Posts Tagged ‘1981’

Video for Ghost Town by The Specials directed by Barney Bubbles

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

This is the Barney Bubbles-directed video for The Specials’ 1981 number one hit Ghost Town.

Here Dorian Lynskey explains why the song is still the sound of a country in crisis.

The Sheet Music logo

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011


Among the lesser-known Barney Bubbles designs to emerge during last year’s research for the second edition of Reasons To Be Cheerful was the black-on-black label for Sheet Music for a single release by post-punk act The Vampire Bats From Lewisham.


Finally: The promo video for Rico’s Jungle Music

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Great to see Barney Bubbles’ promo for Rico’s 1982 single Jungle Music finally making it to Youtube courtesy of film-maker Lizzie Soden.

With Bubbles directing in the wake of his clip for The Specials’ Ghost Town (since Rico was part of Specials leader Jerry Dammers’ 2-Tone collective), Soden came up with the concept for Rico’s video with Steve Binnion.

“But I was an art student at the time and wasn’t in the union; we had to get a union crew for broadcast, so Barney and I co-directed with (Bubbles’ regular promos collaborator) Genevieve Davey producing,” says Soden. “Barney was inspiring and so generous.”

The Jungle Music film serves as a carnivalesque counterpoint to the appropriately dour Ghost Town, evoking in part the innocence of Technicolor 50s coffee bar newsreels.

As in Ghost Town, the musicians (including Dammers in his bluebeat hat-defying giant sombrero) travel in a classic car, but this time arrive to celebrate multi-cultural Britain, not mourn its inner-city decay.

Still from Barney Bubbles' 1982 video for Jungle Music by Rico.

Still from Barney Bubbles' 1982 video for Jungle Music by Rico.

Still from Barney Bubbles' 1982 video for Jungle Music by Rico.


Still from Barney Bubbles' 1982 video for Jungle Music by Rico.

Still from Barney Bubbles' 1982 video for Jungle Music by Rico.

Still from Barney Bubbles' 1982 video for Jungle Music by Rico.

Still from Barney Bubbles' 1982 video for Jungle Music by Rico.

Still from Barney Bubbles' 1982 video for Jungle Music by Rico.

Still from Barney Bubbles' 1982 video for Jungle Music by Rico.

Still from Barney Bubbles' 1982 video for Jungle Music by Rico.

Still from Barney Bubbles' 1982 video for Jungle Music by Rico.

Still from Barney Bubbles 1982 video for Jungle Music by Rico.

Read all about Barney Bubbles’ music video directing adventures in the new edition of Reasons To Be Cheerful.

And visit Soden’s DaisyB Studios Youtube channel, where she has posted much else of interest, including the promo for another great track to emerge from this period of the 2-Tone story, The Boiler by Rhoda Dakar.

Meanwhile, to come up to date, here’s the ever-progressive Dammers with his Spatial AKA Orchestra and an excerpt of their cosmic take on Ghost Town from a performance last summer:

What connects Simon Callow to Johnny Moped?

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Sounds like a particularly fiendish pub quiz question doesn’t it?

7in sleeve. Front cover, Little Queenie/ Hard Lovin' Man (Live), Chiswick, 1978.

No, the actor (whose naked form cavorting on stage in a production of The Beastly Beatitudes Of Balthazar B is still emblazoned on my memory 29 years after the fact) was not a member of Croydon’s finest alongside Fred Berk and Slimy Toad.

Back cover, Little Queenie/Hard Lovin'Man (Live).

And no, Moped didn’t make a cameo in Four Weddings & Funeral as the punk-rock rival of Hugh Grant for Andi MacDowell’s affections.

However, courtesy of Barney Bubbles’ designs, Callow’s hands did appear on both sides of the sleeve of Moped’s 1978 Chiswick single Little Queenie.

Page 13, Copyright 1978, Brian Griffin.

The shot – as revealed last night by photographer Brian Griffin at a M&C Saatchi talk organised by his friend, creative director Graham Fink – was taken during BG’s Expressionist experiments which resulted in the intriguing self-published collaboration with Barney, Copyright 1978.

Exhibition postcard, 210mm x 140mm. 1979.

Callow, at that time an actor on the rise (and these days also a director, author and fine book reviewer), was one of BG’s models.

Having decorated them with barbed wire for Moped, Callow’s hands channeled the creative energy source in Barney’s design for the Derek Boshier-curated group exhibition Lives at The Hayward in 1979.

Pages 4 and 5, Power: British Management In Focus, Travelling Light, 1981.

During his illuminating presentation, BG also revealed that Barney’s frontispiece portrait for his 1981 book Power was intended as the cover, an idea rejected by the publisher (who relented for the paperback issue in 1984).

“Barney made part of my nose and face out of the numerals ’71’,” said BG. “He thought that was when I started as a professional photographer; in fact it was the following year. The figure next to me, pointing to the future, is supposed to be my boss telling me to get out there and start working.”

Illustration, readers' letters page, NME, January 31, 1981.

BG has often mentioned that he first came across Barney’s work via his enigmatic illustrations for the NME. Above is an example for the music paper’s letter’s page.

It’s a great comment on the increasingly tribal aspects to pop fandom in the early 80s, and is made extra special by the fact that it carries a credit, something the limelight-shy Barney was avoiding at all costs by this stage.

The increasingly rare originals of BG’s collaborations with Barney are available here though, as BG pointed out last night, Power now commands a staggering £400 price tag.

…Depeche doc delights and delivers

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

As previously detailed here, in 1981 Barney Bubbles was drafted in to design the sleeve of Depeche Mode’s debut album Speak & Spell at the suggestion of his friend, the photographer Brian Griffin.

12in sleeve. Front cover, Speak & Spell, Depeche Mode, Mute, 1981.

Barney’s work was frequently interlaced with symbols of power, and one of his most subtle was the arrangement of the credits on the album’s back cover in the form of a royal chess piece to accompany the crown logo he created for the band’s name.

Left: Label copy. Right: Back cover, Speak & Spell, 1981.

The power of Depeche’s music is one of the themes investigated in the brilliant The Posters Came From The Walls, in which Jeremy Deller and Nick Abrahams identify where the potency of popular music truly resides: with the fans.

Scenes from The Posters Came From The Walls.

Appearances by Depeche members are limited to on-stage footage, and the narrative is driven by the hopes, dreams, experiences and fantasies of the millions of Depeche followers all over the world, from California to Iran via Canada, Mexico, Germany, Romania and Russia.

If there is a common thread running through this and Oil City Confidential (two very different films about groups from opposite ends of the musical spectrum), it is the transformative power of music, whether sweaty four-to-the-floor R&B or anthemic stadium synth.

We urge you to catch both documentaries when you can; keep up with the latest news and info on their general release here and here.

Fun for all the family at Howies

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Tommy The Talking Toolbox would have been proud.

Fun for all the family was had at Howies store in Bristol on Thursday night as our pals at the Barney-mad company hosted an evening to celebrate the publication of Reasons To Be Cheerful.

With the invaluable support and assistance of Howies mainmen Nick Hand (who also took these photos) and Tim March, we mounted a mini-display in a hitherto unused upstairs room as the first in a series of monthly events the guys are organising.

The core of our little taster was a collection of 24 of the 27 variations to the cover of Do It Yourself by Ian Dury & The Blockheads.

Pic: Nick Hand.

This seemed particularly appropriate since the site was once occupied by a Laura Ashley branch; some of the walls in the until-now disused upstairs space are still covered in her divinely daft and dated flowery wallpaper.

Part of the original artwork for 4000 Weeks Holiday (c) P. Kennedy/Reasons 2009

To keep the ID/BB theme going, we also displayed original artefacts and artwork, including the paste-up for what later became the cover of Ian’s 1984 album 4000 Weeks Holiday.

Thought to be among the very last projects Barney worked on, this has been contributed to the Reasons archive by our friend Pauline Kennedy. In her previous incarnation as Caramel Crunch, Pauline was Barney’s assistant and continued his work at such labels as Go! Discs.

  • Presentation in Howies’ denim room.
  • With a book signing and talk about Barney, complete with power-point presentation of images from the book, the evening was capped by Paul and Caz mixing up the aural medicine with DJ sets of Barney-related sounds. These, we’re happy to tell you, went down a storm.


    Here’s a selection of 10 of the Barney best to warm the cockles (click on the links to download/buy):

    Eastbourne Ladies – Kevin Coyne (Marjory Razorblade 1973)

    Inbetweenies – Ian Dury & The Blockheads (Do It Yourself 1979)

    Lipstick Vogue –  Elvis Costello & The Attractions (This Year’s Model 1978)

    Fung Kee Laundry – Quiver (Gone In the Morning 1972)

    Love My Way – The Psychedelic Furs (Forever Now 1982)

    Opa-Loka – Hawkwind (Warrior On The Edge Of Time 1975)

    Post-War Glamour Girl – John Cooper Clarke (Disguise In Love (1978)

    Darling Let’s Have Another Baby – Johnny Moped (Cycledelic 1978)

    Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode (Speak & Spell 1981)

    Ghost Town – The Specials (single 1981)

    These are just a few examples of how the BBSS can get the joint jumping. For a playlist from Caz’s set see Howies’ blog  Brainfood.