You Say You Want A Revolution exhibition at the V&A, London

GrannyNewly opened last weekend, the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington plays host to a celebration of the latter part of the psychedelic 60s under the banner, ‘You Say You Want A Revolution: Records & Rebels 1966-1970’. It’s an often stunning and inspiring look back at a small section of the counter culture that we now think of as ‘The Swinging Sixties’, encompassing music, art, fashion, politics, advertising, product design, expos and the space race. What was interesting, in the light of the recent drug-related deaths forcing Fabric to close, was that LSD was mentioned copiously in the quotes as you entered the exhibition and kept popping up throughout, as a catalyst for the many strands of the hippy movement. One national institution celebrates drug-fuelled counter culture in the heart of the richest part of the city just as another is closed in the East End – the irony.

The exhibition isn’t just about the beautiful flower children chanting ‘hari krishna’ and wearing threads from the Kings Road via India either (*slight spoiler alert!*). A middle section brings you down to earth with a bump, confronting you with the more political side of events at the end of the decade, the Vietnam War, racism, The Black Panthers, police brutality, feminism, gay rights and more. The starkness of this section, largely in monochrome, against the multi-coloured blossoming of earlier rooms, is a reminder that it wasn’t all peace and love man, and that the curators weren’t wearing rose-tinted spectacles the whole time.

It was worth the price of admission alone to see Mati Klarwein‘s original ‘Grain Of Sand’ painting up close. I’ve always loved this piece, never thought I’d see it in the flesh but there is was, nestled behind the entrance as I walked in. Absolutely wondrous.

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There is a LOT to see and take in, an associate who works at the museum confided that the curators wanted ‘everything’ but were restricted by time and conservation rules. There was some padding in parts, a section about consumerism and advertising sees corridor walls plastered with ads, interspersed with huge mirrored sections which give the impression of much more in the reflections but ultimately can’t conceal that not much is actually on display. Film and TV is given fairly short thrift aside from a section about Blow Up, a selection of experimental shorts in a walled-off cinema area and the Woodstock footage (although it has to be said that the Woodstock room is very well put together). Underground comics were almost entirely missing aside from one interior spread used to comment on the Manson murders, no Robert Crumb, Zap, Furry Freak Brothers... The Oz trials were mentioned but I didn’t see any copies of the magazine, or IT, or Ink. There was a lot in it but some omissions were glaring.

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Leaving, to the strains of Lennon‘s ‘Imagine’ and a fast cut montage zooming through the decades up to the present day, you’re depressingly but inevitably taken via the gift shop where you’re confronted with sanitised, consumable versions of the era to take home. Most of it is utter tat and the price tags are enough to burn a huge hole through the Levi jeans they seem to think were a good idea to have on sale. Cleverly, and as a sign of the vinyl-resurgence times we currently live in, they’ve released a compilation album alongside the usual book of the exhibition. Unfortunately the cover – a denim jacket covered in band logo badges – is so horrendous it looks like the kind of three quid compilation you’d find in a service station. There are some beautifully executed repro posters but the prices are so exorbitant I’d rather seek out an original, they’d probably only be a little more.
Still, there may not be many revelations or things you’ve not seen before in an era that’s been to widely celebrated already but it’s well worth the entrance fee. It runs until Feb 26th 2017 – more info here.

 

Record Roulette #17: What did the Hippie have in his bag? 45

Hippy7front I picked this up a few weeks back, a short book with a record by Cornershop called, ‘What Did The Hippy Have in His Bag?’. It’s a lovely little thing with a simple song going through the content of said bag (not what you’d expect), perfect for kids and with an instrumental on the B side you can learn it and then sing your own version. Released a few years back on the band’s Ample Play Records’ Singles Club, you can still find copies in their shop for £12.
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Cake Lab and Out Of The Wood today

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Today, 2 hrs before The Orb‘s Alex Paterson starts his new Cake Lab residency at the Book and Record Bar in W. Norwood, I’ll be on the Out of the Wood Show hosted by WNBC.LONDON https://m.facebook.com/outofthewoodradioshow/  after which….

“From 2pm a new Sunday ambient club called Cake Lab launches. Dr. Alex Paterson and George Holt take you back to the good old days of the Ambient Club Room, circa 1987 with a free Sunday afternoon club… Expect an eclectic mix of Electronica, Dub, World, Jazz, Dance and every genre in between… and there will be cake.. and coffee and tea, and beer and cider and wine and spirits….”

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The Cake Lab set up Alex & George brought along was amazing; delicious cakes, crazy decor, T-shirts and most of all, great music. Pete W, Hannah Brown and I were playing on the Out Of The Wood show beforehand. Photos by Pete and Hannah from across the afternoon. In fact the whole of FEAST in West Norwood is really worth checking out, food, drink, retro goods, craft stalls, sound systems and live bands, first weekend of every month.

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Karel Zeman ‘Invention For Destruction’

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Czech this out (sorry, couldn’t resist) via Jonny Trunk’s fabulous weekly newsletter comes a trailer for a remastered mix of live action and animated collage from 1958 (!) Think Jules Verne meets Terry Gilliam.

The launch party for Jonny’s new book, ‘The Music Library’, last night was excellent with a bit of celeb-spotting going down (Jarvis, Matt Berry) and a storming reggae cover version set from Jerry Dammers. The book is an expansion of the original version he released 10 years ago, this time with twice as many covers and a nifty, if pricey, slipcased edition with a 10″ record. There is of course a reasonably priced version without either of those two as well, get them both here.

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The First Book of Jazz

First book of Jazz

The First Book Of Jazz (1955) is the third of five books that Langston Hughes (1902-1967) wrote for the Franklin Watts First Books series. “When boys and girls FIRST start asking why?…what?…and how? FIRST BOOKS are the first books to read on any subject.”

Cliff Roberts (1929-1999) was a cartoonist and animator. His cartoons appeared in magazines such as The New Yorker and Playboy. He worked as an animator on Sesame Street, and wrote and drew the short-lived Sesame Street newspaper comic strip.

Image and text cribbed from Ariel S. Winter’s Flickr where he has the full book scanned. For more information see this blog post

Posted in Books, Design, Music. | No Comments | Tags:

Rough Trade 40 book

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I’m very chuffed to have an interview with Savage Pencil aka Edwin Pouncey in the new Rough Trade book celebrating 40 years of the shop and associated labels. Just published by Thurston Moore‘s Ecstatic Peace imprint it’s packed with scrapbook-like anecdotes, photos, poems, drawings and interviews by a who’s who of the independent scene.

My piece runs to five pages and covers SavX‘s career from aspiring cartoonist and early employee of the Portobello shop to Blast First cover artist and abstract painter with Battle Of The Eyes. The interview was so long that I had to cut it down by more than half so I’ll publish the full thing here with many illustrations once the book has been out a while.

*Also – there’s a free John Grant one-sided 45 with etched B side if you buy the book from Rough Trade shops

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X-Ray Audio book and new film

X-Ray AudioBookcoverI know I’ve written about this before but I’ve finally finished reading Stephen Coates ‘X-Ray Audio’ book, about how underground bootleggers from the Soviet Union used to cut forbidden music onto old X-Rays. It’s a fascinating read in a time when we have pretty much any media we desire at our fingertips. It tells of a time where just possessing certain records could get you in serious trouble or even thrown in prison. Having to buy forbidden songs for huge amounts of money that were sometimes not even on the disc or of a fidelity so bad that they were virtually unlistenable.

But what it highlights most of all is the power of music, what lengths people will go to to hear it and when they do, the effect it can have. This quote from an interview with Kolya Vasin really stood out, he became known as ‘The Beatles Guy’ and he recounts first hearing ‘All My Loving’.
“When I heard them I felt something so phenomenal, even the great Little Richard whom I had adored faded for me. They enlightened me, it was insane. Little Richard was atomic happiness but The Beatles were insanity, something else, the limit, something unexplainable. And I understood everything… I felt in them a holiness. It was freedom.”

The Vinyl Factory also recently premiered a new short film about the phenomenon that they’d made with Stephen

Alice In Wonderland exhibition design

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Went to the British Library yesterday to see the Alice In Wonderland exhibition, a collection of many vintage books illustrated by various artists over the last 150 years as well as puzzles, cards, posters and ephemera featuring the characters. Also present were some of Lewis Carroll‘s original notebooks, letters and photos plus printing blocks of John Tenniel‘s original illustrations, used for the first edition.
Interesting as all that was though, it was the design of the exhibition that wowed the most, with playful typography riffing off quotes from the book and that fantastic logo hanging from a balcony on a giant tag. I would have got more of it if there hadn’t be an over-zealous security guard warning people from taking photos. Nevertheless, it’s free as it’s in the foyer and it’s worth your time if you’re in the Kings Cross area plus there’s a pop up shop separate from the main one with about 20 different Alice book versions, loads of merchandise and the swirly floor seen in the last photo.

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150 Years of Alice In Wonderland at the British Library

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Absolutely love that logo by Fiona Barlow, shouldn’t work but it does. To celebrate 150 of Alice In Wonderland there’s a small exhibition at the British Library with art from various versions of the book over the years, including John Tenniel’s original illustrations as well as examples from Ralph Steadman, Salvador Dali and morel.

Highlights of 2015

2015 Albums
They say that creativity flourishes under oppression and bleak times and it’s been a great year for music so there must be a grain of truth there. In an effort to glean something positive to remember 2015 by in light of all the injustice and hate out there in the world, here are some of my favourite things, in no order whatsoever.

There were several amazing music releases that went far beyond the normal album format – the main one being Aphex Twin‘s incredible Soundcloud dump of archive tracks which continue to drip out and now number over 200 tracks even if he has taken a lot of them down now. If there’s a ‘release’ of the year then that wins hands down although I’m still trying to process it all and tried to compile a selection of the cream in this mix for Solid Steel but bear in mind that that was when he’d only released half of it so by it’s no means definitive.
The other mega-release that deserves special mention is Rammellzee‘s ‘Cosmic Flush’ magnum opus that’s still in the process of materializing in a physical format. Released across seven 12″s with one track + remix + instrumentals + art print each, to be collected in a limited box with booklet around Spring 2016, it’s taken a huge effort by the Gamma Proforma label to bring to fruition seven years after the record’s completion and five years after Rammellzee’s death. It’s been a vintage year for independent Hip Hop too with great albums by Divine Styler, Ollie Teeba, Memory Man and The Fabreeze Brothers.
It’s nice to see the Leaf label celebrating 20 years of existence and still as vital as ever with Melt Yourself Down, Polar Bear, Radioland and new signing The Comet Is Coming all releasing excellent records this year. One last mention must go to the album at the top of the list below that crept out under everyone’s noses on Record Store Day and has slowly been gathering attention through word of mouth in the last eight months. So much so that it won the Dead Albatross Music Prize – an alternative to the Mercury award set up by independent Norman Records to nominate records that would otherwise be passed over at such things. If you only listen to one album from the list below, make it the Annabel (lee) one.

Albums:
Annabel (lee) – By The Sea & Other Solitary Places (If Music/Ninja Tune)
Rammellzee – Cosmic Flush (Gamma Proforma)
Divine Styler – Def Mask (Gamma Proforma) (technically 2014)
Memory Man – Broadcast One (Chopped Herring)
Eagles of Death Metal – Zipper Down
Jane Weaver – The Amber Light (Bird)
Cavern Of Anti-Matter – Blood Music (Grautag Records) (technically 2013)
The The – Hyena (Death Waltz)
The Fabreeze Brothers – S/T (AE Productions)
Markey Funk – Instinct (Audio Montage) (released fully in Jan 2016)
Aphex Twin – Soundcloud Archive dump
Amon Tobin – Dark Jovian EP (Ninja Tune)
Radioland – Radio-Activity Revisited (Leaf)
Ollie Teeba – Short Order (World Expo)
Kurt Stenzel – Jodorowsky’s Dune (Light In The Attic)
Various Artists – The Delaware Road (Buried Treasure)
Floating Points – Elaenia (Pluto)
Morgan Delt – S/T (Trouble In Mind) (technically 2014)
Gaz Coombes – Matador (Universal)
Black Devil – Disco Club (Lo Recordings)
Bruce Ditmas – Yellow Dust (Finders Keepers)
Rodinia – Drumside / Dreamside (Now Again)
Various Artists – In A Moment (Ghost Box)
Jaga Jazzist – Starfire (Ninja Tune)

Tracks:
a few of these are from a few years ago but new to me…
Noel Gallagher – The Right Stuff (Sour Mash)
Graeme Miller & Steve Shill – Moomins Theme (Finders Keepers)
The The – Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven But Nobody Wants To Die) (Cineola)
The Comet Is Coming – Neon Baby (Leaf)
Reso – Richochet (Hospital)
Black Channels – Oracles (Death Waltz Originals)
Paul Rutherford – Get Real (Hardcore) (1989)
Beck – Dreams (Capitol)
Band of Skulls – Hootchie Cootchie (Ignition Records) (2014)
Pond – Zond (EMI)
Ash Grunwald – Walking (2011 but via the Amorphous Androgynous ‘Wizards of Oz’ 2015 RSD comp)
Olivier Libaux – No One Knows (feat. Inara George) (2013)
Alan Copeland – Mission Impossible/Norwegian Wood (ABC) (1968!)

Packaging 2015

Design / packaging / covers:
so many incredibly high quality creations, a oglden age for record sleeve packaging and design…
Science Fiction Dancehall Classics compilation (Trevor Jackson) (On-U Sound)
The The – Hyena (Cineola / Death Waltz/Mondo)
Kurt Stenzel – Jodorowsky’s Dune (Signal Starr) (Light In The Attic)
Jaga Jazzist – Starfire (Ninja Tune)
Tame Impala – Currents (Robert Beatty)
The ‘Beat Bop’ record case (Jean-Michel Basquiat)
Grasscut – Everyone Was A Bird (Lo Recordings)

Artists2015

Artists:
Dan Lish
Kim Jung Gi
Signal Starr
Oddly Head
Ameet Hindocha
Reuben Sutherland
Stan & Vince
Jonathan Edwards
Laurie Lipton
Larry Carlson

Books2015

Books / Comics:
Augustine Kofie – Keep Drafting (ZERO+ Publishing)
Stephen Coates – X-Ray Audio (Strange Attractor Press)
Roger Perry – The Writing On The Wall (Plain Crisp Books Ltd)
Hanson, Godtland & Krassner – Psychedelic Sex (Taschen)
Island – Various (Image)
Sandman: Overture – Gaiman/Williams (Vertigo)
Ody-C – Fraction/Ward (Image)
8-House – Various (Image)
B.P.R.D: Hell On Earth – Various (Dark Horse)
Punks: The Comic – Fialkov/Chamberlain (Image)
Judge Dredd: Enceladus – New Life – Williams / Flint (2000AD)

Format expo

Exhibitions:
Peter Kennard at the Imperial War Museum
Charles & Ray Eames at the Barbican
Cosmonauts at the Science Museum
X-Ray Audio at the Horse Hospital
Trevor Jackson / Format at the Vinyl Factory space
Zulu Nation 42nd Anniversary at House of Vans

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Film / TV: (I really didn’t watch much this year)
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars : The Force Awakens
Love & Mercy
Dune The Complete Saga (Fan edit)
‘Colossus: The Forbin Project’
Rick & Morty

Secret Cinema X-Wing

Moments:
The X-Wing Fighter flying overhead during Star Wars Secret Cinema
The Frankie Goes To Hollywood box set getting nominated for an AIM award for best box set design
Interviewing Edwin Pouncey aka Savage Pencil for a forthcoming book
Getting to wear a full Stormtrooper suit whilst DJing during Star Wars Secret Cinema
DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist – Renegades of Rhythm show at Koko
Writing a piece and creating a mix about Rammellzee for the Quietus
The moving sale finds at Lambiek in Amsterdam
Crazy scenes at the Southbank for the Big Fish Little Fish free Sunday session

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Heroes:
Ben Coghill (again) for being the best agent in the business
The NHS – for saving my mum’s life and generally being incredible
Joshu Docherty – for recommending me for Star Wars Secret Cinema
Jeremy Corbyn – for giving hope that there can be an alternative
Sarah Coleman & Leigh Adams – for releasing their first film, making unique and
interesting things and generally being great people
Pete Williams – for getting the keys to the basement
Shindig! magazine – for overcoming the odds and turning a bad situation to their advantage
Pete Isaac & Scott Boca 45 for getting the whole 45 Live crew together and building an international collective
Everyone who gave their time and dug through their collections to contribute to the weekly Flexibition posts on the site: Jonny Trunk, Pete Isaac, Jon Brooks, Markey Funk & Ofer Tal, Stephen Coates, Jon More, John Stapleton, Steve Cook, Anton Armtone, Sarah & Leigh, Spencer Hickman.

RIP:
Mike Allen (Legendary Hip Hop DJ), Lemmy, Demis Roussos, The Pizz, Don Joyce (Negativland), Shusei Nagaoka, Kája Saudek, Errol Brown (Hot Chocolate), Daevid Allen (Gong), Leonard Nimoy, Brett Ewins, Noriyoshi Ohrai, Rod McKuen, Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream), Mark B.

Looking forward to:
Transmission shop opening in Margate
David Bowie – Black Star LP
Mute 40 book
The Black Channels LP
The Allergies – Rock Rock feat. Andy Cat (Ugly Duckling)
Prophet: Earth War

Timeline by Peter Goes

Timeline coverThis book by Peter Goes is beautifully illustrated and attempts to map a chronological history of the world, first through the ages and then in decades by the book’s end. It’s just been published and can be found in most good book shops – beware though – it looks like a children’s book but it doesn’t pull its punches, see the Charlie Hebdo shootings referenced on the final page.

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Posted in Art, Books. | No Comments |

The Future Sound of London ‘The Most Important Moments In A Life’ book/CD

FSOLBookCover+CDTime machine. Pod rooms, Liquid Insects and Tales of Ephidrina (must dig that out again). Westside, Jumpin’ & Pumpin’, Virgin, EBV, FSOLDigital. A can of worms. Master tapes, promos, press releases and magazine reviews. Reaching for Discogs. More questions than answers. Just who was Philip Pin? What happened to the longform film, ‘Yage’? The first band to ever offer downloadable music? (yes, apparently they were)

FSOLBook1FSOLBook2Reading FSOL‘s scrapbook of their career made me sad rather than nostalgic for the music industry of old. For all its technological advancements, a lot of which the band spearheaded, we’re left with a shadow of the brave new world promised by the online digital revolution. In a week when Solid Steel‘s Vimeo account was terminated without warning over a single copyright claim, a time when an entire radio station’s Soundcloud account disappears, one artist sells more than the entire top 200 combined and independent labels are being told there’s a 14-16 week wait for pressing vinyl, it’s a sobering read.

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FSOLBook4FSOLBook5There’s a quote from Radio 1’s then controller, Matthew Bannister, in one of the clippings, saying that “…FSOL typified the kind of forward-looking outfit the station wanted to embrace”, and, for a while, it did. Unfortunately, rejecting the lagered up anthems needed to become poster children for an electronic generation to forge a more cerebral path into the charts, it was only a matter of time before the bubbling Britpop and Big Beat bandwagons changed that.

FSOLBook6The book’s also filled with quaint technological reminders of the time, mention of ADATs, Power Mac1800/80s, laser discs, images of Syquests and floppy discs and the web frequently mentioned as just ‘Internet’. There’s a noticeable drop off in the amount of press after ‘Dead Cities’ and you realise that, despite releasing well over two albums worth of material and countless mixes, the duo’s Amorphous Androgynous cosmic rebirth only really gained acclaim after their Oasis remix and first ‘Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble…’ mix CD. By that point in time the ‘Psych’ word was back on people’s lips and once again Gary and Brian earned their ‘Future Sound…’ tag from having plowed this furrow since an aborted 1997 compilation a full decade before the genre made its resurgence.

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FSOLBook8FSOLBook7The ‘Life In Moments’ CD that accompanies the book is a treat too, offering a physical version of several tracks given away free as digital EPs with items purchased from the FSOLDigital webstore. The amazing ‘I Turn To Face The Sun’ is worth the price alone amongst the unreleased and alternate mixes. Buy it here

FSOLBook10 FSOLBook12 FSOLBook11Talking of unreleased FSOL material, the previously announced soundtrack to the computer game Mushroom 11 has been expanded to include four new tracks and comes as a download with purchases of the game. If you want to get a copy try here and here (links courtesy of the Galaxial Pharmaceutical website).

Mushroom-11-logoAnd it doesn’t rain, it pours, The Amorphous Androgynous have a 14 minute Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble remix called ‘Murdered & Downer’ on The Kooks‘ remix album, Hello, What’s Your Name?, available from 4th December. It’s already on the web if you search hard enough…

*STOP PRESS!: There’s a Black Friday sale on at their webstore right now, lots discounted, go take a look…

The Jaarbeurs International Collectors Fair, Utrecht

Deltafreight11.05am and I’m sitting on a train in Rotterdam Centraal Station, waiting to depart after leaving a grey, wet Brussels at 8.30 that morning. I’m in the silent carriage, with ear plugs in. When the train pulls out it’s so slick and quiet it feels like we’re running on silk. The silence is glorious, the sun is shining and the landscape filled with all manner of quirky, forward-thinking Dutch architecture. Solar panels, clean, modern angles, a half-built curved structure like a rising flower bulb just outside the station and two lifelike giraffe’s heads and necks sprouting from nowhere. The multi-colouredl graffiti that always forms like weeds around train stations tumbles out of the tunnels, gradually withering away as we leave the city. I spot a pristine white Delta piece on a rusted freight train not far from the city’s boundary. It’s so quiet I’m aware that my fingers typing are making a racket in the carriage. I’m seated on the top deck, a glorious view of the flat landscape before me and the train glides on, they even have free wifi – must resist!

I should be back in Brussels, getting breakfast and checking out to meet up with DK and Debruit for a car ride to The Hague but instead I’m on my way to Utrecht to slot an afternoon’s digging session in at the Record Planet Mega Record fair. Realising the night before that it was actually only a 35 min train ride away from Den Haag and on the insistence of Andy Votel via a Twitter conversation (‘it’s totally on route!’) I decided to forego the lie in and make the most of my time on the continent this weekend. The record fair at Jaarbeurs is reckoned to be the biggest in the world, certainly in Europe anyway and the scale of it just cannot be comprehended by viewing pictures online alone. Never has so much cardboard and vinyl been crammed into such capacious air craft hanger-like spaces. I’d been once, back in 2004, before my kids were born, thus since preventing me from returning on such a frivolous jolly as a weekend-long record shopping spree. But now I’ve got an excuse, even if only for a day, and an extra train ticket, entry fee and several extra hours of sleep are the only forfeits. The train pulls in to Utrecht Centraal 15 minutes short of midday.

An hour later and I’ve only just made it into the fair, despite it being located less than a 10 minute walk from the station. After queuing for a ticket the mission was on to find a cash point of which there are only two in the foyer, both with a line snaking across the entire floor. There were more back in the station but incredibly all but one of them are out of action. Ticket in hand I finally get through the barrier, past a group of cosplayers in full Stormtrooper garb (that’s new) and begin the daunting task of picking through what seems like the carefully chosen debris of the 20th Century.

overview-record-fair-utrecht-april-2015-8To say that Jaarbeurs is big is an understatement that is so woefully inadequate it’s like saying Jeremy Corbyn has a bit of a job on his hands if he hopes to become the next Prime Minister. It is SO big that you reel as you find yet another aircraft hanger-sized space crammed with even more ephemera than the last one you just spent over an hour briskly jostling through. What I never realised, way back when I first visited the fair, was that the record part only accounts for roughly a third of the overall space in Jaarbeurs, the rest is packed with Europe’s largest vintage collector stalls selling virtually anything you can bring to mind.

IMG_6680Buttons, stamps, coins, vintage toys, new toys, animal bones, African statues, globes, stones, medical research statues, school teaching displays, stained glass windows, lamps, turntables, gramophones, books, magazines, comics, glassware, pottery, jewelry, badges, dolls, clothes, material, masks, cutlery, posters…

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The place is like the most incredible museum you’ve ever been to coupled with the fact that you can buy every exhibit in what resembles the continent’s biggest car boot sale. Imagine Birmingham’s N.E.C. and quadruple it. Another misconception is that it’s all expensive, this isn’t true either, yes there are trophy pieces everywhere, bought by dealers the world over in the hope that they will sell to their biggest captive audience and pay for the trip. But equally there are boxes of cheaper stuff marked at €1 that simply need to be rifled through to find the gold.

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It is however, completely unrealistic to expect to be able to ‘do’ the whole thing even in a weekend let alone an afternoon. I’d decided I was going to go through the other halls before I hit the records as I’d previously walked straight past them and never investigated. Now older and with more than enough vinyl to warrant having the floor of my home studio reinforced because of it I decided to explore the other two thirds I’d previously dismissed.
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It was slim pickings until the third hall, mostly for the fact that I was limited by what I could carry so had to bear in mind that those 20th century designer lamps were just going to have to stay there. Deeper into the throng and nearer to the record stalls that shore up the far end of the layout I started to find pieces to take home. A clutch of hardback bande dessinée of Philippe Druillet‘s best 70s work from a French seller, a Metal Hurlant special on the making of Alien, complete with multiple examples of designs by Giger, Moebius, Ron Cobb and Ridley Scott himself.
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Two handfuls of vintage sci-fi paperbacks with Richard Powers covers from the delightfully named Magic Galaxies Intergalactic Book recycling Company. The bemused Dutch seller inquired what my criteria for buying was after watching me check every cover rather than just the spines of the books. IMG_6706
Just before closing time I chanced upon Grant McKinnon from the West Coast peddling original psychedelic posters and flyers from the 60s Haight Asbury heyday and was caught up in a last minute whirlwind of bartering for a handful of genuine 60s bills bearing the work of Rick Griffin, Wes Wilson and Victor Moscoso.
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Check them out on the web, SF Rock Posters, no fakes, reasonable prices considering the vintage and top guys to boot. As the security guards were ushering the crowds out I spotted the only record I bought during my visit on the next table, a luminous yellow 7″ promo of ‘Pocket Calculator’ by Kraftwerk complete with printed transparent sleeve. Well, I couldn’t go all that way and not buy a single piece of vinyl could I?
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(Delta freight train photo by Chris Vos, taken from the Chrome Angelz Facebook group)

Metal Made Flesh 2 kickstarter


Readers might remember me featuring the first Metal Made Flesh kickstarter a couple of years back. Now the team is back for book 2, expanded with a second artist and bigger goals, two of which they’ve smashed, and they’re approaching the third with 12 days left. Taking liberally from all manner of sci-fi from the last three decades and managing to find new angles on it the book tells three different tales of a trio of characters and their place in the future cityscape of Tuaoni. You can get both books, T-shirts, original artwork or even appear as a character in the book in the new Kickstarter.
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The Art of Curation at ADE in Amsterdam with Mixcloud

RecordPalaceOpArt A couple of weeks ago I was in Amsterdam, taking part in discussions about ‘The Art of Curation’ with Mixcloud co-founder Nikhil Shah. The chat was hosted by the electronics company Sonos as part of the annual ADE music conference that takes place there, the biggest in Europe. I chose five tracks that linked with the subjects of Music, Art, Sci-Fi, Comics & Design which largely tie into the things I collect and post about on this site. This is the part where the blog eats itself as I blog about myself talking about blogging and readers will hear some familiar names and sounds during the interview.

Raze7frontThe trip was a fruitful one in terms of digging for new things in my time off and I went with a mission for 45s, underground comics and sci-fi paperbacks. Things got off to a poor start with my first stop at Record Palace (Op Art -themed wall display at the top) which is on the outer rim of the centre of the city. I’ve shopped there a few times and it’s always yielded treasures but this time it wasn’t to be. Of the two 7″s I bought (a substandard late 80s Dickie Goodman break-in record and Raze‘s ‘Break 4 Love’) when I returned home to play them I discovered that the disc inside the Raze cover was in fact a Thompson Twins single. My fault for not checking the disc but they were only 50c and there was a strict ‘no playing’ rule on records from the cheap bins. The only good thing about it was the Trevor Jackson-designed cover which, when you look at the ‘dancing’ figures, is actually quite dirty.

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From here I visited Lambiek a few roads away, the oldest comic shop in the world if their website is to be believed and, on the strength of their stock, I can believe it. The shop is about to move to a new premises and their usual gallery space was now a large dumping ground for what looks like all manner of random stock. Very little of it was priced apart from the odd penciled number on an inside cover and many of the piles can contain anything, very little order exists as you can see below.

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But there was some gold there and I soon had a little pile building, the owner unable to direct me to the undergrounds as everything was mixed up due to the impending move. They closed at 5pm and at approximately 4.45 I glanced under a shelf and saw a box that looked like it was exactly what I was looking for. Going through it my suspicions were confirmed and I started pulling out handfuls of British and American underground and independent press comix as fast as I could, some in not-so-good condition but still a lot that you only find on eBay these days.Oz39
This copy of Oz magazine was nestling in the box, looking like a Robert Crumb comic, copies usually go for £10-20 and up.ImagineFoss SubvertComicsx3
These three Subvert comics by Spain were a bit water-damaged but I’d never seen copies before aside from being reprinted in other mags.Skull_TwoFistedZombies MotherOats1&3
No.s 1 and 3 of Mother Oats Comix by the late, great Dave Sheridan.
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They had five copies of this Radical Rock comic, all badly water-damaged but readable. You can easily find these for about $5 on eBay, but the postage triples the price as they’re always from the States.
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I wasn’t going to leave a comic behind with a cover like the Bizarre Sex one, the issue of Tasty has some really nice abstract acid trip visuals inside although the cover isn’t up to much.
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That Dutch NIMFKE comic on the right is probably one of the filthiest things I’ve ever seen in comic form.
CrackedMadStarWars SickThere was more but here’s a lot of it. I’d been tempering my choices, thinking that this was adding up to quite a bundle but some of this stuff just doesn’t come around in Europe that often, even in this condition. Upon taking them to the counter I couldn’t quite believe my luck when the assistant proceeded to charge me one Euro for each comic with only two for some slightly over-sized books like Imagine and Heavy Metal. Digs like that don’t happen every day.

On then, with a spring in my step, to a couple more comic shops further north near Centraal station. On my way I passed a shop with a big sign outside, ‘Used Books, English Language’, and took a quick peek to see what it was like. Once inside I inquired if they had any vintage sci-fi paperbacks and the guy at the counter pointed to eight large apple boxes stacked in the aisle. “Four for ten Euros“, he quipped, “How long until you close?”, “20 minutes!”. I probably got through about two thirds of them, given that they were two rows deep inside but it was worth it.
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Will Barras ‘Yeah Man!’ book

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Thirteen random photos plucked from the new Will Barras book ‘Yeah Man!’, a beautifully produced 200+ page hardback of paintings, drawings and murals from Will’s career in the past 2 decades. It’s interesting to see his early styles develop and change throughout the book as he experiments with different mark making techniques, including collage at one point. I realised that there were whole eras of his work I wasn’t familiar with from the first examples I’d seen when we first met in the late 90s.

His initial comic-y style has become even more fluid and the black outlines have slowly disappeared into a darker, more painterly palette. There’s still the dynamic forced perspectives, lithe figures and futuristic vehicles, now joined by sprawling cityscapes and psychedelic colour combinations. I was delighted to get a signed copy with an original sketch too, “Thanks man!”. You can order a copy here.

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