Middle Earth flyers part 1

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Middle Earth was one of the original, late 60s psychedelic clubs in London, coming shortly after The UFO (pronounced You-Fo – Underground Freak Out) club on Tottenham Court Rd. and pitching itself up in King St, Covent Garden. It actually started out as The Electric Garden but after a disastrous opening weekend with completely misjudged vibes, heavy security and bizarre VIP areas, it had a change of name as well as management and became Middle Earth. See below for eye witness details of the opening event – all these clippings taken from the International Times magazine online archive which is an invaluable resource of the times.

IT_1967-06-02_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-14_012 Middle Earth raided

Middle Earth, an obvious Tolkien reference, John Peel was one of the resident DJs along with Jeff Dexter who would play to the crowd and the dance floor rather than Peel who would play more for the listeners out there. Jeff told me that they would be situated under the lighting rig for the light show until a small booth was built for them out with the stages for the bands to make them more part of the events. A regular track for him was The Lemon Pipers’ ‘Through With You’ apparently, the nearest thing to an anthem for the nights, he liked this because it was nearly 10 minutes long so he could go for a smoke.

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Above, the listing for the re-opening week, I like the way they were closed on the Friday that UFO was on rather than give the impression that they were competing.

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There was no consistent art direction with the adverts featured in IT and most were dictated over the phone and the magazine would come up with the designs for the issue.

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Below right: A benefit for Oz magazine with a ‘sexy Barney Bubbles Light Show’Barney Bubbles being the alias of Colin Fulcher who went on to design so many great sleeves for Hawkwind, Stiff Records and many more. Along with other pioneers like Liquid Len, he got his nickname from doing light shows where he would heat ink and oil under glass clock faces and project it across the club after witnessing this on the hippy scene in San Francisco on a trip to the States.

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One of the mysteries of the Apple Middle Earth 3 Day festival listed above was that it never officially happened, something I’ll cover in another post, but things were changing for the club around this time. Middle Earth was raided repeatedly by the police and was eventually forced to move to another venue, The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, which I’ll cover in part 2.

UFO Club adverts from International Times magazine

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Recently researching light shows in London around the mid 60s I was perusing the International Times archive online and noticed that the UFO Club had various ‘flyers’ present in each issue around its tenure at the Blarney Club and The Roundhouse during ’66-’67. It’s no surprise as UFO initially gave money to IT and you’ll notice the first event was called Night Tripper / UFO as they couldn’t decide on a name.
There was no format, some had to be decoded and the 27th October ’67 issue featured a piece stating that UFO is Dead! Reading between the lines you can detect some general annoyance that some promised cash flow had been cut off. The final image here maybe or may not be connected but it was on the same page as the club obituary and features lights in the sky.

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There was a posthumous analysis of what killed UFO in IT nearly a year after it closed, comparing the audience’s locations as the popularity grew.

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Rian Hughes’ XX book featured in Electronic Sound

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Very pleased to see Rian Hughes’ new book ‘XX – A Novel, Graphic’ featured so prominently in the new issue of Electronic Sound magazine with a double page of layouts.If you want an idea of what the book’s about then Sci-Fi Now has a very good review.

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The Celestial Mechanic album that I created with Saron Hughes and Robin the Fog soundtrack’s the novel and also gets a mention – you can hear that here https://celestialmechanic.bandcamp.com

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Infinite Illectrik featured in the new issue of Electronic Sound magazine

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My customized turntable – the Quadraphon as I sometimes call it – is featured in the opening spread of this month’s Electronic Sound magazine including a piece I wrote about it. Once again, the magazine is full of so much it’s hard to know where to start – Suzanne Ciani, Sonic Boom, a tribute to Florian Schneider and a peek inside Neil Arthur’s memorabilia collection as well as tech news, tons of reviews and an exclusive Suzanne Ciani 7″ if you subscribe to the double bundle each month. It’s also still one of the best designed mags on the shelves.

But with a lot of major newsagents and record shops closed they’re relying on subscriptions and mail order right now so if you’ve been meaning to take out a subscription then now’s the time. There are also plenty of back issues and other vinyl in their online shop but those bundles sell out pretty fast.

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Beastie Boys article in Mojo

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I missed this last month but the March 2020 issue of Mojo did a feature on the Beastie Boys circa Paul’s Boutique and has asked me for reminisces from the time as well as a photo from the era. I didn’t realise they’d also asked the Dust Brothers, Bill Alder and Chuck D! pretty weird to see my 18 yr old face in that company, especially as I was a rabid fan at the age and would share a bill with the Boys a decade later on the London date of the Hello Nasty tour.

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And here’s the original that was taken from, my 18/19 yr old self photographed short after spraying the piece in the background on a friend’s bedroom.Kevin Foakes:DJ Food 1988
and around the same time with a hand painted jacket I used to wear in college – note graffiti photo join-ups and copies from Subway Art on the wall, car posters and hanging model aircraft were my brother’s. Bottom right, my first stereo that I learnt to scratch on.

Beastie Boys jacket

Print ads from Scientific American magazine

Industrial TectonicsI was recently sorting out a small book collection for someone and ran across a stash of Scientific American magazines from the 60s. Some of the adverts are just beautiful examples of design, from typewriters to paper, electric and gas suppliers and general engineering companies. The standard is very high, considered and fun, attempting to make the banal interesting. Here are some of my favourite examples.

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The three ads below for Fairchild Semiconductor are double pagers – look at that font!

Fairchild Semiconductor 1 Fairchild Semiconductor 2 Fairchild Semiconductor 3 Los Alamos 1 Los Alamos 2 Los Alamos 3

The Olivetti ones below are just stunning, there seems to have been so many of these ads throughout the years, enough to make a huge coffee table book easily. I’ve found them in Graphis annuals and architectural magazines before, there must be hundreds, all seemingly different.

Olivetti 2 Olivetti 3 Olivetti 4 Olivetti equation Public Service Gas & Electric RCA flower I love the little illustrations at the bottom of these Riegel papers ads, they are small sidebar ads near the back of the magazine so I’ve lumped them together in one image.

Riegel Tech Paper 5 UpJohn

Electronic Sound issue 51

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Hats off to Electronic Sound magazine for their next issue cover, the best looking (and smelling) magazine about electronic music celebrates all that is European. For anyone outside the UK reading this, the UK has descended into madness, more than half of us don’t want to leave the European Union, and most of the British people never gave it a second thought until a minority of Tory MPs decided that the new EU tax laws would threaten their bank balances thus forcing a weak Prime Minister’s hand into calling an advisory referendum on something few fully understood, either inside or outside of Parliament. The British people have been duped by the 1% and the right wing press while the supposed ‘opposition’ party has done anything but. Two days after we leave is April 1st – April Fool’s Day in the UK – but our country has become an international joke, due to lose much more than we would ever gain by leaving the EU. Rant over

Dig magazine

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Dig magazine is a new mini magazine that will fit in your pocket (perfect to take to the record shop) full of esoteric info and ones to watch for from a selection of fine DJs. Mr Thing, DJ Format, Mr Krum, Si Spex, Susanslegpolicy and more all spill the beans on a curio from their collection including anecdotes, info and cover images and there’s even a URL at the end so that you can preview said tracks in an online mix. It comes in a neat stickered sleeve that makes it look like a milk crate which the (ironically) CD-sized mag slips inside, waiting to be dug into.

Dig contents

Oh yeah, and some chancer called Strictly Kev has a page in it too, you can order it for £3.50 here…

Dig Format:Food

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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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.

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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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British Underground Press of the Sixties at the A22 Gallery

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Just opened at the A22 Gallery in Clerkenwell is an exhibition supporting the British Underground Press of the Sixties book by Barry Miles and James Birch that collects the covers to all (big claim I know) the major magazines of the late 60s and 70s together. The exhibition features much more than just the magazines though with archive posters, badges, promo material and memorabilia collected together in a mass of psychedelic colour and badly registered print.

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Oz, International Times, Frendz, Gandalf’s Garden, Black Dwarf, Ink, cOzmic Comics and more all feature and it’s a wonder to behold. Some of the covers verge on pornographic and serve to remind of more anarchic and sometimes unsavoury times. The book is spectacular, highly recommended at £35 from Rocket 88 and is also available at the gallery with a deluxe edition containing vintage copies of original undergrounds for a silly money price too.

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Electronic Sound issue 33

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The latest issue of Electronic Sound magazine is a cracker, a huge interview with Gary Numan, an appraisal of Trevor Key’s artwork and an opening page by me, showing the final Rite of Mu with The JAMs that happened in Liverpool recently. You can also get a great remix of Numan’s ‘My Name Is Ruin’ by Meat Beat Manifesto on 7″ if you buy the bundle direct from their website.

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Franco Grignani at the Estorick Collection of Italian Art

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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.

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We Are Watching: Oz magazine at Chelsea Space

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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.

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Electronic Sound magazine ‘Radiophonica’ CD

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Who says CDs can’t look beautiful too? The Radiophonica compilation CD of new, old and unreleased Radiophonic Workshop material is a lovely piece of minimalist design, bound by a tiny tape loop – lovely touch. It’s only available with Electronic Sound magazine from their online shop, no more free cover mounts I’m afraid, but worth every penny. The 12-track album of never-before-heard collaborations, mixes exclusive to this collection of tracks from their forthcoming album of analogue improvisations, and some Delia Derbyshire archive material that has been worked on by the likes of Tom Middleton (Global Communication) and Dot Product.The same issue has a little ad for something only a few weeks away too…

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Beyond 2000AD exhibition glimpse

Beyond2000_poster Beyond2000_progs Beyond2000_records1 Beyond2000_records2 Beyond2000_TimeOutI finally got time to pop into Orbital Comics and see their small but packed exhibition of 2000AD offshoots, tie-ins, cash-ins, memorabilia, music, magazines, toys and so much more. Not having an opening party because it would clash with the comic’s own 40th celebration a couple of weekends ago they’ve decided to have a closing party on Friday March 10th where there will be a podcast recording and music by yours truly among others.
I also just guested on the Big Mouth podcast pre-record, talking about the comic’s legacy which will be available online this coming Sunday. More details as I have it.

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FourFromFoodFridays: 17.2

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Four From Food Fridays – a weekly look at four things that have been doing it for me. They can be new or old, any style so long as it’s been getting some rotation in the studio. From top left:
Bam Bam – Where’s Your Child? (Desire) 7″ (finally!)
Clocolan – Nothing Left To Abandon (Enpeg) Digital (STILL listening to this, officially out today)
Various – A Krautrock Sampler (ES) CD cover mount w. Electronic Sound mag #25 – really good!
Run The Jewels – RTJ3 (Mass Appeal) LP/DL (you know these guys)

Flexibition 2017: Stephen Coates #4 – Echo magazine No.2

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From the collection of Stephen Coates (The Real Tuesday Weld, Antique Beat, X-Ray Audio), Issue 2 of Echo (“the magazine you play on your phonograph”) arrived in October 1959 containing five off-white, semi transparent flexi discs with features on Steve Allen, Queen Elizabeth‘s Royal Tour, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, the Ahmad Jamal Trio and Le Mans 1959. Art director Tony Palladino did some lovely work in this issue using very modern type treatments, cropped photos and lots of blank space to give it quite a timeless feel.
Echo #2 contents Echo #2 royal tour flexiEcho #2 DH LawrenceEcho #2 Publisher note Echo #2 jazz Echo #2 Riverside recordsEcho #2 flexi stamp Echo #2 Monk stamp2Echo #2 Le MansEcho #2 subscribe2Echo #2 advert2Echo #2 back
Issue 1 was featured a few days back and if you missed a look at issue 3. back in my original Flexibition posts then look no further. To my knowledge Echo lasted for four issues before folding, a potted history of which can be found on Boing Boing by John Wilcock.

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