Random images from the desktop

Michael David Brown
I’ve had these images cluttering up the desktop for too long, seen whilst browsing the web, downloaded and researched later, let’s have a tidy up. Above is something I saw just the other day, an amazing illustrator, Michael David Brown, an American artist who I wasn’t familiar with at all. There’s not too much of his stuff on the web but it’s all good.

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Above is a sleeve from the Italo group Easy Going from the late 70s, I love it with the Shatter typeface and the star in the middle placed just so. The track ‘Fear’ is excellent too if you like a bit of electronics with your disco. The original cover is embossed too apparently.

Franz Altschuler CoverSpread

Monster Tales CoverSpread
The two covers above were by Franz Altschuler, a German artist who emigrated to America, these seem to be the only examples of this kind of style within his work, very 70s Heinz Edelmann.

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The only info I can find on the above is that it appears in an exhibition catalogue, ‘Revolution et Cinema’ and is by the Cuban artist Antonio Fernandez Reboiro, seen in the 70s Sci-Fi Art group on Tumblr. ‘Siempre es 26’ translates as ‘It’s always 26’.

The six images below were created by an artist using AI and I stupidly didn’t retain who it was so if anyone recognises them then please leave a comment. They’ve nailed the collage aspect of the medium which is difficult from experience.
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Madam Tussaud’s / Planetarium underground poster

Automaton 1
I was watching a Jamiroquai video – NO, stay with me! Why was I doing that you ask? Well, the song is a bit of an electro pop banger and Jay Kay is some sort of robot coming out of hibernation in a post-apocalyptic world who just wants to see the sun. It’s supposed to be a warning against living a digital life and that we should get back to nature, which is fair enough really. To make you believe he’s an automaton (the title of the song) he has an automated headdress that lights up and at one point stops in a subway to focus on an old poster on the wall.

Automation 2
Weirdly it’s a joint Madam Tussaud’s / London Planetarium poster, designed in the style of Peter Max or Milton Glaser, that popular pop style made famous by Heinz Edelmann’s Yellow Submarine. I very much doubt it was done by either Max or Glaser because they generally sign their work but it looked cool enough for me to google it as I’d not seen it before. Typing in ‘Madam Tussauds Planetarium poster’ only netted two results, different shots of the same poster, on the wall in a subway in the disused Aldwych underground station. One of the shots, by Payne & Gunter, was very well framed so I downloaded it.

MT Pt orig
On close inspection it was pretty obvious that it was the same poster, so we all know where parts of the ‘Automaton’ video was shot at the very least. The wear and tear of time, coupled with what looks like a few people stubbing cigarettes out on parts of the image (that dates it!) mean that the poster isn’t in the best condition. So I couldn’t resist cleaning the image up and restoring it to some of its former glory. What an amazing design!

MT PT Restored-Recovered 2 web

Talking of Milton Glaser, there’s a stunning looking book of his work coming out next month via Phaidon.
Pre-order here
Milton Glaser book
And talking of Peter Max, I just acquired this set of his Book of Red, Blue and Yellow from the excellent Book Cellar in Camberwell. Max is sadly embroiled in a guardianship case in the US whilst suffering ill health, his daughter has been trying to extract him for some time now, for more info follow Free Peter Max

Max Books x3

High Meadows psychedelic poster site

HM - Mainline Love, artist Unknown. 1969
Mainline Love, artist Unknown, 1969

High Meadows is a new account showcasing an incredible collection of psychedelic posters inherited from a lifelong collector who has many obscure examples I’ve never seen before. As well as prime examples of classic posters by the likes of Hapshash & The Coloured Coat there are many uncredited images including black light posters that would have been sold in head shops and Op Art designs that rarely crop up in the usual exhibitions or books. Well worth checking out on Instagram and Facebook, they’re posting new examples daily at the moment – all images and info here are taken from their site.

HM Ass Id Egg by Nick Nickolds, 1967
Ass Id Egg by Nick Nickolds, 1967

HM Cyclops by LeRoy Olson, 1971
Cyclops by LeRoy Olson, 1971

HM Electric Pig by Joe Roberts Jr, 1969
Electric Pig by Joe Roberts Jr, 1969

HM Inner Zonk, Artist Unknown, Year Unknown
Inner Zonk, Artist Unknown, Year Unknown

HM International Image by Ian Andrew Galbraith, 1967
International Image by Ian Andrew Galbraith, 1967

HM Orange Eye Circle, unknown artist 1968
Orange Eye Circle, unknown artist, 1968

HM Untitled, Asher Ein-dor, 1972
Untitled, Asher Ein-dor, 1972

HM Ziggy Stardust by Joseph Pentagno. 1972
Ziggy Stardust by Joseph Pentagno, 1972

2022

The main thing I’ve been doing this year is learning new software, lots involving AI algorithms that still seem like some kind of strange magic.


It started last year with the Moises software that can split stereo sound files into individual stems which opens up all sorts of possibilities and continued with NightCafe Creator where you can create incredible images from inputting a line of descriptive text. This has yielded a huge bank of images to draw from, some that have already become record sleeve illustrations (I just didn’t tell anyone). It’s all old hat now because AI art is everywhere on the web with thousands of images flooding our feeds on a daily basis but when I first wrote these words in early 2022 it was extremely addictive, if at an infant stage in its development. Just in the last six months alone AI has taken huge leaps in definition and feels like a giant shift in the art of image-making even if still has trouble with hands, it’s certainly divided people’s opinions.
Another AI app is the Topaz suite of image enhancers, the foremost being Gigapixel AI, the best image enhancer / upscaler I’ve ever seen, this has become part of my daily usage now alongside Photoshop and Indesign as a necessary tool to clean up images along with its Denoiser and Sharpener sister apps.
I (finally) got myself an iPad so that I could learn Procreate and again, a whole new world opens up with the possibilities this incredible app gives you. I never could justify getting a tablet, but seeing one of my sons drawing on his, wanting to go digital with some of my comic-buying and having a decent surface to learn Ninja Jamm on made it a necessary piece of kit. Learning to paint on it with one of my sons was among one of my favourite moments this year.
In the analogue world another revelation was a record cutting process pioneered by Ben Soundhog at Plastidisc where software that can convert an image into a waveform then cuts that image as a playable disc. The possibilities are endless and you can make a record without even playing one note.

QMk3 set up
My own experiments with the refining of my Quadraphon turntable have made for a sleeker, more portable and adaptable design along with the fantastic 4 channel Omnitronic TRM-402 mixer and the Ninja Tune/Erica Synths Zen Delay FX unit. I can make analogue tracks via one deck on the fly and jamming with this set up can yield hours of material, a refreshing new way to make music. Also becoming an author on good old fashioned paper felt pretty good too, I think I might have the book bug now. I hope you all have a Happy New Year and a riproaring 2023…

Music 2022v2

Music:
Clocolan – Empathy Alpha LP (Redpan)
Brian Eno – The Lighthouse (Sonos HD)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Omnium Gatherum LP (Flightless)
Twilight Sequence – Trees in General: and the Larch 12″ (Castles In Space)
WTCHCRFT – Drugs Here 12″ (Balkan Vinyl)
Ghost Power – Ghost Power LP (Duophonic Super 45s)
Dexorcist – Night Watch 12″ (Yellow Machines)
Project Gemini – The Children Of Scorpio LP (Mr Bongo/Garden’s End)
Regal Worm – Worm! LP (Quatermass)
The Advisory Circle – Full Circle LP (Ghost Box)
Fenella – The Metallic Index (Fire Records)
S’Express & Daddy Squad – Music 4 The Mind DL

Podcasts:
The Bureau of Lost Culture (Soho Radio)
Cartoonist Kayfabe (YouTube)
We Buy Records (We Made This)
The Jonny Trunk Podcast (Patreon)
Oh God, What Now? (Podmasters Prod.)
The Tone Generation – Ian Helliwell
Peel Acres – Tom Ravenscroft (BBC Sounds)
The Bunker (Podmasters Prod.)

Events 2022

Gigs / Events:
Lux @ 180 Strand, London
Victor Vasarely – Universe exhibition @ Selfridges, London
Premier of Who Killed The KLF? @ Leake St, London
The Orb play U.F.Orb @ The Fox & Firkin, London
Bring The Paint festival, Leicester
Staying in a restored Futuro House, Somerset
Fogfest @ Iklectik, London
Glissando Guitar Orchestra @ Club-85, Hitchin
Funki Porcini’s Lasarium @ Iklectik, London
Wheels of Light launch event @ Raven Row, London
The Trunk Groovy Record Fayre @ Mildmay Club, London
At Home With The Boyle Family film launch @ Iklectik, London
Magnetic Flow exhibition, @ LaVallée, Brussels

Design 2022

Design / Packaging:
Night Cafe / Midjourney – the most fun/frustrating web AI creation tools
Jed St. Christopher – The Further Diffusion of Useful Knowledge 10″ lathe cut (Buried Treasure) by Nick Taylor
Twilight Sequence – Trees in General: and the Larch 12″ (Castles In Space) by Zeke Clough
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Ominium Gatherum LP by Jason Galea
Sculpture – Malculus / Photo Synth 7″ + zoetrope pack by Rueben Sutherland
The Advisory Circle – Full Circle LP (Ghost Box) by Julian House
Clay Pipe Mini Pipe 3″ CD series by Francis Castle
Monochrome Echo – The City & The Stars LP (Castles In Space) by Nick Taylor
Drumetrics – Phuzzle 10″

Artists incorporating AI into their work:
Ko_Computer
Douggy Pledger
Alex Klim
Will Toulan
Scott Wetterschneider
Stuart Smith
Steve Scott (image below by Steve Scott)

Steve Scott

Books comics 2022

Books / Magazines / Comics:
Grrrl Scouts – Jim Mahfood (Image)
99 Balls Pond Road – Jill Drower (Scrudge Books) – now reprinted in text-only paperback and retitled ‘The Exploding Galaxy: Performance Art, LSD and Bent Coppers in the Sixties Counterculture’ – an absolute must for 60s counter culture historians
Radio Spaceman – Mike Mignola & Greg Hinkle (Dark Horse)
Mental Hygiene – Kate Gibb
A-Z of Record Shop Bags – Jonny Trunk (Fuel)
Mud Sharks – Dave Barbarossa
Good Pop, Bad Pop – Jarvis Cocker (Vintage)
House Music – Andy Votel (The Modernist)
Judge Dredd – Brian Bolland (Apex Edition)
Contemporary Collage magazine (digital)
Defying Gravity – Jordan Mooney w. Cathi Unsworth
The Delaware Road deluxe edition – Alan Gubby, Dolly Dolly (Buried Treasure)
69 Exhibition Road – Dorothy Max Prior (Strange Attractor)
Judge Dredd – Mike McMahon (Apex Edition)
It’s Lonely At The Centre Of The Universe – Zoe Thorogood (Image Comics)
The Black Locomotive – Rian Hughes (Picador)

Film /TV:
The Book of Boba Fett (Disney+)
Get Back (Disney+)
Who Killed The KLF?
Pistol (Disney+)
The Boys (Amazon Prime)
In The Court of the Crimson King (Toby Aimes)

2022 Efforts2

Another year over and what have I done?
Finished The Real Tuesday Weld’s ‘Dreams’ LP/CD and ‘Late Night Reveries’ cassette artwork
Appeared on the Bureau of Lost Culture podcast, 45 Live show, mixed an episode of new online show, Genius & Soul (still not broadcast)
Re-designed an old classic logo for The Herbsmen
Adapted The Designers Republic’s Humanoid artwork for a FSOLDigital CD release
Designed Hawksmoor’s ‘Head Coach’ CD for Spun Out Of Control
Recorded with Dave Barbarossa for a future music project
Finished and published the Wheels of Light book for Four Corners Books with press coverage from The Quietus, Shindig!, The Observer, Velocity Books, Moonbuilding, Electronic Sound, Creative Review and more.
Had a track featured on the Diary of a Madman compilation on Bibliotapes in aid of Ukrainian Red Cross
Refined my Quadraphon turntable into a Mk.3 version
Got featured in the 2000AD Summer Special, music edition, talking about my love of the comic
Made a record by etching a playable image into a disc
Compiled, remixed and edited 30 years worth of games footage for DICE’s anniversary, making an 11 minute version then condensing it into 90 seconds.
Redesigned The Cinematic Orchestra’s ‘Every Day’ LP for the 20th anniversary edition from original design concepts
Designed Stasis, AsOne, Paul ‘Damage’ Bailey and Humanoid 12″s and reinterpreted Mike Dred’s ‘OverMind’ LP art for De:tuned
Also designed the AsOne2 LP for De:tuned
Had a collage featured in Contemporary Collage magazine
Mixed a new religious-themed set for the Tales To Enlighten 2 Kickstarter
Reformatted Dave Barbarossa’s Mud Sharks book for publication.
Interviewed Zoe Lucky Cat Baxter, Andy Votel, Alex Paterson and DJ Format for Dust & Grooves book 2.
Designed The Real Tuesday Weld’s 3″ CD Xmas card.

RIP:
Sidney Poitier, James Mtume, Meatloaf, Barry Cryer, Ian Kennedy, Douglas Trumbull, Bamber Gascoigne, Betty Davis, Jan Pieńkowski, Philip Jeck, Chantal Passamonte, Garry Leach, June Brown, Jordan, David McKee, Klaus Schulze, Neal Adams, George Perez, Vangelis, Rat Records, Alan Grant, Bob Rafelson, Bernard Cribbens, Olivia Newton-John, Lamont Dozier, Raymond Briggs, Queen Elizabeth II, William Klein, Jean-Luc Godard, Ramsey Lewis, Pharoah Sanders, Kim Jung Gi, Robbie Coltrane, Joyce Sims, Keith Levene, Nik Turner, Wilco Johnson, Tom Philips, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Manuel Gottsching, Terry Hall, Martin Duffy, Mike Hodges, Pelé, Vivienne Westwood, Anita Pointer.

Looking forward to:
The Out in 2000AD
Supporting the Art of Noise at the Jazz Cafe on Jan 4th/5th
Conform to Deform – The Weird & Wonderful World of Some Bizarre – Wesley Doyle (Jawbone Press)
The The – 1$ One Vote 7″ (Lazarus)
The conclusion of The Real Tuesday Weld’s Swan Songs trilogy?…
Tales To Enlighten: The New Testament
The Kevin O’Neill Apex Edition (Rebellion)
The return of Rave Wars
Spider-Man – Across The Spider-Verse

The Out 2023

Wheels of Light interview with the Quietus

SW wheel filmJohn Doran from The Quietus about my book, Wheels of Light and we dug into what light shows are all about and how I came to make the book in the first place. I sent them a few images not in the book including the rare Orion Star Wars wheel above, shot at Larry Wooden‘s place from an original film from his archive. Remastered versions of all his FX wheels are available from Larry via www.orioneffects.co.uk and he has some originals for sale in the heritage section as well as new designs.
Read the interview here
Buy the book here

WOL in RT East

Mini CDs #29: The Real Tuesday Weld – Mid Winter Melodies

TRTW MWM deck

This always comes round so quickly, for the last four years I’ve designed the 3″ Xmas card for Stephen Coates‘ project The Real Tuesday Weld. The previous years have seen a complicated fold out origami cover which sometimes sent us insane but this year we’ve let you do the folding with this build-it-yourself Antique Beat Stereogram and vinyl effect 3″ CD. The five tracks on it are new or exclusive and point the way towards the final release in the Swan Songs trilogy, Bone, which will hopefully appear next year to accompany Blood and Dreams as the curtain falls on Stephen’s two decade long alias. You can find Mid Winter Melodies here

TRTW MWM cardTRTW MWM card back
TRTW MWM CD
TRTW MWM makingTRTW MWM deck back
TRTW MWM deck made
TRTW MWM platter side
TRTW MWM platter

Bandcamp Friday Openmind artwork selection

Yeti Janko cover
It seems it doesn’t rain, it pours, suddenly several releases I’ve done the sleeve design for are all on sale or pre-order this week. Above and below is Janko Nilovic and Yeti on the Pads 7″ I did during one of the Covid lockdowns using a collage from around 10 years ago as the front cover, this has taken years to come to fruition.
Buy hereYeti Janko back
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Next is a very new design that I’ve only just signed off for print, The Real Tuesday Weld‘s annual 3″ CD Xmas card is a buildable stereogram with mini vinyl effect 5 track CD. Order here There’ll be more from them next week…
MWM card
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DE038LTD-Cover-mockup Coloured Vinyl
At last Kirk Degorgio‘s ‘The Unveiling’ 12″ is revealed, this comes in black and black vinyl variants from those lovely De:tuned people. Take your pick here

DE038-Cover-mockup Black
TCO Every Day 20th front inside And, as previously mentioned, The Cinematic Orchestra‘s 20th anniversary edition of their ‘Every Day’ album went on sale yesterday, remade and revised from an original graphic concept I had when first designing the artwork in 2002. Pre-Order now

TCO Every Day 20th front
TCO Every Day 20th back

The Delaware Road omnibus edition


The Delaware Road deluxe edition unwrapping, the omnibus edition is out today via Buried Treasure and neatly brings together years worth of work and research by Alan Gubby, aided by poet Dolly Dolly, designer Nick Taylor and illustrator Jarrod Gosling. Originally conceived as a documentary film by Alan 15 years ago then rewritten as a fictional account of the Radiophonic Workshop’s perhaps two most famous practitioners, Delia Derbyshire and John Baker, the Delaware project then expanded into a compilation album and live performance.

DR packageDR cover
I went to the first incarnation in Reading back in 2015, you can read about that here. For the second, more ambitious outing at the disused Nuclear Bunker at Kelvedon Hatch in Essex, I was on the bill – more about that here. The third incarnation then morphed into a mini festival in a Salisbury Plain army base which nearly didn’t happen but was an incredible collection of performers and people the likes of which haven’t been seen since, see photos from that here.

DR seal
DR postcards
A six part comic series that followed – illustrating the whole story as originally envisaged – and now the whole project has been collected into a smart omnibus edition with notes, photos, preliminary designs and more, all wrapped in a beautiful cover that brings to mind the Festival of Britain. Out today, I think the limited deluxe edition with 4″ lathe cut disc has now sold out but this book tells the whole story, both fictional and then from the inside, of this most amazing series of events.
Order it here, right now, plus it’s Bandcamp Friday so more of it goes to the artist and label.

DR contents
DR insides

The Cinematic Orchestra – Every Day (20th Anniversary Edition)


Finally I can talk about this, it’s been in the planning since the summer and now it’s announced. A 3xLP reissue of The Cinematic Orchestra‘s ‘Every Day’ album with extras, revised artwork and a gatefold sleeve. I was asked by Jason Swinscoe to remake the album art from the original files but go back to an early concept (actually the first version) that I’d submitted in 2002.

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I was happy to do this as I’d never been entirely happy with how the original artwork finally turned out so this was a chance to have a second go and I am really happy with how it’s turned out. Pre-order yours here also here for Bandcamp Friday

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More fantasy film mash ups via AI

Giger Henson 1
Furthermore to the fantasy film collaborations in the Tron / Jodorowsky post, here’s some more. “On the set of 1984 secret collaboration movie between Jim Henson Studios and HR Giger by Bruno Samper – many more on his Facebook. It’s funny to see some people getting really het up about the fact that people aren’t stating that this isn’t real and even more people are falling for it and thinking it is.

Giger Henson 2
Giger Henson 3
Giger Henson 4
Giger Henson 5
Douggy Pledger has been doing incredible work for the last year now and has really turned out some hilariously disturbing work including a book called To Hell With AI. Here’s his take on a 1920’s version of the Star Wars saga, ‘Start War’ and it’s lashed together sequel, ‘Stop Wars’.

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Fantasy Jodorowsky Tron visualisations by Johnny Darrell

Jodo Tron 1 poster

There seems to be a current trend in AI circles of mashing up film genres or visualising existent films either within different time periods or with different directors.
Johnny Darrell has imagined both Tron films as visualised and directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky using the AI app Midjourney. These are all created by the AI app via prompts with only the typography on the posters being added later via Photoshop (AI still isn’t great at letter forms but is getting better all the time). These are only a sampling of the images he’s created, loads more on his Facebook page.

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Jodo Tron 1 13
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Jodo Tron 1 8
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Jodo Tron 1 5
Jodo Tron 1 4
Jodo Tron 1 3
Jodo Tron 1 2
Jodo Tron 1 1
Jodo Tron 2 poster
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Jodo Tron 2 16
Jodo Tron 2 15
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Retinal Circus gig posters 1966-68

Retinal Circus July 17-19
A selection of gig posters for the Retinal Circus. The Circus nights, promoted by Roger Schiffer, ran from summer 1967 to the end of 1968 in a basement venue in Vancouver, Canada and would play host to many of the top bands of the day in the late 60s. The main poster artist was Steve Seymour who managed to weave all sorts of intricate typography into each image including dates, bands, start and end times and even a dot-to-dot puzzle which spelt out ‘surprise’ when filled in. The main exception I can see being the Velvet Underground one by Frank Lewis who also did other posters around Vancouver, early Afterthought ones being an example, Vancouver’s psychedelic venue before the Retinal Circus.
There was also a light show called The Retina Circus in Seattle at the same time but they weren’t connected, the main two house lighting crews were called Addled Chromish and Ecto Plasmic Assault.
*Thanks to Greg Evans from the Acid Rain light show in Victoria, Canada for additional info.
Retinal Circus Aug 13-18 1968

Retinal Circus Aug 20-24 1968

Retinal Circus Aug 27-Sept 1 1968

Retinal Circus April 11-13

Retinal Circus July 25-27

Retinal Circus Mar 8-9

Retinal Circus May 23-25

Retinal Circus May 30-Jun1

Retinal Circus Oct 4-6

Retinal Circus Sept 27-29

Retinal Circus Oct 31 - Nov 3

Moonbuilding issue 2 out today

Moonbuilding vol.2

The new edition of Moonbuilding, the quarterly magazine by ex-Electronic Sound writer Neil Mason, published by Castles In Space, is out today. It features a 2 page interview with me about my new book, Wheels of Light, and the mag also comes with a free CD of CiS artists appearing at the label’s Levitation festival next month.

You can order it here and there is also an option to get issue 1 or a bundle of both issues.

Moonbundle

My Wheels of Light book is out today!

Kev by Larry Wooden
It’s publication day for my book ‘Wheels of Light’ from Four Corners books – here’s some pictures from the launch night on Wednesday by Pat Grimm and myself. The Optikinetics crew Rob, Tony and original co-founder Neil Rice were in attendance as was wheel artist Jennie Caldwell (see her amazing designs in the book).

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WOL Launch party
Larry Wooden was also holding court with his box of original Orion wheels and a portfolio of original wheel art dating back to the 70s.

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Here is is holding the War of the Worlds painting by artist David Hardy. He’d also made me a one-off Wheels of Light promo wheel and gifted a remastered Star Wars test wheel. He’s busy remastering all the old Orion wheels from the original art, the colours of which are sometimes quite a bit different.

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Opti by Larry
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Stuart Warren-Hill (Hexstatic/Holotronica) is pictured showing Neil Rice one of his homemade picture wheels, and Pat and Mariko are bathing in the liquid light.

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Rotating prism attachment for Solar 250 lens.

Patgrimm photo

You can order the book here for a history of the British companies like Optikinetics, Orion and Pluto who made these gorgeous objects. Lots of the original art for the picture wheels is featured as well as promotional material and interviews with some of the people behind the scenes. I hope you all find something to enjoy in here and maybe a few things never seen before.

Dave Barbarossa – Mud Sharks

Mud cover
It’s all books on here lately, I’ve been helping Dave Barbarossa realise a third, print-on-demand edition of his first novel, Mud Sharks, recently – a semi biographical, semi-fictional retelling of his upbringing and road to stardom in various bands. Fans of a certain age will know him from the first iteration of Adam & The Ants, then Bow Wow Wow, he later went on to drum with Beats International, Republica and Roland Gift among others.
Mud back
The book is a rapid-paced ascent through a troubled childhood, dirt poor upbringing in 70s London into a world of punk and out the other side, a proper rags to riches story, told intelligently with a keen turn of phrase.
Mud dedi
You can order copies from here or message Dave directly through his Facebook and he will sign and dedicate a copy to you.
As a thankyou I got to look through untold Ant/Bow Wow Wow treasures at his place including acetates, diaries, scrapbooks and more. He also gifted this original proof copy of the Young Parisians single cover and promo photo to me as a thank you. The dedication is a reference to something Adam wrote in a log book Dave owns of the making of the Dirk Wears White Sox album where each track is broken down into instruments, sections, notes and recording info.
YP front
YP back
Ants photo

Wheels Of Light book

WheelsofLight_cover editInadvertently, I’ve written a book! I say written but it’s really more picture-heavy with a contextual history provided, but my name is on the cover so what the hell. I’ve been working away on a book of light show projection wheel art for a good few years now in conjunction with the lovely people at Four Corners Books.

optikinetics-liquid-wheels

It started when a friend called me in mid 2019 having discovered a load of original projection wheel art at a lighting company called Optikinetics – one of the original and only surviving companies who made projectors and their accessories from the 70s. After viewing drawers full of art, slides and transparencies I took the idea to Four Corners who I’d previously worked with on Jonny Trunk’s ‘Wobbly Sounds’ book about flexi discs. They were up for it and so we were off, my main job being contextualising the art and interviewing the main players and artists from the UK scene, which led to more art turning up along the way.
Wheels of Light Acid Wheel Light Fantastic Limited
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Wheels of Light Oil Wheel Optikinetics
We were nearing the final stages of the edit and the book was sent to the designer when a vital missing piece of the jigsaw turned up. A certain Larry Wooden – proprietor of Orion Lighting and originator of the panoramic picture wheel – had been missing in action since I started to track down the original people involved in the business of making wheels. I’d resigned myself to having a passage written by Larry back in 2009 in the book as his only contribution – taken (with permission) from the Funky Parrot website – but suddenly he appeared online in a group devoted to projection. A quick email and not so quick phone call and the next week I jumped on a train to Colchester and met Larry outside the station in his motorhome where we chatted for hours and he filled me in on where he’d been, what he’d done and what he was going to do.

Orion - Space Panorama original

Some of that is a story for another time but I now had access to the last major player – alongside Optikinetics and Pluto – of the British FX wheel scene of the 70’s and early 80’s. Their story, the equipment they created as well as original art and quotes from the artists and designers of the wheels will be told for the first time in Wheels of Light, available from Four Corners Books on October 21st. Larry has set up a new Orion Effects site and is selling various bits and pieces of his archive so if you’re into that incredibly niche area then this is possibly the last time such a collection of original pieces will come up for sale, certainly from one of the originators of the UK scene. Go to orioneffects.co.uk and click on the heritage pages.

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Below: Mis-registered image of the Optikinetics ‘Robot’ wheel taken from a catalogue (not in the book). I’ll be posting more ephemera over the coming weeks as much didn’t make the book… You can pre-order it here, nearly 180 pages, full colour throughout. There will be a launch party on the 19th and I should have copies for sale at my stall at Jonny Trunk’s second Record Fayre on the 29th.

Opti Robot web