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DJ = Don’t Join! The Barney Bubbles x Jake Riviera influence in The Last Jedi

//Left: DJ figure; right: Music press ad, January 1979. Image: Brooklyn Vegan//

Thanks to my FB friend Vadim Kosmos for alerting me to this (I am not keen on Star Wars so avoid media coverage): a reference in the latest film in the franchise, The Last Jedi, to the Barney Bubbles/Jake Riviera advertising campaign for Elvis Costello And The Attractions’ 1979 LP Armed Forces.

In The Last Jedi Benicio del Toro plays an opportunistic hacker referred to as “DJ”; for some time there has been speculation as to what the initials stand for.

Now director Rian Johnson has revealed they represent “Don’t Join!”, the slogan used in British music press ads for Armed Forces which featured in my Bubbles’ monograph Reasons To Be Cheerful.

//Ad artwork for New Musical Express, December 1978. Design: © Barney Bubbles Estate. No reproduction without permission//

//Costello performing in front of the Don’t Join! artwork at Central Park’s Summer Stage in June 2017. Photo: @sanspoint’s Instagram feed//

On behalf of the Barney Bubbles Estate, I provided Costello with Don’t Join! artwork for reproduction in his 2016 memoir Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink and also as a backdrop for his live dates last year.

And this week, Johnson has confirmed the name choice was inspired by the Costello ad, which was part of a wide-ranging campaign for Armed Forces cooked up by the singer’s sloganeering label boss and manager Riviera and his regular collaborator, the late graphics genius Bubbles.

//Del Toro as DJ. Image: Vanity Fair//

“I’ve always loved that phrase,” Johnson told Lucasfilm art director and Costello fan Phil Szostak recently.

Read more here.

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