Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth uncensored signing

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The Gosh Comics signing of the new Judge Dredd ‘The Cursed Earth uncensored’ book was smash hit on Saturday. When I arrived the queue snaked out of the shop, across the road and round the block and they’d just sold out of the graphic novel in question. A quick run to the nearby Orbital Comics revealed the same and Forbidden Planet too. No joy but I did manage to get a snap of the legends, Mike McMahon and Brian Bolland inside the shop before I departed – not a wasted journey at all.

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In case you’re wondering what all the fuss was about, the story in question was the first ever Judge Dredd ‘epic’ (ie. a multi-issue story that spanned over 20 issues) that ran in 2000AD back in 1978. Several episodes featured characters from the McDonalds, Burger King and Jolly Green Giant companies who swiftly slapped the comic with a legal warning that these properties were their copyright. Since the original issues, all reprints of the story have been missing these episodes but recent changes in the law meant that they can now be restored because they fall into the parody category and thus, don’t infringe on copyright as they once did.

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From what I’ve seen, the new hardback version is beautifully restored and features both character and career-defining artwork from McMahon and Bolland, the only artists on the strip, alongside writer Pat Mills. Co-incidentally, the first issue of the comic I ever picked up, as an impressionable eight year old, contained the first episode of the story and I was hooked. I even went so far as to commission Mike to recreate his cover for that prog (61) for me a few years back. The initial print run is now apparently sold out so good luck in tracking one down.

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Funki Porcini’s Conservative Apocalypse

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Last night I played at the launch party for Funki Porcini‘s new album, ‘Conservative Apocalypse’, at the BFI (never a more apt title that in the last two weeks). He showed his rescore to the Russian film, ‘Chemi Bebia’ which was crazed and dark and hilarious in equal measure. You can now see the new short that goes with the album of the same name via the magic of YouTube too…

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Lots of old faces came out for the night, it was like a small reunion of people from the last 20 years, back when Ninja Tune was in Clink Street, London Bridge. Graeme Ross took this photo of me with a strategically placed BFI notice.

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You can now buy Funki’s new album as a rather nifty box set and he has a new website too

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Rat Records instore Soundtrack set w. Jonny Trunk

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Lo, and did the hordes descend onto Rat Records in Camberwell like a plague of locusts and the music flowed freely, from the decks to the racks and into the bags of the hungry vinyl scavengers. Sometimes it didn’t even make it into the racks, being bagsied whilst still on the turntable by eagle-eared punters inquiring, ‘what’s this playing?’. Jonny Trunk and I played whilst Lucy and Pete (behind the camera below) served and a wonderful afternoon was had by all.
Rat has a policy of restocking their shelves with new stock every Saturday and several hundred discs make their way onto the floor each and every weekend for the regulars who are at the door at the 10.30 opening time. This past weekend they had an additional box of soundtracks, library and weird music to add to that, the difference being that no one knew what any of it was until Jonny or I played it so the music stood or fell on its own merits. A collection they’d got in recently was put aside specially for this purpose and most of what was played in the two and half hour set you can hear below was sold. I even added a clutch from my own collection to the box.

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As the box emptied and more friends arrived at the shop it was decided that a drink was needed and the nearby Stormbird bar was chosen, partly because it’s the only place in London you can get a bottle of Pastelism, a beer brewed by Domino Records band, The Pastels. Much was consumed and many words were spoken of the crate-digging, vinyl-hunting nature alongside Tom Central (Keep Up!), PC (DJ Food), Graeme (Frenchbloke & Son) Ross, Zoe Lucky Cat Baxter and more. Robin the Fog and Hannah Brown from Resonance FM were also on hand to conduct an impromptu recording for their Near Mint show and the results can be heard below. The results of the alcohol consumption can also be heard as the show progresses too! It was great to see so many friends and play in my local record shop among like-minded punters and there are plans to do a rematch at Audio Gold in Crouch End soon. If any other record stores want to host this kind of event in the future then get in touch…

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Beautiful typography on one of Adam James Seth-Ward‘s purchases.

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The Force Awakens holographic vinyl release

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Several boxes were ticked last Monday night when I was invited to Abbey Road Studios in North London to feature on a panel to talk about Star Wars and its influence on music over the last near 40 years. It was part of the launch of a new vinyl edition of the soundtrack to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, complete with holographic Tie Fighters and Millennium Falcons etched into the surface of the two discs by Tristan Duke.

Abbey Rd StormtrooperJournalist Andrew Harrison (Your Empire Needs You T-shirt) chaired a small panel of myself, Tristan Duke (peeking over my shoulder) – the man responsible for the holograms, and Alex Milas (centre back, editor of Metal Hammer magazine and life-long SW fan). After plenty of nerdy fan banter two First Order Storm Troopers strode in to deliver the LP to Tristan who then played it as it was projected onto the screen above. Food was served, vinyl was cooed over, photos were taken with Storm Troopers and much was discussed of a fanboy nature.

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A few days later I took on trying to capture the holograms from my vinyl copy at home. This was easily achieved with just direct sunlight or you can use a torch or lamp in dark conditions. This is what the hologram looks like in normal light (above) and this is what it looks like when having direct light pointed at it (below)

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TFALP_embossThe LP sleeve is printed on thick mirror board card which makes the star field sparkle when light hits it and the cover logo is embossed. It’s a beautiful package that Disney/Universal have really gone the extra length to get looking and feeling special. There’s also a 16 page 12″-sized booklet with a forward by JJ Abrams and stills from the film.
It’s released worldwide on Friday, June 17th.

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On the panel I remarked on how the new release is so like the original OST in layout – minimal and tasteful. That made be want to dig out my 1977 copy, check the poster and gatefold. I’d forgotten how big the poster was!SWvsTFALP_ SWLP +poster SWposter

How many Millennium Falcons? Early John Berkey concept painting when the Falcon was a rebel fighter – there’s a fascinating glimpse at more Star Wars Berkey prelim paintings on his siteSWgatefoldSWLPback

Funki Porcini album launch at the BFI

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I’ll be joining my old friend and label mate James Braddell aka Funki Porcini on July 7th for a night of film and music at the BFI in London. As well aa launching his new album, Conservative Apocalypse, he’ll be showing his re-score to Kote Mikaberidze’s silent film Chemi Bebia (65min). Full of clever camera trickery, this Georgian film appeared for only a few days in January of 1929 before being banned for 39 years, and is little known in the West.

James will be talking through some of the new film work he’s been making these past years, some of which will be shown for the first time in the UK. If you’ve ever heard him speak before you’ll know he’s a joy to listen to as he has some of the best anecdotes you’ll ever hear. I’ll be playing in the Benugo bar on the Southbank after the film showing and there will also be some very limited edition versions of the album on sale. Tickets are on sale now here

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Olivetti at the ICA

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The Olivetti exhibition currently at the ICA in London is small but perfectly formed, much like its contents. Blink and you’ll miss it (tucked away in a little room under the stairs to the bar), it’s a beautiful collection of vintage typewriters and word processors supported by original posters, promo material and historical documents.
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Inspired by this tiny treasure trove of gorgeous design I raided my archives of Graphis Annuals and Architecture Aujourd’hui magazines and snapped a few quick shots of Olivetti adverts contained within.

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New Sculpture video for the Splice Festival

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“Untitled” by Sculpture from The Wire Magazine on Vimeo.

More ideas in 8 minutes than some people have in an entire career…

Sculpture will be appearing at the first of 3 nights under the banner of Splice in London next weekend 3rd-5th of June along with many audio-visual acts like The Light Surgeons, DJ Cheeba, Addictive TV, Pete Elastic Eye, Cassetteboy, D-Fuse, Blinkinlab, Matt Black, Plaid, Joe Catchpole, Mixmaster Morris, Matt Sharp, Mark Pilkington and many more.

Splice Festival 2016 from Splice Festival on Vimeo.

Green Party local election leaflet

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Very pleased to see Sadiq Khan win the post of Mayor of London over the weekend but also this campaign leaflet from the Greens raised a smile. With a tagline of ‘Make Your Vote Go Further’, the leaflet can be folded into a paper plane, complete with a note that they’re not so keen on extra runways and please recycle this leaflet. Kudos to the designer who came up with this idea, nicely done.

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Secret 7″ 2016

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Bit late on posting these as it’s been on for a few weeks but I thought I’d let RSD die down a bit and there’s still time to view the Secret 7″ entries before buying day. As every year, I went along to see what was being cooked up on the custom 45 front. This year they reside in the Sonos building in Shoreditch and the sleeves are displayed until May 1st. On May 2nd they are all up for grabs at £50 each which, this year, goes to Amnesty International UK. There are 700 this year and, if you go, make sure you check upstairs as I nearly missed that half.

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The Delaware Road live trailer


The Delaware Road is a psychological thriller & an audio-visual treat for fans of archived electronica, far out jazz & haunted folk grooves. Loosley based on the lives of influential electronic musicians Delia Derbyshire & John Baker from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Compere: Dolly Dolly
Live perfomers: Howlround, The Dandelion Set, Ian Helliwell, The Rowan Amber Mill, Robin Lee, Loose Capacitor, Tim Hill, The Twelve Hour Foundation, Revbjelde.

Now booking for live shows in 2016. Contact: [email protected]
Also available as a 19 track compilation CD + download via Buried Treasure Records

Herne Hill Save The Half Moon music event

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Last minute gig addition, I’ll be playing some music at this on Saturday, it’s a local event for me and there have been lots of things going on in the area recently that threaten the livelihoods of local businesses in this community. A sudden 70% increase in rents to property by the local Dulwich Estate group has already caused one shop to close and the Half Moon Pub, already closed for over two years due to a flood, has had it’s music license revoked unexpectedly. There’s more about it here but basically it boils down to the seemingly unending desire to squash any life and vitality out of London and replace it with the dreaded luxury flats as property owners cash in and squeeze the people who made these areas desirable in the first place out.

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WFMU fundraising marathon

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From one fundraiser for an independent radio station (Resonance FM) to another. This time it’s the turn of WFMU from New Jersey to appeal to the public, starting March 6th until the 20th. One of the items you can receive if you pledge money is a T-shirt with this ‘Space Vinyl’ illustration by Derek Yaniger on it. I love Derek’s work, in the traditions of artists like The Pizz, Shag or, of course, the originator – Jim Flora, painting that Tiki / Beatnik / Hot Rod / Rock n Roll thing with style.

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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.

RIP Clarence Reid aka Blow Fly

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I found the record above at a carboot sale around 1987 in a muddy sports ground in South Park, Reigate. It was shortly after I had started to ‘dig for breaks’, inspired by hip hop and sampling, in as much as a skint 17 year old could ‘dig’ in a small town 30 miles south of London with only an Our Price, a Woolworths and one other indie record shop to excavate. I had no idea what this was but, with a cover like that and on a label called Weird World, I wasn’t about to leave it in the box.

There were no track titles and for good reason; ‘Shake Your Ass’, ‘Bad Fuck’, ‘Suck It’ and ‘Spread Your Cheeks’ were some of the delights contained within. But I knew the signs were good: black artist, 70s release, the word ‘Disco’ put me off a bit but there were all those other LPs on the back too. Who was Blow Fly? The dude in the mask and home made super hero (villain?) suit presumably, and why were all these women naked around him? The ‘For Mature Adults Only’ sticker needn’t have been on there, it was pretty obvious that this wasn’t for kids.

I got it, probably cost 50p, and never showed my parents that particular cover. It contained enough profanity to sink a ship as Blow Fly took established songs and changed the lyrics to suit his dirty mind. The classic ‘What A Difference’ took ‘What A Difference A Day Makes’ and turned it into ‘… A Lay Makes’ while ‘Suck it’ paraphrased ‘Do It ‘Til You’re Satisfied’. Purile stuff for sure and the blueprint for every Blow Fly album I’ve ever heard since but hilarious stuff to a teenage boy. With no internet it was impossible to find out more about the masked man and it wasn’t until I started touring the States in the late 90s, buying from a wider range of records, that I found out who he was and picked up the other albums on the back cover.

The Fly was the alter-ego of Clarence Reid, record producer and songwriter since the 60s, who had started changing the lyrics to hit records for a laugh at parties. Recording an album of them, he created the Blow Fly persona to protect his respectable career name and the rest is history. ‘Disco’ isn’t his best album (and he got sued good and proper for that ‘What A Difference…’ cover) but I’ll remember it with the most affection as it was the first one I found and for introducing me to his weird world. RIP Clarence Reid aka Blow Fly.

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