they seemed to lack something that these works contain. Maybe the layering, textures and grit is what I like in his work, the sampling of old material to build the structures he makes, but the newer painting held less for me than these assemblages. The show may be over but Stolen Space have a print available if you’d like a souvenir of his visit to these shores as well as some originals if you have deep pockets.

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Sister Corita Kent exhibition, London

SCK 2The new Sister Corita Kent exhibition has been on at the House of Illustration in Kings X now for a month, expanded from the version shown in Ditchling last year. It’s still small but packed with lots of beautiful prints, books, posters and ephemera that she created during her lifetime both in and outside of the church. I urge you to go and see these beautiful prints in the flesh and pick up a free copy of her ‘rules’ taken from an art department classroom.

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20 years of Ping Pong, Paris

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I’m doing a special gig in Paris on March 15th – DJing on a mega line up to celebrate 20 years of Ping Pong, the promotion agency headed by Fred/Jais Elalouf aka DJ Oof of Cinemix fame who has worked with Ninja Tune for two decades now. Oof is also the collector and curator of the Psychedelic Art Centre and there will be an exhibition of works featured for six weeks to launch the special issue of Perfect Bliss, the new Graph Zine and review which comes with stereoscopic glasses for 3D.

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Rick Griffin x Dr Martens

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I have to say, I didn’t see this coming and, while I welcome any new (official) merch with Rick Griffin artwork on it, I’m not sure what the connection with Dr Martens is? Two boots, two T-shirts and a rucksack feature both colour and B&W artwork by Griffin from his 70s heyday including plenty of flying eyeballs. The boots are around £140 and the T’s £30, available now online or in Dr Marten stores.
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RIP Ron Smith

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Ron Smith – one of the original golden era 2000AD greats has passed away. I never quite appreciated how deft his line work was until later but he had a hand in many classic Judge Dredd stories based around crime in Mega City One (Otto Sump, Chopper, Fatties, etc.) as well as plenty of the Judge Child saga and The Angel Gang.

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2018 – a vintage year for new music

It’s the end of the year and reading down the list of sounds that have moved me most in 2018 I’m struck by how much new music there is after years of digging a lot of reissues over current styles. This may well be because the well is finally running dry on a lot of the stuff I’m interested in but more likely that the old adage of great music being made in times of great strife is coming home to roost again. There is no order to the lists below, no No.1 or ‘best’ of anything although they are mostly chronological as I write stuff down as I hear or see it.

Special mentions though for the Castles In Space label that continues to go from strength to strength, the Confidence Man album which got a lot of play despite me missing them live twice. Trevor Jackson‘s beautiful design for his ‘System’ CD and cassette, so good I bought it three times, The Advisory Circle‘s ‘Ways Of Seeing’ LP and the Tomorrow Syndicate‘s excellent ‘Future Tense’ album, complete with Nick Taylor artwork.

Supporting both The The (on several UK dates) and the Art Of Noise was the stuff of teenage dreams and the former’s biography by Neil Fraser is a fascinating read. The Karminsky Experience Inc.’s ‘See Inside’ VR single was a genuinely eye-opening experience and having them and Markey Funk down at Further was a treat. Walking into the House of Illustration‘s John Vernon Lord exhibition to be unexpectedly confronted with the original drawing of his 1966 masterpiece, ‘Beneath The Tree’, was the art high of the year and the People’s Vote march in October restored my faith in humanity for an afternoon. Electronic Sound magazine continues to excel and their first LP release, Jack Dangers‘ remix of Terry Riley‘s ‘In C’, was another disc that saw a lot of play this year.

On Dec 23rd I played a lot of my favourite releases of 2018 on WNBC‘s Out Of The Wood show which you can hear below, complete with mic. fluffs and wrong track listings.

As we go into 2019 I’m dreading the first three months, leading up to the Br*x*t deadline, hoping against hope for a last minute chance to reconsider but bracing for a fallout post 29/03/19 that could see chaos come to the UK. I hope that I’m writing a more positive missive this time next year, if not then at least the music will only get better and better…

Music 2Music / chat:
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside 7″ (Patterns of Behaviour)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup LP (Flightless)
Beautify Junkyards – The Invisible Worlds of LP (Ghost Box)
Basil Kirchin – I Start Counting LP (Trunk)
Bigmouth podcast (Audioboom)
The Turbans – Baba Ganooz 7″ (Mona Tone/Delights)
Cavern Of Anti-Matter – Hormone Lemonade LP (Duophonic)
The Advisory Circle – Ways Of Seeing LP (Ghost Box)
Janelle Monae – Make Me Feel (single) (Wondaland)
Confidence Man – Confident Music For Confident People LP (Heavenly)
Concretism – For Concrete & Country LP (Castles In Space)
Trevor Jackson – System CD (Pre_)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Future Tense LP (Polytechnic Youth)
Chaka Khan – Like Sugar (single) (Dairy)
Jonny Trunk – OST show (Resonance FM)
Regal Worm – Pig Views / Use And Ornament (Uranium Club)
Meat Beat Manifesto vs Terry Riley – In C (Electronic Sound)
Patrick R. Park – Library Sounds LP (Castles In Space)
David Shire – The Conversation LP (Trunk)
Amgala Temple – Invisible Airships LP (Pekula)
Adam Buxton podcast
Type 303 – The New Ravelution EP (Insult To Injury)
Luke Vibert – 165 303 – from the Gradients vol.2 LP (Astrophonica)
Luke Vibert presents Garave vol.1 LP (Hypercolour)
Kosmischer Laufer – Vol.4 LP (UCR)

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Packaging / design:
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside VR glasses (Patterns of Behaviour)
Chop – CDL 10″ (Drumetrics)
Concretism – For Concrete & Country LP (2nd edition) (Castles In Space)
Trevor Jackson – System 1st & 2nd edition CD + Cassette (Pre_)
Sculpture – Nearest Neighbour Cassette & comic (Tapebox)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Future Tense Regular + Ltd Ed. LP (Polytechnic Youth)
Spider Jazz – splatter vinyl edition LP (Trunk)
Spun Out Of Control vinyl + cassettes
Aver – River of Ice Cream 7″ promo flexi disc
Listening Centre 5″ lathe cut picture disc (Polytechnic Youth)

Packaging design

Books/Comics:
VS – Ivan Brandon / Eric Ribic (Image)
A Year In The Country ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ – Stephen Prince
The Adventures of Jodelle – Guy Peellhaert (Fantagraphics)
Batman – White Knight  – Sean Murphy (DC)
Orla Kiely – A Life In Pattern (Octopus Books)
Electronic Sound magazine
Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music – David Hollander (Anthology Editions)
House Industries – The Process Is The Inspiration (Watson-Guptill Publications)
Sculpture – Nearest Neighbour comic (Tapebox)
Proxima Centuri – Farel Dalrymple (Image)
Doomsday Clock – Geoff Johns / Gary Frank (DC)
Saga – Brian K. Vaughn / Fiona Staples (Image)
Long Shadows, High Hopes – Neil Fraser (Omnibus Press)
Judge Dredd – The Small House (Rob Williams & Henry Flint) (2000AD/Rebellion)
Lawless  – Dan Abnett / Phil Winslade (Judge Dredd Megazine/Rebellion)
Pete Fowler – Decades of Lead (Unbound)
Diary of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell (Profile books)

Books + comics

Film/TV:
Inside No.9 series 4 + Halloween special
The Inertia Variations documentary
Flowers series 2
Avengers: Infinity War
Yellow Submarine 50th anniversary remaster
The Karminsky Experience Inc. – See Inside VR + packaging
Bobby Gillespie on Newsnight
The Clock – Christian Marclay, Tate Modern
Bros: After The Screaming Stops (BBC)

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Events / Gigs:
Art of Noise, British Library
‘O Is For Orange’ premiere Archspace, London
The The, Albert Hall, The Troxy, London, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
The Crystal Palace Festival afterparty @ The Paxton Pub, Gypsy Hill, London – one of those gigs where every track flows and lands just right.
The Indie Label Market, Spitalfields, London
The People’s Vote march in October
Jane Weaver at EArtH, London
The Soundcarriers, Gloria and Strange Majick @ The Victoria, London
Dirty Fan Male at the Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club, London

Gigs

Exhibitions:
Sister Corita Kent – Ditchling Art & Craft Museum
Orla Kiely – Fashion & Textile Museum, London
Aphex Twin posters – Elephant & Castle underground, London
The Shape of Light, Tate Modern, London
May The Toys Be With You – New Walk Museum, Leicester
John Vernon Lord – The House of Illustration, London
Peanuts – Somerset House, London
Daniel Mullen – Lisa Norris Gallery, London

Exhibitions 2018

“Another year over and what have I done?”
Designed Peshay‘s ‘Reflections’ LP for the De:Tuned label
Created a 3 minute spoken word collage for Penguin/Random House‘s Voices event at the London Palladium on World Book Day
Supported the Art Of Noise at The British Library
DJed multiple times at Secret Cinema presents Blade Runner
Opened for The The at several of their UK gigs including the Royal Albert Hall, Brixton Academy, Glasgow Barrowlands and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Further at the Portico Gallery with Pete Williams, Markey Funk and the Karminsky Experience Inc.
Designed a nine disc set for De:tuned‘s forthcoming 10th anniversary releases
Mixes for Solid Steel, 45 Live, Brokers, Rat Records, Out Of The Wood, Diggers Dozen and radio show appearances for Resonance and Soho Radio
Overhauled my Openmindesign.uk website

DJ Food gigs

RIP: France Gall, Ken Dodd, Stephen Hawking, Matt Dike, Lovebug Starski, Jabo Starks, Tom Wolfe, Aretha Franklin, Orla Kiely shops, Carlos Ezquerra, Paul Allen, Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, HMV, June Whitfield.

Looking forward to: The Delaware Road 2019, Keith Haring retrospective at Tate Liverpool, the Wobbly Sounds book, Further at the Ace Hotel, Sister Corita Kent at the House of Illustration, De:tuned‘s monthly 10th anniversary 12″s, Avengers: Endgame

Happy New Year!

The Delaware Road 2019

Delaware Rd 2019Tickets are already on sale and the line up is being drip feed out over the Xmas period for The Delaware Road‘s third incarnation next August at a secret military base somewhere in Salisbury. This promises to be the biggest and most ambitious version yet, and those who were present at the first two will know that there is nothing quite like them. I’m very pleased to be asked to play for a second time and so far the whole line up is looking like a who’s who of the leftfield electronica/radiophonic/hauntology scene. Put August 17th in the diary and get in on the early bird tickets before they’re gone.

“A unique festival of music, theatre, film, sound & light inside a secret military base near Stonehenge.
Featuring an incredible line up of artists, DJs, video producers, sound designers, record labels, speakers, writers, illustrators & agitators. Gathered inside the austere military complex of New Zealand Farm near West Lavington, artists will perform work inspired by landscape, myth, broadcast propaganda & the transformative nature of sound. 
Performances start at 5pm Saturday evening & end at 3am Sunday morning. Licensed bar, food & merch stalls.
Overnight camping & parking. This event contains adult themes & strobing effects. Under 18s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.”

The line up so far:

THE SEANCE / FRONT & FOLLOW / KEMPER NORTON / THE SLOWEST LIFT / EMBLA QUICKBEAM / ARC SOUNDTRACKS / DJ FOOD \ SARAH ANGLISS / CLAY PIPE MUSIC / SIMON JAMES / REVBJELDE / CASTLES IN SPACE / THE TWELVE HOUR FOUNDATION  / CONCRETISM  / POLYPORES  / PSYCHE TROPES / SCULPTURE / HOWLROUND / MERKABA MACABRE / A’BEAR / DOUG SHIPTON / NICK TAYLOR / ALISON COTTON / IAN HELLIWELL / RADIONICS RADIO

Tickets : https://fixr.co/event/839412645
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Rammellzee show at Laz Inc. London

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So, there’s a Rammellzee exhibition running right now in the middle of London at LazInc. until 10th November. Lots of 80’s and early 90s canvases from private collections, the likes of which have never been seen in the U.K. Overall (much like Basquiat) there’s never a full piece which I truly love but I love what Ramm stood for and all the stuff he strung together to make his world. Little details spring out and there were a couple of pieces with with his line drawings in that were nice (see further down).

Really though I went for the opportunity to actually see this stuff in the flesh, to see a largely hidden part of the more abstract end of graffiti that’s not really been documented. You can see him visually searching for things, he’s trying all sorts, even painting on a carpet at one point, and to see that was enough. Sadly no battle suits or letter racers but this is a pretty decent collection for free and I’m not holding my breath for the Red Bull Arts New York exhibition to come to these shores any time soon.
LazInc. Sackville, 29 Sackville Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 3DX

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Posted in Art, Event, Exhibition. | No Comments | Tags:

John Vernon Lord at the House of Illustration

JVL_BeneathTheTreefullThe John Vernon Lord exhibition of Ulysses, Finigan’s Wake and Alice in Wonderland illustrations just started at the House of Illustration in Kings Cross. What I didn’t realise when I visited was that his huge 1966 masterpiece, ‘Beneath The Tree’ was also on display and it was breathtaking to see in the flesh.

The details visible in the original, not possible to see in the version printed in his Drawn To Drawing book, were many, from tiny messages written along tree roots to hidden numbers and miniature details in the shadows. Worth the price of admission alone to finally see this incredible piece which usually resides in the collection of the University of Brighton.

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Sister Corita Kent at Ditchling Art & Craft Museum

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There’s an amazing exhibition on in a very out-of-the-way place at the moment, Sister Corita Kents screen prints (or some of them) are on display in Ditchling, a small village near Hassocks, at their Art & Craft Museum, 10 minutes on the train from Brighton. Sister Corita was a nun, artist and teacher running art classes at the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles in the 50s through to the early 70s. Her prime medium during these years was screen printing and her works were eventually seen as part of the Pop Art movement.

Her bold, bright, contemporary methods were in perfect step with the times but she became embroiled in arguments with the church over her messages, especially anti-vietnam and civil rights movements posters which ended with her leaving her post and the church for good. Her life and achievements are incredible as a practicing nun and teacher who had everyone from John Cage to Charles & Ray Eames to Alfred Hitchcock visit to take classes.
The exhibition is on until 14th October and is really worth the effort, it’s a 5 minutes cab ride from Hassocks train station and there’s a permanent collection of religious art and more to see.

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Frank Zappa advert + poster collages Pt.2

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Continued from part 1
I’m not sure who did the design above but, from the date, I’d guess it was Zappa, regardless it’s a great poster

Around the end of making The Mothers of Invention‘s ‘Absolutely Free’, Cal Schenkel started working with Frank Zappa on artwork (he also appears on the ‘Freak Out’ album as one of the studio voices). From then on he became the graphic artist most associated with the Mothers and some of Zappa’s solo works, his collages, paintings and sculptures adorning many of their classic LPs. Here’s an ad for ‘Absolutely Free’

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Cal created several ‘Moop’ ads, odd comic-styled pages, “…yeah, and we also did a series of ads which you might have seen at one point… for MOOP. You ever seen any of the MOOP ads? …but they were the weirdest ads, they were like just funny little surrealistic comic strips…and there’s a bunch of ads that were running–like, Hit Parader, and just the oddest places…” – from this interview

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This beauty below appeared in Marvel comics’ Daredevil #38

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By the 70s, things had started to change graphic-wise in publications and we go into what I call the ‘statement’ era of advertising where text played a big part in hooking the viewer in via an intriguing ‘headline’ and then selling the product in a quirky sales-pitch style similar to these examples below. Crazy graphics, surrealism and excessive detail were out and, as a designer, I can’t blame them. Much the same as the sometimes impenetrable psychedelic posters of the late 60s were only meant for the heads in the know to decipher, their time was up and now the marketing men had to sell this stuff to the masses rather than keep it underground. Cue straight, no-nonsense text in blank space and packshots of the album or group in question.

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Frank Zappa advert + poster collages Pt.1

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Lately I’ve been studying the collage art of Frank Zappa and Cal Schenkel from the Mothers of Invention albums. On reading up on this material, including a long interview with Schenkel, I realised that Zappa himself seems to have done a lot of the artwork for the first two Mothers albums, ‘Freak Out’ and ‘Absolutely Free’, with Cal coming in at the end of the latter and doing some of the adverts. What you see below is – as far as I can tell – is mostly the work of Zappa who was a pretty decent visual artist in his own right is seems.

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Freak Out News 1
An ‘official New of the Mothers’ would occasionally get printed in the LA Free Press, below is the first one, a four page digest that includes a poster for a forthcoming gig.

Freak Out News 2

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Some variations on gig posters
Freak Out poster blue Freak Out poster red

Collage made to illustrate an interview in a music magazine

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The original paste up for an advert / flyer
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Pulp Magazine archive

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Stuff that’s been clogging up the desktop Pt.4

Toby Whitebread (New Analog Illustration) sent me a link to a pulp magazine archive a few weeks back and I waded through it to find these beauties.

We start with a trio of lesser-seen Vaughn Bodé covers

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I’m not sure who these next two are by, the first could be Josh Kirby
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Three lovely Mike Hinge covers…Amazing_Stories_v46n01_1972-05_0000 Amazing_Stories_v46n05_1973-01_Gorgon776_0001 Amazing_Stories_v48n04_1974-12_Gorgon776_0001

Brian Lewis doing his Richard Powers / Yves Tanguy impressionNew_Worlds_069v23_1958-03_0001Science_Fantasy_28v10_1958-04_0000 Science_Fantasy_40v14_1960-04_0000

and finally, a couple of Richard Powers properStar_Science_Fiction_v01n01_1958-01_Sam_Hall-sleipnir_edit_0000Beyond_Fantasy_Fiction_v01n01_1953-07_cape1736_0000

Cuphead Posters

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I’m still loving the design of Cuphead, the recent release from Studio MDHR based on the look of the old Fleischer Brothers animation studios. There seem to be lots of great posters for it online, possibly official, it’s hard to tell these days. Many follow the multi-coloured, multi-character model but some keep in line with the look of the game. There’s also merchandise starting to appear, from enamel pin badges to the inevitable Funko toys but the best object so far has to be the 4xLP original soundtrack.

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Housed in a 30’s book-style sleeve with gold leaf cover graphics, separate leaves for each disc and yellowed ‘pages’, it looks like it could have come straight from your grandparents’ vinyl collection. There’s also a lovely 7″ with selections from the near 3 hr LP set. At an eye-watering £71 + postage it’s a bit out of my league at the moment but it looks worth every penny from the photos.

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* Beware of pre-orders of figures from PopInABox – my Cuphead and Mugman figures are now 2 months overdue, one has been dispatched from overseas without a tracking number and the other remains in limbo while they wait for stock, meanwhile I’ve seen them in shops in the UK.