Kraftwerk. In 3D. In Wallpaper magazine!

Well I wasn’t expecting that, Ralf Hutter guest editing Wallpaper magazine and a multi-page preview of their forthcoming 3D book. Even more surprising is that Christian Marclay features as well (there is an alternate cover by him on some issues too). The issue comes with a free pair of 3D glasses and you can see some of the spreads above.

[singlepic id=3181 w=640 h=980 float=left]

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Smash Hits & The Kraftwerk Kollection

I’ve been waiting for this issue to crop up on Brian McClosekey‘s excellent ‘Like Punk Never Happened’ blog – the 1981 issue with Adam Ant on the cover –  one that I strongly remember, being mad about anything with an Ant attachment at the time. Brian posts complete issues of Smash Hits, every two weeks, 30 years to the day they were first published and he’ll continue until his collection stops. The pages are viewable via Flickr and are slowly forming an excellent time capsule of late 70’s and 80’s pop, in context, as it happened. I was eleven when this was published and 1981 was Adam Ant’s year, he was everywhere, from the pop charts to TV to the daily newspapers. He looked and sounded great, gave good copy and they couldn’t get enough of him.

Another page in this issue caught my eye later on though, a half page advert for five Kraftwerk albums. They had a freak number one in the UK with ‘The Model’ in February 1982 – a traditional post-Xmas quiet spot for record releases. It seems Phonogram were eagerly flooding the market with reissues of their back catalogue at this point though because they’d just released the Computer World album. When I first saw the ad (obviously, re-reading the mag later) I thought, “What? how can they have five albums?”, little knowing that there were another four at least to add to this list. Unfortunately none of these made it to my local record shop but I did manage to get copies of ‘Computer World’, ‘The Man Machine’ and ‘Trans Europe Express’ – all on cassette – the latter of which I took back to the shop, complaining to them that the tape only had one track on side 2 when it listed four. Again, little did I realise all four tracks segued into one so there weren’t any breaks in between (!) I love the way they’ve spelt picture with a ‘k’ in the text and my god do I wish I’d been old enough to see them on that tour.

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3D comics

Biz 3D ZoneFurther to the post about 3D I did last week, I’ve dug out some of the comics I was talking about. Best find was ‘Bizarre 3D Zone’ which is almost Zap Comix in 3D form, including a strip by Robert Williams which works extremely well visually. There were a few underground comics in the the 60’s and 70’s using 3D it seems but not all of them work because the printing is so bad the red/green division can’t be seen too easily.

A company called Blackthorne Publishing spearheaded the 3D comics surge in the late 80’s, buying up licenses to lots of kids shows like Transformers, GI Joe and Star Wars. Their most successful line was, bizarrely, the California Raisins (!?) but they bit off more than the could chew when they acquired the rights to print Michael Jackson’s ‘Moonwalker’ in 3D. The film didn’t do the business expected and their comic flopped, costing them the company. Most of their titles only ran for 1 or 2 issues and the projected Star Wars line (surely a golden ticket?) only made it to issue 3 before the company folded.

In Bizarre 3D Zone there are a few singular page strips that crop up that are quite bizarre indeed, some don’t even work in the conventional 3D way as they are simply only either the green or red. But in amongst the other separated images they give an odd effect and you realise that this is the ultimate in psychedelic comics as it’s playing with your perceptions of the page. I can only imagine what it was doing to hippies on acid way back when.
Zone 3Robt WilliamsZone 6

V23 Calendars from years passed

Around this time of year some of us are thinking about getting new calendars to plan our way through the next 12 months. I’ve just sold several OLD calendars, very beautiful ones designed by Vaughn Oliver at V23. Below are some examples of various months I’ve picked out. The V23 calendars were always very obscure, you couldn’t write on them and you could hardly tell which day or month it was on some, but that wasn’t the point.

V23 July 93 1V23 July 93 2V23 May 96

V23 Mar 96V23 Feb 96V23 mar 93Summer 88

V23 posters 1&2V23 Feb 90 web

Music Week magazine quotes and headlines 1983-84

Music Week mags
I recently sold a pile of nearly 40 issues of Music Week from the end of ’83 and throughout ’84. Reading the news and ongoing concerns back then, nearly 30 years ago, seems like another world next to today’s download culture. Cassette piracy was still a concern, compact discs were only just being introduced, MTV and video promos were the hot item with VHS releases a much hyped format.

No eBay –  Adrians‘ weekly listings in the back of the music press was as near as you got. No iPods –  Sony Walkmans and boom boxes were the carrier of choice. No YouTube – only Top of The Pops, Whistle Test or MTV (if you had cable). No Discogs, Wikipedia or search engines to find out about your music – The NME, Melody Maker, Sounds, No.1, Record Mirror or Music Week every Wednesday or Thursday with Smash Hits, The Face, and i-D (surely the first emoticon?) monthly.

Here are some choice headlines from the issues:
‘Chrysalis sends promo video to NY via satellite’
‘Linn set to challenge CD quality claims with vinyl label’
‘Computer games industry woos record retailers’
‘High hopes for CD’
‘CD set for 1/2m sales in 1983’
‘City reports predicts CD will be ‘household item’
‘Japanese tape 8bn songs a year’
‘Weller to support home-tapers on TV’
‘Dealers angry at the £3 12″ single’
‘No moves on Sunday trading ‘in this season”
‘Quo: End of the Road’ (apparently Status Quo played their last ever gig in ’84!!)

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