Posts Tagged ‘Forever Now’

Forever Now vinyl gatefold reissue

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

fn-180version

Next up in Vinyl 180’s reissue campaign is a gatefold version of The Psychedelic Furs’ 1982 album Forever Now.

Like the 2002 reissue, this will utilise Barney Bubbles’ front and back cover designs for the UK release rather than the CBS art department’s lash-up job for the album’s first American manifestation.

(more…)

Found! Psychedelic Furs tribute AND rare artwork

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Signed promotional poster for Danger, 1982. (c) H. Thompson/Reasons 2009.

Credits, Mirror Moves, The Psychedelic Furs, CBS, 1984.

Barney Bubbles’ association with the great British post-punk band The Psychedelic Furs may not have lasted all that long yet it proved to be fertile, particularly when  it came to his friendship and working relationship with the group’s driving force and frontman Richard Butler.

Front cover, Forever Now, The Psychedelic Furs, CBS UK, 1982.

These days an exhibiting painter, Butler attended Epsom School of Art & Design and handled the group’s visuals, receiving a credit for the artwork for the group’s second album Talk Talk Talk along with the phrase “After Andy Warhol”. As noted in the comment below, the design was created by Julian Balme, who had started his career at Stiff Records in 1979.

The collusion with Barney on the band’s 1982 release Forever Now and it’s attendant singles paid dividends in the form of excellent and typographically challenging artwork which may have bamboozled the US record company but impressed and endeared Barney to the group: at that time Richard and his bass-playing brother Tim, guitarist John Ashton and ex-Birthday Party drummer Phil Calvert.

On 1984 album Mirror Moves, their first release after Barney’s death, the Furs – and young designer Al McDowell – tipped their hat to his memory in the credits with the words “After Barney Bubbles”.

Back and front, Forever Now, CBS Netherlands, 1982. Note hand-written band name and title added to front cover.

We’re indebted to A&R legend Howard Thompson – rightly lauded these days for his digital radio station North Fork Sound – for the back-story and some of these images, including the rare and never previously published promotional poster for the single Danger.

Barney Bubbles painting his portrait of Richard Butler 1983. (c) Reasons 2009.

“I met Barney four or five times; he seemed like a lovely, if some times troubled fellow,” says Howard. “When I was at Island Records in the mid 70s, I instigated the distribution deal for Stiff so I think that must be where we first came across each other.”

Back and front cover, Love My Way 7", The Psychedelic Furs, CBS UK, 1982.

Moving to CBS, Howard worked with the Furs on their first two albums, and then transferred to the US in early  1982.

Inner gatefold, Love My Way 7", The Psychedelic Furs, CBS UK, 1982.

Commissioned by Butler, Barney’s design for the front of Forever Now applied a greater sense of form to the Warhol-esque screens used on earlier Furs’ releases with an organised mosaic of tiles in flourescent green and pink.

Photgrapher Graeme Attwood’s dramatic monochrome band portrait is filtered through this prism and framed by Barney’s circular logo created from yellow stars.

On the back the song titles run into each other in imposing capitals decorated with tessellated pink rectangles.

Back and front cover, Love My Way 12", The Psychedelic Furs, CBS UK, 1982.

CBS’ enhanced budget, and the industry trend towards multi-format releases, enabled Barney to go to town on the singles.

Love My Way appeared with two 7″ sleeves – one a gatefold – and a 12″. The latter compiled Attwood’s head and shoulder shots on the front.

The B-side song is Aeroplane.”On the back is a ‘xerox’ of the parts to a model aeroplane kit; so Barney, isn’t it?” says Howard.

The Love My Way sleeves were subjected to a gelatin-silver process (which embeds metallic silver in the coating). These scans aren’t the best, but silver dots can be indentified as an element of the five tangent circle motifs which appear enlarged on the gatefold inner.

Motifs, Love My Way 7" gatefold, The Psychedelic Furs, CBS UK, 1982.

The decorations – see also  the three interlocked circles which Barney added to certain FBeat releases – are also arranged in repeat as quasi-chemical structures which convey the more user-friendly name “The Furs” as well as accommodating lettering which spells out the band’s full name and the song titles.

The front cover of second single Danger is one of Barney’s paintings. Typical of his private work of this period, apparently random squiggles and abstract shapes deliver the physiognomy of the four musicians. Earlier covers are evoked – 1977’s Music For Pleasure by The Damned, 1981’s Me & The Boys by The Inmates – and references are made; for example the “paint-pot” ring also appeared on artwork and badges for Do it Yourself by Ian Dury & The Blockheads.

Back and front cover, Danger 12", The Psychedelic Furs, CBS UK, 1982.

The Danger cover was printed as a poster for circulation to the media in an edition of just 90.  ‘I have number 18,” says Howard. “The signatures read: ‘Love Love Love Richard Butler (with a drawing of a heart) T. Butler Phillip Calvert xx John A$hton‘.”

Left: Front cover, US release of Forever Now, Columbia, 1982. Left: Inner, Mirror Moves, CBS, 1984.

Barney’s intricate artwork appears to have been too much for the US record label Columbia. “In their infinite wisdom, ‘marketing’ chose to use a different, non-BB cover for the album and, of course, they released the singles in generic bags,” says Howard. “Twats.”

Back and front, 4Star EP, Columbia, 1982.

Chasing the youth market (which picked up on the group when they re-recorded early track Pretty In Pink for the John Hughes movie of the same name) CBS appropriated and bowdlerised Barney’s artwork for the grab-bag 4 Star EP.

Butler was responsible for the design for 1984’s Mirror Moves in conjunction with Al McDowell, who has long proclaimed a debt to Barney’s work – his design company Rocking Russian was in part named after Barney’s demonstrations that contemporary design could be invigorated by engaging with the work of the Constructivists.

Back and front, Mirror Moves, Columbia, 1984.

McDowell formed offshoot record sleeve design company Da Gama with Tomato‘s John Warwicker and, with Butler, produced a sleeve which drew on the elements created by Barney: the circular album title logo and arrangements of stars which are overlaid with tiled portraits, again by Griffin.

The layout of the song titles and credits follows Barney’s back cover of Forever Now and, right at the end, there is the special tribute to their departed friend and design hero.

Study 2009, Richard Butler. Oil on canvas, 16in x 12in.

Richard Butler went on to greater success with the Furs before forming Love Spit Love in the 90s. The Psychedelic Furs reunited for a tour in 2000. Butler now concentrates on painting and recently held an exhibition of new work at Miami’s Kevin Bruk Gallery.

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.

    BARNEY BUBBLES SOUND SELECTION:

    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.