Welcome To The Dark Ages Pt.3 – Thursday: The Day Of The Book

ChurchThursday – dubbed ‘The Day Of The Book’ – started with drama. At the Dead Perch first thing I was passed by Jimmy who was holding a tin of white paint, his face and shoes flecked with spots of it. Upon arriving at 10am at the Bombed-Out Church (originally the Church of St Luke – a stone’s throw from the Dead Perch), word quickly went round that he and Bill had painted Phil Blake‘s Ford Timelord car white, erasing the JAMs and KLF logos, much the same as they did in The White Room film. Footage was already on YouTube, dubbed The Death of Ford Timelord’ in which a smiling but obviously mortified Phil turns up as they’re finishing and, seeing they mean to cover the whole car, drives off before they can quite complete the task. It was a strange way to start the day and one which wasn’t mentioned again save for one request for film or photos of the deed from those who’d witnessed it.

Later the web was aflame with keyboard warriors proclaiming it was a premeditated stunt, set up by those involved and that the paint was emulsion and could easily be washed off. I’ve known Phil for years and spoke to him later and I can assure you it was no stunt, he was absolutely gutted that two of his heroes were erasing his tribute to their past and it was not emulsion. He drove it away and immediately set to work with white spirit to undo the damage, managing to get most of the paint off before returning and making sure he parked well away from proceedings from that point on. Phil is one of the mellowest people I know, he’s just not the sort of guy to fly into a rage, especially at two people he admires so much despite what they were doing to his property. For all the armchair commentator know-it-alls out there watching from the outernet – he bought a ticket like everyone else and he’d have much rather not have had this happen despite the incident now placing him firmly within the Liverpool events for all eternity.

Why did they do it? Erasing their past maybe? Blotting out what they saw as an object that threatened to upstage them and didn’t fit into their plan? They certainly weren’t afraid to reference their past throughout the proceedings with the T-speaker, the Ice Kream Van, the Mu Mu gowns and the Dalek from the ‘Doctorin’ The Tardis’ video present at various points. The act left a bad taste in the mouth and I felt sorry for Phil, hoping it hadn’t ruined his enjoyment of the event. The JAMs have never shied away from pissing people off, defacing other people’s property or doing the unexpected and this seemed like a spontaneous but cruel reaction. For all the acts that they’ve perpetrated over the years there’s never been a direct victim in the way there was here. Perhaps Phil got off lightly as rumour went round that they were planning to steal it and drive it into the Mersey.

So, back to the plan for the day, we lined up either side of a central pathway inside the church and were given the designation ‘even’ or ‘odd’ by Oliver and Daisy again, depending on which side we were on. Drummond & Cauty arrived and then proceeded to tear out a page of their ‘2023′ book and present it to each of the 400, if you were in the odd line your page was the odd number and vice versa. We were instructed to respond to anything on our given page within the next eight hours and report back to the church at 6pm to present our findings. Whoever got the first page of the chapter you held the page from was the Chapter leader who we reported to and who would collate the creations for later.

Church inside
Drummond pageCauty page Mypage OliverChurchoutsidepano

At this point proceedings started to take on the air of an art project and I was getting flashbacks to the days of Camberwell college and an impending crit. People leapt at the challenge though and were creating posters and banners before we’d even left the church and we observed little clusters of ‘Chapters’ working out what they would do. I spent part of the day helping paste up my friend’s one-off single cover for a fictitious band, Flies In The Maelstrom. They were sworn enemies of Badger Kull (due to a love of badgers presumably) and who’s name, song titles, label and lyrics were all taken from page 205 of ‘2023′.

Flies coverFlies back cover

We pasted ‘their’ single cover over existing Badger Kull street posters and hash-tagged ‘KillTheKull’ on the web. The artwork was pasted over an existing Mike Oldfield record and sellotaped into a huge book provided by Daisy Campbell entitled ‘Grapefruits Are Not The Only Bombs’. This held descriptions and examples of the day’s work by all who decided to submit it and was later presented to The JAMs. But not before we’d convinced Ian Shirley – editor of the Record Collector Rare Record Guide and new KLF history ‘Turn Up The Strobe’ – that it was an original, one-off lathe cut single which we’d recorded and got pressed that afternoon. A message was even hand etched into the run out groove.

Etching
Flies postingFlies posting 2

Each chapter had to present their day’s work to The JAMs at 6pm inside the church grounds and some had really gone to town with the conceptual nature, factoring wordplay, numerology and symbols already present into their poems, plays, songs, conceptual pieces, posters and sculptures. At one point we all found ourselves throwing tangerines at an effigy of Donald Trump, emblazoned with the words Tangerine Nightmare – a fictitious group from the book.

TrumpTangerinesTangerine
TrumpthrowChoose poster Notice Soldiers Work begins

Some of the work was of course toe-curlingly cringeworthy, resembling the worst excesses of student juvenilia, BUT! everyone got into the spirit, got on with the task at hand and didn’t question the instructions despite no clue being given as to exactly what this was all for. In hindsight it had the effect that I imagine punk had, saying, ‘you can do this, NOW, don’t wait, get on with it, who says you can’t? get off your arse and make or do something, ANYTHING, and see what happens’. It was liberating, taxing and frustrating, it made you competitive, collaborative and use the resources to hand without worrying about the finish or making excuses. It made us, the 400, the focus of the day rather than the passive observers of the night before and, again, the work was done by others and then observed by The JAMs at the end of proceedings with little comment although Drummond seemed to be enjoying this a lot more than the hearing. It was becoming increasingly apparent that other people were making The JAM’s comeback happen after they had put the pieces in place.

JAMs 2 JAMs watch

Postscript: Speaking to Phil Blake about the car incident at length when I returned home, he told me this anecdote about the aftermath of the painting. After driving off he parked a couple of roads away and purchased bottles of white spirit and rolls of cloth with friends, then set about cleaning the car as best they could. Nearly three hours later they’d got most of it off and he drove back round the block to the bombed-out church where the proceedings were ending as people went off in their groups.
Suddenly he spotted Jimmy walking down the road so he put on the siren and shouted, ‘Thanks Jimmy!’ across to him whilst driving by. He said Cauty’s jaw dropped and he later heard that they thought he had a second car as a back up, not believing that he would have been able to clean it all off so quickly and thoroughly.

Part 4 here

Liverpool 2017, the JAMs and the Dark Ages

Instagram Mu notesMy Instagram page at the moment – follow me there for images from Liverpool later this week, I will put some sort of report together once I’m back but I won’t be posting properly until next week once I’m in Liverpool. I’ve been posting KLF-related bits that I’ve done in the past all week and here’s a selected recap of The Sound of Mu(sic) mix and poster series jape that I made with Mr Trick back in 2003. For the full story download the pdf here

KLF S of M cover

FILM POSTER 1 web

FILM POSTER 5

FILM POSTER 11

FILM POSTER 13

FILM POSTER 14

FILM POSTER 17

Franco Grignani at the Estorick Collection of Italian Art

Grignani2.1
There’s not much to say about this post really, I’ve posted about Franco Grignani before, quite recently. The Italian designer has been featured in a couple of exhibitions in London this year, the second of which has just opened. Just look at these images and then go and see this wonderful artist’s work, it’s on display at the Estorick Collection of Italian Art on Canonbury Sq. in London. The simplicity and precision of execution is simply breathtaking.

Grignani2.2 Grignani2.3 Grignani2.4 Grignani2.5 Grignani2.6 Grignani2.7 Grignani2.8 Grignani2.9 Grignani2.10 Grignani2.11 Grignani2.12 Grignani2.13 Grignani2.14 Grignani2.15 Grignani2.16 Grignani2.17 Grignani2.18 Grignani2.19 Grignani2.20 Grignani2.21 Grignani2.22 Grignani2.23 Grignani2.24 Grignani2.25 Grignani2.26 Grignani2.27 Grignani2.28

We Are Watching: Oz magazine at Chelsea Space

Oz Mag Watching

Chelsea Space at the Chelsea College of Arts in Pimlico has recently opened an exhibition looking at Oz, it’s obscenity trials and the counterculture magazines of the 60s and 70s that sprang up around it. Featuring every issue of both the Australian and British runs, posters, letters, films and all manner of ephemera from the estates of Richard Neville, Martin Sharp, Felix Dennis and many private collections of those who worked on it, it’s a lovingly curated selection by Cherie Silver who was minding the exhibition when I went last week and was eager to answer questions.
If you’ve never seen issues before then here’s a chance, there are some that can be looked through and one wall lays out the Magic Theatre issue, comprised entirely of a stream of consciousness collage. It finishes on July 14th and is free, usually open between 10.30-11am.
* I rather like the graphic above, subverting George Orwell‘s 1984 maxim, unfortunately they could never have foreseen the Big Brother they’d be watching half a century later.

Oz expo13 Oz expo12 Oz expo11 Oz expo10 Oz expo8Oz expo9 Oz expo6Oz expo7 Oz expo5 Oz expo4 Oz expo3 Oz expo2 Oz expo

Alex Ross does The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine

ys_alexross I ran across these the other night, comic artist Alex Ross does realistic versions of the characters from the Yellow Submarine cartoon film. His take on the Love Glove, Blue Meanies and Jeremy the Nowhere Man are quite unsettling but beautiful. The single Beatle images are offered as sets of prints direct from Alex’s site but they’re not cheap! The long image at the top was offered last year by Dark Hall Mansion, see more details here.

JPEG-John_proof-copy-e1462400075248-1129x1600 Paul_1600-e1462400124574-1069x1600 George_1600-e1462400155724-1076x1600JPEG Ringo_proof copy

California – Designing Freedom exhibition at the Design Museum

CD-California

The California: Designing Freedom exhibition at the Design Museum is an odd collection of art, print, tech, media and curios that flimsily hangs on the premise that it all originates from the state of California. From the screen print innovations of Sister Corita Kent to the Family Dog psychedelic posters to David Carson‘s Ray Gun magazine design and the skate board craze, on to a recreation of the iconic Easy Rider chopper bike, real Hell’s Angel jackets and the Buckminster Fuller-inspired dome-building communities of the 70s. The links are tenuous or non-existent but all point to people following their own path, whether working alone or as part of a movement. The future looms large from the earliest Apple computers to videos gaming design and Google‘s place as a part of our everyday lives. A joy to behold are some of Syd Mead‘s original concept paintings for Blade Runner which were much smaller than I imagined but no less powerful. It’s on until October, well worth a look…

CD-SISTER1 CD-SISTER2
CD_SISTER3 CD-CARDS CD-Easyrider CD-google CD-Mead1 CD-Mead2 CD-Mead3 CD-Mead4 CD-Mead5 CD-VM1 CD-VM2

David Klein, illustrator

AliceCircle
Whilst combing the web for something else entirely I stumbled across the work of the late David Klein. I’ve always been envious of artists who can seemingly use every colour in the palette and not make the result look like a dog’s dinner and there are some wonderful combinations here. His travel posters are lushous examples of a bygone era that occasionally resurfaces when illustrating period pieces like Mad Men. His psychedelic version of Alice In Wonderland is one of the best I’ve seen and there’s an oddity of what looks like six unused prelims for The Exorcist in there too. Visit his website to find out and see more…

AliceEatDrinkme Bank1 WhaleConventionchalkGarden DesignforLiving Shoestring57ExorcistgroupChicagotowercenterW HongKongflag HongKongWoman Ireland JohnPaulJonesTitle LondonBigBenW Londoncomp2W LosAngelesBirds NEWYORKalt NewYorkLights NYStatueGrenwichW NYUNarchW SanFrancisco SanFranciscoCableW SanFranPlaneW St.Louis Switzerland TWAAirCargo

Will Barras at Sector 25

WillBarrasatSector251
On Friday night I finally made the pilgrimage to South Norwood, SE25 – not an area of London I’m familiar with – to the little beacon of sound and colour that is Gamma/Sector 25. Run by Rob Swain of the Gamma Proforma label, it’s a bar and gallery representing the music and artists he’s collected around him over the last 15 years and the next step in the evolution of the project. His influence in the area is immediately felt with street pieces in evidence around the location of the bar from artists like She One, Phil Ashcroft and Epod.
Each month he hosts a new display of work entitled ‘Milestones’ where the gallery shows work from an artist he’s worked with and this month was the turn of Will Barras with original paintings from the Divine Styler album Def Mask, his Rammellzee portrait and the upcoming Juice Aleem album among others. Gamma also recently published a book of Will’s work that is well worth getting if you like what you see here. The bar is situated at 14 Portland Road, London, SE25 4PF, nearest train station is Norwood Junction, and is generally open from 7am-5pm, later at weekends.

Below: Details from ‘the coolest toilet in South London’

WillBarrasatSector253 WillBarrasatSector254 WillBarrasatSector256

Below: Details from the art for Juice Aleem‘s new album, ‘Voodoostarchild’

WillBarrasatSector252

WillBarrasatSector257WillBarrasatSector258WillBarrasatSector259

Below: Details from a recent commission, definitely channeling some Syd Mead on the car there.

WillBarrasatSector2510
WillBarrasatSector2512WillBarrasatSector2511

Below: Details from the art for Divine Styler‘s last album, ‘Def Mask’

WillBarrasatSector2513WillBarrasatSector2514

RIP Leo Baxendale

willy-the-kid-leo-baxendale

I was never a Beano or Dandy reader, but this book, Willy the Kid Book 2, as well as Sweeney Toddler when I was a kid, was poured over by me and my brother, we knew every little detail. It took me years to find a copy of Book 1 (and I only just found out there was a Book 3!) and his book, Thrrp! for Knockabout probably wins the stupidest comic ever award.
RIP Leo Baxendale

2230001-willy1

Posted in Art, Comics. | No Comments | Tags:

The Beatles’ Revolver art & Klaus Voormann

Robert Freeman Revolver
A random web search threw up the image above, citing that it was a rejected cover for The BeatlesRevolver album. More searching revealed that it wasn’t by Klaus Voormann, whose classic black & white collage and line cover everyone knows, but by photographer Robert Freeman. The Beatles passed over it for Klaus’ work and googling that cover image brings up masses of variations of the final piece, as many by Klaus as by fans who have reworked it for their own ends. Voornman not only did many different versions before he arrived at the final but has revisited it many times over the years as well as creating several works centered around Beatles songs in the same style for various projects.

revearlyMix_Media_Artwork_2_Full_Image_1280pxAP34.2_Illu_G KV_RevCom_Print Hamburg_sq Hendrix_97 D-100-abbeyroad D77_Ringo_Starry AP-17-john-lid_F

The image below visualises ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, I’ve found some details so that you can see what’s going on a little more easily. There’s also a book, ‘Revolver 50’ that tells the story of how he made the cover.

TomorrowNeverKnows_IllustrationChronicles_1500
VK_TNK_D3-1300x975 KV_TNK_Pers-1300x975
Shop-TomorrowNeverDetail4Shop-TomorrowNeverDetail3Shop-TomorrowNeverDetail2Shop-TomorrowNeverDetail1

Seen out and about in Penge

Penge_Pengeuin
I found myself in Penge today, which is a rarity, and there was plenty to see in the quiet South East London suburb. The Penge / Pengeuin paste up above doesn’t really trip off the tongue but it’s always nice to see the orange logo. A little further down the road was a fascinating shop, with a colourful mural outside, that looked like it had been shut for many years. Inside the grilled window were old lamps, bottles, heads and all sorts, stuffed to the rafters but locked up and inaccessible.
Penge_Shop front mural
Next were a brace of shops with fresh murals on side walls and shutters.
IMG_2931 Penge_X-Ray PengeReggaeSpice
The local charity shops threw up a couple of fabulous covers, brilliant in their unstyled glory.
PengeMalcolmWilceDuoPenge_BryanSmith
Later, up the road in Crystal Palace, I came across this amazing stained glass window on a church.
CP-Church

Posted in Art, Poster / flyer, Records. | 2 Comments | Tags:

Eduardo Paolozzi at The Whitechapel Gallery

Paolozzi_Pop
Continuing the Paolozzi love on this blog, I visited the new retrospective of his work at the Whitechapel Gallery in East London. Over 250 of his works are on display and it’s more than worth the price of admission. Prints, sculptures, paintings, textiles, photos, films and collages stretch over two floors and the breadth of his work is amazing. What’s also apparent in most of it is that it’s barely dated and is quite timeless, his early Pop Art collages being the only exceptions which can be forgiven as he was one of the originators. The technical level achieved in the screenprints is beyond anything I’ve seen as well, I would love to see the original screens for these or the prints that went wrong. Two mediums I hadn’t seen his work in before really stood out: the textiles and a couple of works in wood, the latter, made with different kinds and varnishes, were gorgeous. Highly recommended.

Paolozzi_plate Paolozzi_detail1 Paolozzi_detail2 Paolozzi_detail3 Paolozzi_diamondPaolozzi_detail4Paolozzi_B+W Paolozzi_dress Paolozzi_graph Paolozzi_scrapbook Paolozzi_Soldiers Paolozzi_W+B Paolozzi_wood1 Paolozzi_wood2Paolozzi_signature