Paul Gorman is…

‘Suburban voodoo is what he did do, so well’: Last two days of Barney Bubbles exhibition at Rob Tufnell London

Sep 22nd, 2017

//Back Cover, Jesus Of Cool, Nick Lowe, Radar Records, 1978. Photo: Bob Bromide. Design © Barney Bubbles Estate//

//Back cover, Darling Let’s Have Another Baby/Something Else/It Really Digs, Johnny Moped, Chiswick Records, 1978. Design © Barney Bubbles Estate//

//Clock, Stiff Records, 1978. Design © Barney Bubbles Estate//

//Front, Life’s A Riot With Spy Vs Spy, Billy Bragg, Utility, 1983. Design © Barney Bubbles Estate//

“In graphics, in the music business at least, Barney pioneered the use of everyday objects in his work. He could see the design and the beauty in the apparently banal”
Suzanne Spiro, artist

The Barney Bubbles exhibition Optics & Semantics at London gallery Rob Tufnell closes tomorrow evening; if you have a chance, do go along and enjoy the late graphic arts maestro’s unique celebrations of the mundane and workaday.

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Barney Bubbles: Optics & Semantics at Rob Tufnell London

Aug 31st, 2017

//AC/DC Desk (with plug stool), Get Happy!! lightbulb poster, ‘Kill Time’ Stiff Records clock + Ian Dury Cocktail cabinet//

You wait years for a Barney Bubbles exhibition and then two come along in the space of a month.

On the heels of the mini-show of Barney Bubbles music designs at Fred Perry’s basement space in Covent Garden comes a different take on the work of the late graphics maestro.

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The Stiff Records clock: When You Kill Time You Murder Success

Feb 13th, 2017

//The Stiff Records clock. Concept: Jake Riviera, design: Barney Bubbles, lettering: Caramel Crunch, 1977. No reproduction without permission//

Stiff Records was on fire in 1977.

The British independent record label, with owners Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson snapping up acts and art director Barney Bubbles applying his unsurpassable skills to the visualising of their music, came straight out of the traps 40 years ago this month with the release of the first ‘punk’ LP Damned Damned Damned by – who else? – The Damned.

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Sayonara Martin Stone 1946 – 2016

Nov 10th, 2016

Martin Stone hopped, pre-dawn, through the Cheshire street market, scavenging books. Winklepickers, tourniquet trousers, mildewed beret, bulging swagbag: Blind Pew impersonated by Max Wall. Cigarette grafted to trembling, prehensile fingers, he was an anthology of retro fashion. And in his wake there shimmered a vortex of gossip and, amazingly, goodwill…  Iain Sinclair, The Independent, February 18, 1995

Sad to note the passing of Martin Stone, dapper devil and rock and rolling rare book dealer par excellence.

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‘Misfits in the pantheon of pop’ : Barney Bubbles exhibition at Leamington Spa’s White Room Gallery this weekend

Apr 12th, 2016
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//Four of the five 60in x 40in posters designed by Bubbles for the 1977 UK tour by Stiff Records’ artists//

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//Jacket sported by Jake Riviera in the late 70s decorated with badges, adorned with a ‘Jesus Of Cool’ promotional tie produced for Nick Lowe and accompanied by a Roberta Bayley photograph of Riviera in the jacket in 1977//

Music fan and pop ephemera collector Mike Hobday is realising a long-held ambition this weekend with a show of designs by the late graphic artist Barney Bubbles at The White Room Gallery in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

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Barney Bubbles’ cube letterhead design for Riviera Global Record Productions

Dec 14th, 2015
BB - Riviera Global letterhead 580

//A4 letterhead, Barney Bubbles, 1978. No reproduction without permission//

This company letterhead was designed by the late graphics master Barney Bubbles for music entrepreneur Jake Riviera during the latter’s tenure at 60 Parker Street in London’s Covent Garden in the late 70s.

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Roberta Bayley x Richard Hell x Jake Riviera + 1 Cadillac Eldorado = Road Trip USA in the new GQ

Feb 9th, 2015
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//Polaroids taken on the journey by Bayley courtesy of the NYU Richard Hell Archive//

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//Opening spread of my feature in GQ UK March 2015//

“I’m forever grateful for Jake for giving us the opportunity. It was magical that he wanted to encourage Roberta and me to use our abilities in a new way. Just another example of his beautiful style.”
Richard Hell

The new issue of GQ UK contains my piece about the quixotic 1980 US road trip undertaken by Roberta Bayley and Richard Hell in a Cadillac Eldorado belonging to Jake Riviera (who conceived and sponsored the journey).

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Lunch with Messrs Hell + Riviera

Feb 10th, 2014
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//Richard Hell + Jake Riviera, outside the Chelsea Arts Club, London, Feb 2014//

I’ve had few, if any, lunches as enjoyable as last week’s hook-up with Richard Hell and Jake Riviera for a piece I am writing for GQ magazine.

Richard and Jake first met outside CBGB in March 1976, having been introduced by photographer Roberta Bayley, who was working the club door that night.

With Dr Feelgood’s Lee Brilleaux, Jake had witnessed Richard in performance the night before with Johnny Thunders in the first – and soon to disintegrate – line-up of the Heartbreakers at Max’s Kansas City.

We dined less than half a mile away from Chelsea embankment, where Richard and the rest of his next band the Void-Oids spent a pretty miserable-sounding sojourn on a leaky boat when in the UK on tour with The Clash in 1978.

As Richard recounts in his fabulous memoir I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp, he and Jake have shared a series of adventures over the years, some of which I will be covering in my GQ feature which should be out in the summer.

I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp is out in paperback this week; buy here.

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“Bring me your dented and bent out of shape”: Johnny Moped documentary is on the way

Jun 3rd, 2013

//Johnny Moped, Dave Berk, Fred Berk, Slimy Toad, 1977. Photo: Chiswick Records//

In an age clogged up with boil-in-the-bag popular music documentaries, I’m looking forward to Fred Burns’ Basically, Johnny Moped, about the unpredictable outsider who emerged via associations with The Damned and Chrissie Hynde during the post-punk period to strut and fret his hour upon the stage.

Moped and his band – Dave and Fred Berk and Slimy Toad – were out and about a lot in 1977 and 1978; I caught them a couple of times, once as part of a bigger bill at Camden Town’s Music Machine (now Koko) and another time in the West End (possibly The Marquee).

Their single Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby was (and remains 35 years later) a stand-out song of the period and Barney Bubbles’ artwork for that and other Moped releases and promotional material sealed the deal.

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Talking Barney Bubbles in Belgium

Mar 9th, 2012

Talk about Barney Bubbles, Bold Italic, Ghent, March 1 2012.

Last week I gave a talk about the work of Barney Bubbles at Bold Italic, the annual graphics conference organised by Michaël Bussaer of Ghent’s St-Lucas Institute for Higher Education in the Arts.

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