{ feuilleton }


• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


Barney Bubbles: artist and designer


Image-heavy post! Please be patient.

Four designs for three bands, all by the same designer, the versatile and brilliant Barney Bubbles. A recent reference over at Ace Jet 170 to the sleeve for In Search of Space by Hawkwind made me realise that Barney Bubbles receives little posthumous attention outside the histories of his former employers. Since he was a major influence on my career I thought it time to give him at least part of the appraisal he deserves. His work has grown in relevance to my own even though I stopped working for Hawkwind myself in 1985, not least because I’ve made a similar transition away from derivative space art towards pure design. Barney Bubbles was equally adept at design as he was at illustration, unlike contemporaries in the album cover field such as Roger Dean (mainly an illustrator although he did create lettering designs) and Hipgnosis (who were more designers and photographers who drafted in illustrators when required).

Colin Fulcher became Barney Bubbles sometime in the late sixties, probably when he was working either part-time or full-time with the underground magazines such as Oz and later Friends/Frendz. He enjoyed pseudonyms and was still using them in the 1980s; Barney Bubbles must have been one that stuck. The Friends documentary website mentions that he may have worked in San Francisco for a while with Stanley Mouse, something I can easily believe since his early artwork has the same direct, high-impact quality as the best of the American psychedelic posters. Barney brought that sensibility to album cover design. His first work for Hawkwind, In Search of Space, is a classic of inventive packaging.

Update: BB didn’t work with Mouse in SF, I’ve now been told.


Hawkwind: In Search of Space (1971).

It’s fair to say that Hawkwind were very lucky to find Barney Bubbles, he immediately gave their music—which was often rambling and semi-improvised at the time—a compelling visual dimension that exaggerated their science fiction image while still presenting different aspects of the band’s persona. In Search of Space is an emblematic design that opens out to reveal a poster layout inside. One of the things that distinguishes Barney Bubbles’ designs from other illustrators of this period is a frequent use of hard graphical elements, something that’s here right at the outset of his work for Hawkwind.

This album also included a Bubbles-designed “Hawklog”, a booklet purporting to be the logbook of the crew of the Hawkwind spacecraft. I scanned my copy some time ago and converted it to a PDF; you can download it here.


The In Search of Space sleeve unfolded.


Gracious! by Gracious! (1970).

The shifting identity of Barney Bubbles means that many works such as this are omitted from listings. Gracious! was one of the first releases on the Vertigo label and the design was credited to “Teenburger”. The bold exclamation mark is printed on textured (bubbled?) card while the interior (below) featured a three-dimensional Richard Hamilton-style tableau. This band also connects Barney Bubbles and Roger Dean, another artist whose work was increasingly used by Vertigo. The second Gracious! album featured a Dean cover which kept the exclamation mark design.


Gracious! gatefold interior.


Dr Z: Three Parts to My Soul (1971).

In the 1970s even the most obscure bands could receive lavish cover treatment. This more typical design for the Vertigo label had two flaps that opened out from the centre with a heart-shaped hole cut in the middle.


Hawkwind: Doremi Fasol Latido (1972).

I hadn’t realised until I started assembling these images how much Barney’s work seemed to go through phases of influence. For the third Hawkwind album he must have been looking at the kind of superhero comic art exemplified by Jack Kirby. The Doremi cover is a black and white drawing (printed in silver ink on the original sleeve) done in the style of Kirby’s familiar reflective metal strips. The inner sleeve was even more Kirby-like although less successful, a squadron of barbarians on horseback with a sacked city burning in the distance and flying saucers drifting overhead. The fold-out poster below was free with initial pressings.


Hawkwind: Star Rats—poster with the Doremi album (1972).


Hawkwind: Urban Guerilla single ad (1973).

This artwork in this ad design was part of a series of black and white posters all created around the time of the Doremi album that still exhibited the bold influence of Jack Kirby. This particular picture, however, is lifted directly from a Lone Sloan strip by French comic artist Philippe Druillet, Les Iles du Vent Sauvage (1970). (You can see part of the drawing on this page.) I later swiped from Druillet myself so I’m not one to criticise. In fairness, the comic strip figure only had the helmet and the shield, Barney adds an elaborate sword and a new background.

Update: thanks to comments from Rebecca and Mike below, I was reminded of the title of the picture above and so was able to find the poster version and its companions. You can see all five posters here.


Fanon—Dragon Commando.


Prince Minksy’s chopper.


Edgar Broughton Band: Oora (1973).


Hawkwind: Space Ritual (1973).

The definitive Hawkwind design and one of my favourite album covers. Barney’s work had now moved away from comic books into a kind of cosmic Art Nouveau with the band’s dancer, Stacia, here presented in the style of Alphonse Mucha. The lion heads were based on a head in Mucha’s L’Emeraude from 1900. Mucha also favoured a combination of illustration with hard graphics so it’s easy to see why Barney would respond to this. Much of the Hawkwind ad art of the time features Mucha-styled borders.

Space Ritual is justly celebrated for its poster sleeve which opens out to six panels. Barney’s graphics for the interior were developments of the work he created for the Hawkwind logbook, a blend of drawn or painted graphics with “significant” photos, in this case Edwardian erotica, atomic structures, a foetus floating among stars, etc. The example below is crudely composited from the CD reissue; it was too much effort to photograph the original sleeve and it doesn’t make much difference at this size anyway.

The Space Ritual tour programme also came as a fold-out poster, featuring a pulpy sf story and pictures of the band among the Mucha flourishes. Once again, I made my copy into a PDF which you can download here.



Hawkwind: Love & Peace poster (circa 1973).

The Mucha influence continued in this promotional poster whose figure and design is based on the Champagne White Star artwork for Moet & Chandon (1899).


Hawkwind: Hall of the Mountain Grill (1974).

The most illustrational of all his Hawkwind sleeves and a picture that could easily have worked as one of his monochrome designs.


Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers: Bongos Over Balham (1974).

The sleeve for Mike Moorcock’s Deep Fix album below was (according to Moorcock) a real wooden fairground booth that Barney constructed, painted then photographed.


Michael Moorcock & the Deep Fix: New Worlds Fair (1975).


Hawkwind: The 1999 Party—tour poster (1975).

The shift of emphasis in the mid-Seventies was away from Art Nouveau towards Art Deco poster graphics, a style evident in all the 1999 Party tour artwork and the two sleeves that follow.


Hawkwind: Roadhawks (1976).


Hawkwind: Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music (1976).

The final Hawkwind design isn’t just Art Deco, it’s almost fascist, looking like a piece of Soviet propaganda art topped by a Nazi eagle. Hawkwind singer Bob Calvert spoke of the band being reorganised after this album along the lines of “a Stalinist purge” so maybe the design is appropriate.

1976 was the year of a Stalinist purge in British music as a whole. With the advent of punk Barney successfully made the transition from hippy designer to punk designer. If anything, punk gave him a new leash of life as his tremendous sleeve for the second Damned album demonstrates. His association with Stiff Records and Radar Records was the second major phase of his career after Hawkwind and gave him the opportunity to explore a range of influences from early 20th century design.

The Damned sleeve is a Kandinsky-esque portrait of the band with the group’s name spelled out using abstract shapes, an approach to album lettering he was to use for other artists as the decade progressed. I was especially taken with this album at the time and referred to it in an exam essay I had to write about album covers.


The Damned: Music For Pleasure (1977).

The very wide letter spacing used on the titles of these albums was a common feature of his Stiff designs, one of a number of habitual effects that became prevalent in work from subsequent designers.


Clover: Unavailable (1977).


Hawklords: 25 Years On (1978).

Hawkwind became Hawklords for one album and a tour in 1978. Barney was commissioned to help create the stage show and develop the vague science fiction concept of Pan Transcendental Industries around which the album was based. The result was a very up-to-the-minute presentation which the band discarded immediately afterwards. This was Barney’s last work for Hawkwind. I’ve always found this cover distinctly erotic but I doubt you want to know about that here.


Nik Turner’s Sphinx: Xitintoday (1978).

Sax player Nik Turner was thrown out of Hawkwind in the 1976 band purge but he remained friends with Barney Bubbles. When Turner came to record his solo album, Xitintoday, Barney was asked to create the packaging. The album is a concept affair based around the Egyptian Book of the Dead but Barney’s design for the sleeve and accompanying booklet avoids hippy cliches with a use of abstract graphics or arrangements of lettering; the cover design, for example, features stars made up of the word “twinkle”. The pair continued to work together for Turner’s later band, Inner City Unit.


1978 was also the year Barney was asked to help with the redesign of the NME. His new logo remained in use up to the late 80s and forms the basis of the current (degraded) logo design.


Whirlwind: Blowing Up A Storm (1978).


Ian Dury & the Blockheads: logo design (late 70s).

The association with Stiff Records led to one of Barney’s most famous works, the Blockhead logo. If he’s remembered for anything it should be for this simple, brilliant and witty graphic.



Ian Dury & the Blockheads: Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (1978).


Ian Dury & the Blockheads: Do It Yourself (1979).

His inventiveness came to the fore again with his cover designs for Ian Dury. This sleeve was printed in twelve different versions onto real sheets of wallpaper. The design acts not only as a comment on the home improvement alluded to in the title but also a request for the purchaser to make a choice of their own among the different styles.


Radar Records logo (1978).


Elvis Costello & the Attractions: This Year’s Model (1978).

Initial pressings were made to look like deliberate misprints, showing CMYK colour bars and cutting off the letters of the artist name and title, a quirk abandoned on subsequent editions.


Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Armed Forces (1979).

The David Shepherd-style elephants on this cover do little to hint at the exceptional interior design, probably Barney’s most extravagant work since Space Ritual, and certainly its equal. The sleeve opens out to further extend the interpretation of the title and includes Mondrian and Jackson Pollock stylings among its animal-print abstractions. To save page-loading time there’s a page here where you can see the full effect for yourself. Thanks to LondonLee for the photos.

Update: Tim Niblock in the comments notes that this package was produced in association with Bazooka Graphics, France.


The Imperial Pompadours: Ersatz (1982).

Not many people know Barney Bubbles had a band. The Imperial Pompadours was Barney plus Nik Turner and other members borrowed from Inner City Unit. They recorded this one unhinged rock’n'roll album on a very restricted budget. Read The Seth Man’s review of it here.


Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Almost Blue (1981).

Work at Radar continued with covers for all the early Elvis Costello albums. Almost Blue prefigures the look of many sleeve designs that came later in the decade while Imperial Bedroom featured a painting of Barney’s pastiching Picasso (“Snakecharmer & Reclining Octopus by Sal Forlenza, 1942”). Despite his increasing success and a growing reputation among younger designers these were to be his last works. Friends say he’d always been something of a depressive and late in 1983 he evidently reached some kind of crisis and took his own life. Roy Carr wrote an obituary for the NME.


Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Imperial Bedroom (1982).

Barney Bubbles’ work is continually featured in histories of album cover design but he was more than just a cover designer. We’re overdue a decent book-length examination of his work and his influence.

Update: The book is on its way. And David Wills’ new blog features his reminiscences about art school life with Barney. Good things come to those who wait.

Update 2: Reasons to be Cheerful: The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles by Paul Gorman was published by Adelita on December 4th, 2008. Paul Gorman writes about it here and I featured an extract here.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive



Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {design}, {music}, {painting}, {psychedelia}, {science fiction}.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .




229 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by lord cornelius plum


    damn right he needs a book!!!!! a true visionary designer. alwasy loved his noveau/deco stuff. beautiful.

  2. #2 posted by Arik Roper


    Yes a book please, Bubbles is one of my biggest inspirations. Thanks for posting this, I’ve researched him for years and never found out much.

  3. #3 posted by John


    Hey Arik, good to see you here.

    We’d probably have seen a book if he’d stayed with us for a bit longer; will probably happen eventually. I’d try and do something about it myself if I had better contacts in the publishing world.

  4. #4 posted by joly


    A great overview of Barney’s work.

    Well done!

  5. #5 posted by Rebecca and Mike


    We’ve researched Barney for years too, and have actually found tons of stuff :-), all sorts: even a concept for a duvet cover(!), through to some nice film work. We collect what we can and tend to focus on the more obscure items. (In 2001 we staged an exhibition of predominantly pre-’75 work in London; maybe you went?)

    In our research we speak to a lot of people, and along the way heard that there was talk, in the early ’80s (when Barney was still alive), of a book potentially being done in Japan (if that’s true, unfortunately it never got published). Recently, when talking to someone who was very close to Barney, this Japanese interest in general was corroborated when we were told he was actually offered a VERY good job in Japan.

    This is a nice page about Barney. Very interesting to see some of the original references Barney was looking at. Most were known to us, but we had never seen the inspiration for Fanon – Dragon Commando before (the illustration on the Urban Guerilla advert).

    The Roadhawks LP you feature has a real curious story to it. In a letter Barney once wrote, he says how he did the original Roadhawks artwork which was solely intended for a HW tour poster. When the Roadhawks LP came out after this (and a subsequent 2nd poster), it wasn’t Barney’s actual artwork that was used for these later items. He says the record company got another illustrator to do a ‘copy’. He says the differences a small, but artistically it makes a BIG differences. One of the more easily noticeable differences is the typography. This is why, if you look at people’s collections closely enough, you can come across 2 different versions of the Roadhawks poster.

    Hope people find this interesting.


  6. #6 posted by John


    Rebecca and Mike: Great to hear that other people care so much. I didn’t know there’d been an exhibition in London otherwise I would have tried to get down to see it. And I was fairly sure this sample was only scratching the surface of his career.

    Most were known to us, but we had never seen the inspiration for Fanon – Dragon Commando before (the illustration on the Urban Guerilla advert).

    I was trying to remember the title of that picture! I used to have all those b&w posters from (reprints?) in the early 80s. I do still have an advert spread from the NME. There was a web page used to have copies of them but I couldn’t find it after some intensive searching. A good job really, this page is image-heavy already.

    When the Roadhawks LP came out after this (and a subsequent 2nd poster), it wasn’t Barney’s actual artwork that was used for these later items.

    Aha, I remember thinking there was a difference between the poster art and the album sleeve. I sympathise with Barney on that score, I also had three of my later Hawkwind sleeves (which were pretty terrible to begin with) reworked by another artist for a later release.

    Thanks for the info!

  7. #7 posted by Richard


    John, that’s brilliant! Thanks very much.

    I’ve got that Imperial Pompadours album. It’s a blast isn’t it? One track on side one and twenty something on side two, as I remember. Don’t remember knowing Bubbles was actually in it, but it’s been a long time since I looked at it.

    Have a few Inner City Unit albums too, I’ll try and get them online soon. They were a fantastic band; amazing live. Can remember Turner going mental with his sax, sporting a moheken, in Peacocks in Birmingham. Wasn’t he always being thrown out of Hawkwind?

    You’ll know better than me but isn’t that Astounding Sounds image the back cover? I remember the front cover mimicking the Sci-Fi mag of a similar name, an illustration of a figure sitting by an other-worldly lake or something.

    Do you know who designed the PXR5 cover? It’s probably my favourite, perhaps because it’s one of the less “spacey” covers. It feel like Bubbles: Do it yourself meets Clover, kind of thing.

    All this Hawktalk makes we want to dust it all off again.

    Great post!

  8. #8 posted by John


    Thanks Richard. I’ve heard the Pompadours album but don’t have a copy unfortunately. I saw Inner City Unit live a few times though, crazy, energetic stuff. He was indeed always rejoining then being thrown out of the band again. He was there for a year or two during the period I was working for them.

    You’ll know better than me but isn’t that Astounding Sounds image the back cover?

    Barney’s cover was the front (identifiable as such by having the opening on its right), Tony Hyde painted the rear which resembled old magazine art. The album has a dual sleeve, in effect, with the large title on the rear making it look more like the front cover.

    Do you know who designed the PXR5 cover?

    I sold my copy (it was the rare unstickered version with the faulty wiring visible) but a bit of checking revealed that it was the work of Philip Tonkyn who also helped with the cover of the later Levitation:


    I always wanted one of those plug badges!

  9. #9 posted by LondonLee


    I’ve never understood why there’s been no book of his work published either. Ridiculous when you consider how famous and well-published Neville Brody and David Carson are in comparison.

    You should have show more of his Costello sleeves though- the Hawkwind stuff is a bit hippy for my tastes. Some of the 45 sleeves especially are real small gems of wit and the orignal version of the ‘Armed Forces’ album that folds out opens at the back is brillant.

  10. #10 posted by John


    He gets a passing mention in The Graphic Language of Neville Brody. Brody would have known him since he started out working for Stiff in the late 70s before moving to Fetish Records.

    The lack of a book may have something to do with the punk generation being the ones who’ve written the history of that period. Everyone praises Barney’s work at Stiff but I can imagine many would see his hippy past as embarrassing and tasteless in that tedious “us and them” attitude that still prevails when 70s culture is discussed. Barney Bubbles and the Hipgnosis designers were good examples of people who successfully bridged the gap between the heads and the punks but it’s largely the punks who’ve dictated the terms by which their work is discussed. Ironic that the Damned sleeve on this page was for an album produced by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.

    I would have shown more Costello stuff if I could have found it?a decent size pic of Imperial Bedroom took some serious searching?although I was worried about the sheer amount of stuff that was going on the page by that point. You’re right that Armed Forces should be there although I don’t own that album and could only find pictures of the front. Would have liked a decent image of Graham Parker’s Parkerilla album as well, a great gatefold spread with more of Barney’s inventive lettering. And maybe a good copy of his witty self-portrait. And, and….

  11. #11 posted by LondonLee


    I have that Armed Forces sleeve which I can try to scan (or photographing it might work better). It has a nice inner sleeve too.

    I used to have the Parkerilla album, sadly no more. It was a great sleeve, better than the actual album really.

  12. #12 posted by John


    Thanks, I think I this overloaded page could stand a picture of Armed Forces, if you don’t mind. The trouble with these designs if they’re nearly always detailed packages, so a shot of the front rarely communicates the amount of work that went into the thing as a whole.

  13. #13 posted by michael johnson


    Fantastic post. Great to see all that work together.

  14. #14 posted by Kenneth FitzGerald


    Could people post some of the pseudonyms Barney used in credit lines? For years I’ve looked through my collection (and in shops) wondering Is this Barney too?

  15. #15 posted by John


    He was (possibly?) the “Comte Pierre D’Auvergne” for the Warrior on the Edge of Time album. Then for Astounding Sounds he wanted the credit “Grove Lane”. And as mentioned above, his Imperial Bedroom painting is credited to “Sal Forlenza”. I’m sure there are more.

  16. #16 posted by david


    Great stuff! Illustrators and designers rarely get much press when they pass away.

  17. #18 posted by Mike



    Thanks for this post. One of my favorite belongings (unfortunately misplaced) is a Blockhead watch whose hands complete the logo at 3:00 everyday. I always wondered the provenance of the painting on the cover of “Imperial Bedroom,” glad to have the mystery solved.

  18. #19 posted by Rick Poynor


    For anyone who cares to track it down, we published a well illustrated, 16-page article about Bubbles by Julia Thrift in Eye magazine (no. 6 vol. 2, 1992) — it remains one of the very few pieces published about him.

    More recently, I spent two years (as an editor) trying to encourage Rebecca and Mike, above, to share some of their knowledge about Bubbles in a book that a publisher was keen to do. R and M’s London exhibition about his early years as a designer was a real feat of research.

    R and M passed on the opportunity. It’s a crying shame that there is no book about such a significant designer. One day perhaps . . .

  19. #20 posted by norman hathaway


    neville, malcolm garrett and peter saville all hold Bubbles in the highest regard. as do most older designers that are familiar with his work.

    i worked with a phorographer who shot a lot of work for him when he was at stiff, and he said barney didn’t like the idea of putting design credits on sleeves, as it was ‘just packaging’, and you didn’t see credits on a can of soup.

    he also said that barney had received a summons from the taxman just before he took his life.

    this is the best collection of barney’s work i’ve seen gathered together in one place. you are to be applauded for spreading the gospel.

    but quit going on about the image heavy page – we want more!

  20. #21 posted by Chris


    Nice site – glad I found it – Barney’s work has always grabbed me. His other stuff is equally excellent.

    I used to spend some time painting.
    I hand painted my jean jacket with the Space Ritual cover, did a silk screen for shirts of the Astounding Sounds cover, painted a t-shirt with the In Search of Space cover, along with the eerie “your captain is dead…” quote, and a painted a Hawklords t-shirt, and used to have the Hall of the Mountain Grill poster on my walls.

  21. #22 posted by Malcolm Garrett


    I do indeed hold Barney in the highest regard – hello Norman! ;-) – and always cite him as the single biggest direct influence on my own work designing sleeves in the late 70s.
    I have written (quite briefly it must be said) about his influence in both Graphics International and Dublin’s Hot Press magazine amongst others.

    I was particularly influenced by the ‘attitude’ of his work for Hawkwind, not just for the sleeves themselves but for the attention to all aspects of their visual persona. That was certainly something I endeavoured to bring to bear with my Buzzcocks work. At that time I even had the opportunity to work with photographer Chris Gabrin who had worked with Barney a lot during the Stiff days (eg Elvis Costello -This Years Model with the fantastic off register ‘wrongly’ trimmed slleve) – there was a small circle of creative talent that all worked together then, and credit must be given to Head of A&R at UA Records, Andrew Lauder both for signing great bands to that label, and his subsequent labels Radar and then F-Beat (in partnership with Jake Riviera of Stiff fame), and for always giving space to Barney to deliver of his best with all those fold out sleeves, and elaborate extra booklets and posters etc. Credit must also be given to his loyal and dedicated assistant, Pauline (aka. Caramel Crunch) who worked with him at least from 1978 onwards.

    I am always on the lookout for Barney’s sleeves in second hand stores, trying to build up my ‘collection’, both before and after Hawkwind sleeves. He was extremely prolific and did lots of low budget jobs for the many friends he’d made in the West London music world. An early one which I’m fond of and that shows his inventive and witty figurative illustration style is for Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers.

    I’m not sure if the tax demand reason for his ultimate depression and death is actually anecdotal or not, as he apparently often went off to the West Country on ‘retreat’ to get away from the daily pressures of work. It’s certainly true that on one of those last sleeves (can’t recall which one) his design credit was his VAT number, as a wry comment on those demands.

    I was honoured to meet him when I worked briefly at Radar records in 1978, officially as his sort of ‘relief’ designer. Andrew Lauder, who had signed ‘my’ band Buzzcocks to UA and subsequently left to form Radar as noted above, thought it would be good idea to take some pressure of him by having me do much of the design work for lesser signings whilst he concentrated on producing great work for Elvis Costello (eg. Armed Forces) and Nick Lowe.

    As well as Rick’s article in Eye magazine, there was also a couple of pages in The Face circa 1983 shortly after his death.

    The exhibition that Rebecca and Mike staged at Artomatic Gallery (about six doors down from where I am now writing in fact) was particularly good as it focused to a great extent on all his counter-culture defining work just before Hawkwind ‘took off’. I was happy to see included one of the original Hawkwind painted amplifiers, still with (apparently) a healthy coating of suspicious white powder on the insides where presumably Lemmy’s legendary narcotic requirements were stored and transported when on the road.

    Hey, Norman, it seems we should be reconsidering that publication we talked about a year or so ago…

  22. #23 posted by John


    Thanks for the insight Malcolm, and to others for their comments.

    Good to hear about the Chilli Willi album; a vinyl-hoarding friend has a copy of that and I remember looking at it and thinking “looks like a Barney Bubbles job”. If I remember correctly, it’s either uncredited or another pseudonymous creation.

  23. #24 posted by Rick Poynor


    Malcolm mentions the article about Bubbles in The Face — it’s in no. 19, November 1981. Not impossible to find in a vintage magazine shop, even now.

    It’s by Dave Fudger, runs to four pages, includes a nice abstract self-portrait in colour (BB declined to be photographed), and, as well as the record sleeves, it shows some of the furniture — very postmodern, quite Memphis — that Bubbles designed for Editions Riviera in 1981.

    It’s the only interview with Bubbles I’ve seen; the text claims Bubbles had never done an interview before. Here’s a quote about the graphic artist’s role in the record business:

    “I find it’s a big racket. I think everybody should own up, first of all they’re doing it for money and the art definitely comes second. All it is is rock and roll and it’s no big shakes. But at the same time I think commercial design is the highest art form . . .”

    He has some words about the younger generation, too — about Malcolm, perhaps:

    “They’re so creative — the kids that do the sleeves — it makes me feel so staid and boring, and I think: I’ve got to get out, it’s time for me to go.”

  24. #25 posted by norman hathaway


    Hadn’t he worked at Conran for a while as well?
    I long to see a compilation of all the throw away logos he created.
    I think he and fellow englishman Mick Haggerty were the first to start mining 50s imagery. It looks wonderful now, but at the time it seemed very brave as within that context it all seemed quite ugly.

    Malcolm- that publisher is the guy who forwarded the link to this page to me. his email contained crude language relating to our deadline meeting skills. Save me.

  25. #26 posted by Malcolm Garrett


    OK, it looks like Rick, Rebecca & Mike, Norman and I should all pool our collective thoughts on this book idea, and help save Norman from an untimely demise at the hands of his publisher.

    I’m up for it.

  26. #27 posted by Benjamin


    I’m trying to write an essay about 70′s record sleeves, about Barney Bubbles etc. Anyone of you guys who know where I can found information about Barney Bubbles, Peter Saville, Malcolm Garrett and the records sleeve design during this period in general?
    I would really appreciate if you could give me some tips on books and/or internet websites.


  27. #28 posted by LondonLee


    I took some pictures of the ‘Armed Forces’ fold-out sleeve which are at the link below. They’re not perfect but that’s what you get from an impromptu photo studio set up on your kitchen floor.

    They don’t make ‘em like this anymore…


  28. #29 posted by John


    Wow, fabulous! And that absolutely deserves a page of its own, I think. Gimme a sec and I’ll put the front up above then a link to the rest on a dedicated page. Many thanks for going to the trouble.

  29. #30 posted by John


    Okay here we go:

    Armed Forces.

    Also linked further up this page.

    Naturally if Malcolm and co manage to interest someone in a BB book I’ll be cheering from the sidelines. For what it’s worth, when I was under the employ of Hawkwind myself I’m sure either Dave Brock or someone else in the band told me that Brock has a big collection of BB originals. Might have other stuff besides although I’m not in contact with him these days so I can’t verify anything. Same goes for Nik Turner who was mates with Barney right to the end.

  30. #31 posted by John Keogh


    Lovely tribute, thanks. I scanned a few things myself, including the Chilli Willi cover:


  31. #32 posted by Malcolm Garrett


    Seeing the Chilli Willi sleeve again just reminded me for some reason of another fantastic piece of lettering Barney did as a logo for the rockabilly band Whirlwind. It featured on their album ‘Blowin’ up a Storm’ as I recall. Anyone out there got a picture of that one?

  32. #33 posted by John


    Whirlwind installed up the page, just above Ian Dury; thanks for the tip Malcolm. Looks like some of Barney’s Jackson Pollock business going on in the background there. He gets a mention on a page about the band as well. “Monstereo” was used on the Rockabilly Psychosis collection in the mid-80s but it looks like Whirlwind got there first.

    John K: I didn’t realise he’d done more Chilli Willi stuff, Kings of the Robot Rhythm is the only one I’d seen. Amazing. And get this: I was looking at your Flickr book covers just a few days ago. I wrote a brief post about the covers Bob Haberfield did for Moorcock in the 70s and stumbled across the SciFi Books pool.

    Revenant volumes: Bob Haberfield, New Worlds and others

    I’ve got a few vintage Hawkwind badges including a nice enamel one of the Astounding hawk/eagle design. Also a rare patch of the Doremi cover that a hippie turned punk gave me.

  33. #34 posted by John


    Oh, just noticed you’ve got the same enamel badge in another photo set, John! And immediately to its right is one of my shameful attempts from 1984.

  34. #35 posted by Rebecca and Mike


    More recently, I spent two years (as an editor) trying to encourage Rebecca and Mike, above, to share some of their knowledge about Bubbles in a book that a publisher was keen to do.

    The timing and the proposition of that one wasn’t right Rick, like we ended up realising and saying to you at the time. BUT, the research goes right on to this very day – each week turns up something new: got a BB handmade birthday card winging its way across the Atlantic as we type this…

    He was (possibly?) the “Comte Pierre D’Auvergne” for the Warrior on the Edge of Time album.

    Nope, that Warrior sleeve wasn’t Barney.

    OK, it looks like Rick, Rebecca & Mike, Norman and I should all pool our collective thoughts on this book idea, and help save Norman from an untimely demise at the hands of his publisher. I’m up for it.

    Malcolm, you’ve got our details. We’ll always listen to anything…

    Hey John Coulthart, the Mike of Rebecca and Mike did the inside gatefold artwork for Hawkwind’s Electric Teepee LP! The landscape painting of Castlerigg stone circle: did it as a teenager – was always aware of your work John.

  35. #36 posted by John


    Lucky are those who have handmade Barney Bubbles things.

    Re: the Warrior sleeve, I should have said I meant the inner sleeve graphics. Never known who did the sleeve art but it doesn’t look like BB’s work whereas those Art Nouveau peacocks and that Viking ship do.

    Warrior on the Edge of Time

    Oddly enough I’ve been doing some work for a Finnish band recently and had cause to refer them to that inner sleeve. They wanted something more robust.

    And Mike: I’ve got the CD of that album, always assumed that was a photo inside! I was also a teenager when I was doing a lot of that Hawkart which is my excuse for much of it looking pretty awful.

  36. #37 posted by Rebecca and Mike


    Lucky are those who have handmade Barney Bubbles things. Re: the Warrior sleeve, I should have said I meant the inner sleeve graphics. Never known who did the sleeve art but it doesn’t look like BB’s work whereas those Art Nouveau peacocks and that Viking ship do..

    Hi John. Yes, the inners are Barney’s: infact we’ve got the original artwork for that inner sleeve. We’re also incredibly lucky enough to have the original artwork for the ‘Prince Minsky’s Chopper’ poster (which appears in your pics above). It is interesting because the artwork for it appears at an angle on the artboard. That, together with a few whited-out details really makes it seem that the first intention was for the Chopper to be going along on a horizontal, rather than an angle!

  37. #38 posted by Patrick


    Thanks to Malcolm Garrett for remembering Pauline (aka. Caramel Crunch). I worked for her in1991 and in the same office as her on and off over the years. She does not work in design anymore which is a pity, she was also an excellent typographer. I even took my portofolio to Malcolm in 1986 at The Bank(?) on Curtain Road and very friendly and encouraging he was too – gave me a list of contacts to follow up.

  38. #39 posted by Simon


    If anybody is interested there is some images of Barney’s work and some stories about him in Will Brich’s ‘No Sleep Till Canvey Island: The Great Pub Rock Revolution’ – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleep-Till-Canvey-Island-Revolution/dp/0753504111. Which I enjoyed and is worth a look at.

  39. #40 posted by John


    Thanks Simon. There’s also a feature on him and his work in the Mojo Great Album Sleeves special that’s out at the moment.

  40. #41 posted by Tim Williams


    I’d like to add my thanks for the information on this page. I have long been a fan of the late, great Barney and have even considered writing a book about him myself.

    I’d like to add two things: Firstly, don’t forget the incredible sleeve (and inserts) BB did for the ‘Glastonbury Fayre’ triple LP. It’s a huge fold-out sleeve similar to that of Space Ritual and contains several booklets, posters, pyramid model kits etc. All contained in an outer polythene bag! A superb design and one which sadly has never been reprinted.

    Secondly, although the UK first pressing of the ‘Astounding Sounds’ LP had the ‘fascist’ eagle design on the front cover and the sci-fi magazine design to the rear, my understanding is that this was as a result of a printing / assembly error. The record was very rapidly re-issued with the two designs reversed.

    PLEASE give serious thought to a book!

  41. #42 posted by John


    Tim: Yes, I know the great Glastonbury Fayre sleeve and would have been happy to include it here if I could have found a good enough reproduction of it.

  42. #43 posted by Charles Salem


    Thanks for a wonderful set of postings.As someone closely involved in the very early days of Factory (i did the original Factory Films for Ludus, Joy Division and A Certain Ratio) the richness of his comic book (French and US) influenced styles as stayed with me all my professsional life as a TV drama and documentary director.
    He must be turning in his grave at the way the music buisnes has become.I only hope his influence is handed down to students so that new bands who must earn the bulk of their earnings from live work collaborate with people like him in presenting their stage shows.
    If they do – we all ca nexpect a better experience both sides of the stage! Regards Charlie Salem.

  43. #44 posted by Malcolm Garrett


    I’d like to add a practical note about how the design of both the ‘Glastonbury Fayre’ and ‘Space Ritual’ sleeves came about. The reason they were that particular shape is that this made maximum use of the size of card that would usually be used to print three separate identical sleeves (side by side), or one gatefold sleeve, with an inner sleeve alongside.

    Barney knew well the technical parameters he was working within and maximised the use of this size of board for the ‘Glastonbury Fayre’ album, which as a triple album would require that amount of card in any event, and thus suggested one large folding sleeve with no gluing required.

    The practical success of that sleeve, gave him the leeway to utilise the same format for the live Hawkwind album shortly afterwards.

    A few years later he used the same kind of thinking when suggesting the folding sleeve for Elvis Costello’s ‘Armed Forces’, only this time he printed ‘postcard’ designs onto the four blank corners that would otherwise have been thrown away, to be included as more elements in the package.

    Without this design intelligence which allowed him to make smart use of ‘standard’ size boards, that he realised would have been hard to argue with on an economic standpoint, it is doubtful that such radical designs would have been signed off so readily by cost conscious record executives. That said, Andrew Lauder at Hawkwind’s label UA was a wonderfully sympathetic A&R man who, then as later, not only signed the most radical of bands both in the UK and from Germany (Amon Düül II, Can, Neu!) but also supported Barney’s visionary design thinking, especially whenever record company opposition might have caused problems.

    I can’t think of any ‘real’ graphic designers working in the field of record sleeve design in this way before Barney, and few record company men before that time who were quite as musically and visually perceptive, enthusiastic or supportive as the great unsung Andrew Lauder.

  44. #45 posted by christophe


    Hi, the WC Fonts site’s online. If you can write on Wc Fonts it’s great. Best regards. Christophe


    WC FONTS was founded in 2005 by Christophe Féray. WC FONTS are based in Avignon and Nantes (France). WC FONTS is a graphic design actor which specializes in designing and producing typefaces. These are often conventional in terms of legibility – yet functional, having concepts that seek for new visual, typographic and linguistic possibilities. WC FONTS create a large freeware fonts BTA collection. These typefaces in PRO version are published for retail sale or are custom designed.

  45. #46 posted by Ricadus


    I actually like the fact he was someone whose work spans the supposed divide between “hippy” and “punk” eras ? the received wisdom is that they were a sort of fasion/music-culture yin & yang, so it is good to see there was still room for an underlying consistency in BB’s work during the 70s through to the early 80s.

    Have you thought about getting an article published, as a way of generating interest in a larger project (exhibition, book) sometime? Maybe it’s already been done somewhere, but BB’s work is exactly the kind of subject that would appear in Baseline magazine, for example: prinarily illustrations with a short essay text and extended captions. (www.baselinemagazine.com).

  46. #47 posted by John


    There was an article recently in Mojo magazine’s album cover special which spanned several pages. And Rick Poyner mentions the Eye magazine piece above. I’d love to see a substantial feature that’s more design-oriented (rather than treating him as an adjunct to the music business) but I’m not really the person to write anything so authoritative.

  47. #48 posted by Brian Griffin


    You will find that the screaming black creature with a blue eye on the “Music For Pleasure” album cover is a Barney self portrait.

  48. #49 posted by John


    Have you got a reference for that, Brian? I always thought that head was supposed to be singer Dave Vanian; same slicked black hair and the fangs referring to his vampire persona.

  49. #50 posted by brian griffin


    Have you got a reference for that, Brian? I always thought that head was supposed to be singer Dave Vanian; same slicked black hair and the fangs referring to his vampire persona.

    It is just my opinion, although what you say makes sense.
    There is also the album cover for the Feelgoods “Fast Women and Slow Horses” which definitely features a Barney self portrait.

  50. #51 posted by Ian Foxon


    It’s a joy to find this page. Barney is the most underrated, influential designer of our times. He has been referenced countless times yet few know his name. As a working designer he stands tall amongst my greatest influences. I hope this talk of a book comes to fruition, it’s high time the man had some form of solidly documented recognition.
    I curse myself for missing that exhibition back in 2001, heart trouble laid me low and I was unable to attend. Hopefully another retrospective will one day appear.


  51. #52 posted by Mike Karge


    Great page really enjoyed seeing so much of Barneys work. An exhibition/book would be wonderful. He also designed some amazing furniture for Jake Riviera which was featured in The Face magazine.
    A great designer whose work looks as fresh as ever!


  52. #53 posted by Kevin O'Brien


    Just to echo the comments above. Magnificent work and up to now criminally neglected. I would happily help support a book / website dedicated to his work. Thanks so much for putting all this together, it’s fantastic.

  53. #54 posted by Mychael


    Congratulations, a great collection of Barney’s work.

    It should be mentioned that he did a lot of work for Hamburg’s Line Records label (some stunning designs for various Roger Chapman albums, for example). Like Mr. Garrett I have my own collection of Barney Bubbles stuff – so if that book project gets underway I can offer an almost complete run of the designs he did for the NME’s Single Of The Week page, his crazy design & layout for the NME’s “Modern Music” booklet, and other stuff like the “ashtray” painting for “The Art Of Roger Bechirian” promo album…

    And I have the magnificent BB article from The Face somewhere that not only had photos of Barney’s furniture designs, but also reproduced his “Self Portrait” painting!

  54. #55 posted by Paul Gorman


    Dear John

    Belated congratulations on a bang up job on BB.

    I first became aware of his work as a teenage head frequenting the Roundhouse on Sunday afternoons 74-6. He did the great posters for those gigs which featured everybody from the Pink Fairies to Lady June to Tim Hardin to Lol Coxhill to Hawkwind, who I followed around because they played lots of free gigs, had Stacia and BB’s great artwork, which overshadowed the music imho.

    Then when punk hit to find he was the same person behind the best work at Stiff and Radar and F-Beat etc was an absolute pleasure. He really worked from “street level” up and as others have said the breath of his imagination, his playfulness and unerring eye placed him far above the likes of Peter Saville (again imho).

    He’s covered well in Ian McLagan’s My Back Pages (they went to college together and BB designed the fantastic text-glorifing posters for Mac’s first band The Muleskinners.

    The clothes designer John Dove told me only this week that at one time in the 60s BB used to dress as Rupert The Bear and drive around in a painted-up ice cream van blaring out children’s ditties.

    Do you know, since this dialogue was opened by your piece, has a book approached fruition? It’s about time. I was commissioned a piece on the 2001 exhibition for Mojo but the ratbags decommissioned it (doubtless when something beatles-related and less interesting came in) so it’s about time he got his props with a damn proper book and a higher profile show. In my experience (seven books down the line) I wouldn’t say it is anything to do with chariness over his earlier “hippie” output, but more to do with the fact that most agents and publishers just don’t know (or “get”) Barney Bubbles at all.

    Very best


  55. #56 posted by John


    Thanks Paul (and to other recent commenters), this was the least I could do since the web was so lacking in a good display of his work. And shame on Mojo for spiking an article about him. I?m continually surprised when people say ?do you know he did?.??; just shows how productive he was and how a decent appraisal of his work is long overdue.

    No idea whether that book is going ahead or not but considering this post only went up in January I?d say we?re a long way off seeing anything. Book production is notoriously slow, art and design production even more so. Someone has to source all the material, get rights and credits, write the damned thing (!) then find a publisher. All that would take two years (including publication scheduling) before anything appeared. Keep your fingers crossed. If anyone deserves a lavish Thames and Hudson monograph, it?s Barney B.

  56. #57 posted by Paul Gorman


    Take your point on the book production but it need not be so.

    Both editions of my book The Look ran to well over 100,000 words with hundreds of images; the second has something like 250-plus illustrations and a CD but because I had an excellent and independnent publisher, designer and editing team we managed to get it done, out and extremely well received in nine months (and that period included a major family bereavement).

    But it was because they were supportive, accurate, paid attention to detail and actually cared about the subject matter.

    This is the crucial thing; as your correspondence here shows, anybody with half an idea could knock together a BB book – the images lined up alone would carry it – but to do the job he deserves it needs exactly the right publisher AND the full collaboration and participation of those who have treasured his work and memory. I get the sense that there is some resistance to that; else why hasn’t it happened so far?



  57. #58 posted by David


    Well done this is great.

    when I first went on line, beginning of 2006 I searched in vain for stuff on Barney, there was a small wikipedia entry and some stuff on Hawkwind and Brian Griffiths site.

    For me hitting my teens 79 onwards his stuff was the best, and its sad that Neville Brody, Malcolm Garrett, Peter Saville all have such large profiles and books and websites etc and this is the best there is on Mr Bubbles.

    what about that cover for Spasticus Autisticus by Ian Dury, amazing.

    It was a revelation when doing an evening class in etching, my teacher Denis Masi(i think..its a long time ago) told me he knew Malcolm G and Barney and that Barney was a manic depressive and would retreat to a monastery for months. I was young and naive and imagined someone called Barney Bubbles and all that exploding dynamic colourful radical work he produced would be a solid perfectly balanced colourful partying London superstar.

    It was a further revelation and one that sat uncomfortably with my youthful prejudices that the man who made all that great post punk early 80′s stuff was the man who made all that fiddly hippy commune stuff ha ha But I’m over that now (though an aversion to Roger Dean still proudly exists)

    Maybe you could do something with this page and turn it in to a small site, his work was immensely popular and influential and I remember that face article about the furniture and thinking wow, I could definitely have that in my bedroom.

    Maybe yourself and messrs Garrett, Brody, Saville et all should combine your design weight and get that big book of Barney started.

    Thanks once again for putting lots of his work up and the link to Armed Forces, how good is that work eh? Long live Barney Bubbles!



  58. #59 posted by Mr D. Rider


    dear John

    Sadly for me Barneys silkscreens and Star Rats are now on ebay if any one is interested as I would like them to go to an appreciative home – I have no space !

    I’m an academic and used to search for info on Barney for my design students a coiuple of years ago with little available You have done a real service to all here well done

    There are 4 of the set of Barneys silkscreens on ebay uk at the moment selling at 70 quid each – they have to go ( not framed and they should be
    appreciated – only the dinosaurs mssing – breaking them up which is a shame ( sorry )

    Star Rats is up for sale too – ive enclosed a link to this page for educational – I hope thats ok with you.



    best wishes

  59. #60 posted by John


    Fine by me using this page for eBay reference, if I wasn’t so skint just now I’d probably bid on some of those myself.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Barney at least met Paolozzi seeing as Paolozzi knew Mike Moorcock via New Worlds and JG Ballard and Moorcock was mates with BB. Not sure how much Paolozzi used to hang around with the freaks in those days but Moorcock told me that he used to visit the New Worlds office (and was on the masthead of the mag as “Aeronautics Advisor”).

  60. #61 posted by Mr D


    Thanks Dave for that – I’m sure your site will bring BB to a new audience and put him ‘academically’ in his correct place. the Paolozzi link is interesting and
    would like to hear of any material available where Moorcock and Paolozzi had a dialogue – his huge quite recent book prior to his demise called ‘Paolozzi’s writings’ – has hundreds of his letters – may be some references to collaboration there – i will look.

    in circa 1983 there was a chap in a wee portable record store opposite the now flattened Haymarket arcade in Newcastle who had some nice BARNEY artwork – he had been filming Calvert on his uk tour with DAVE ANDERSON & ex inner city unit steve pond and nick i think ? bit hazy
    anyway point is he was selling hi quality Videos of the live gigs and their rehearsals -Calvert was on good form – they were excellent. I saw two of them but they have since dissapeared into the ether and not many people know about these films – but some one has them – as for the chap who filmed them and ran the music shop in Newc – lord only knows
    May show up one day soon – youtube maybe. As the recent bbc doc proved there is so little film footage of Bob Calvert these would be so valuable historically, so if anyone knows what Im on about or where that chap who made all the calvert tapes is please get in touch.
    Calvert was such a unique performer that it is criminal that there is no Hawklords era footage except the quark track from bolans show.
    I think it was referenced somewhere that Lydon had seen Calvert ?- it shows – may be an urban myth -havent read JLs biography

    If any news from anyone about those videos let everyone know.

  61. #62 posted by Mr D


    Re BB / Calvert
    Apologies for typo John that should read ‘Thanks John’ ( not dave ! )

  62. #63 posted by John


    That’s okay. :)

    If you want to know more about the Moorcock/NW/Paolozzi nexus you could always try asking a question on the MM forums:


    Mike often answers questions himself when he’s not too busy.

    Never say never where video footage is concerned, there may well be something recorded on a European tour that’s yet to come to light. Some French and German TV shows used to film a lot of bands throughout the Seventies so who knows what’s out there?

  63. #64 posted by Will Birch


    Great to see so much Barney material in one place and to read the recollections of those who knew and worked with Barney. Also fabulous image reproduction on this site.
    For anyone who is interested there is a little bit of information about Barney’s life and work in the late 60s thru mid 70s in my book ‘No Sleep Till Canvey Island – The Great Pub Rock Revolution’ (please excuse plug).
    I had the pleasure of meeting Barney when he did some artwork for my group, Kursaal Flyers. I am also fortunate to own a bass drum head Barney painted and gave to me as a gift, designed for an imaginary group, The Blue Genes!
    When is someone going to put it all in a book (with lavish illustration)?

  64. #65 posted by David


    Thank you for putting this together. So now I know who designed that greatest of album covers, Armed Forces. There was an exhibition at the Modern Art Museum in Stockholm showing the greatest album covers of all time. Of course it included Warhol’s famous banana cover, but I fully expected it to incorporate Armed Forces as well. Great to finally find out who’d designed it and many of the other great covers from Riviera’s labels.

  65. #66 posted by Jimmy


    I often find myself returning to this excellent post with its colourful exhibition of Barney’s work, both a fitting tribute and a wonderful recognition.

  66. #67 posted by JULES


    JOHN – Strange thing happened today. I’m researching a piece on a 60s car magazine called Motor Racing. It was around for ages but then in early 1968 was given a re-design. Brutal sans serif typography, better quality photography, the introduction of scantilly clad women and a sense of humour. Looking at the flanel panel for leads on people I should talk to, I came across the design consultants credit, which read David Wills and Colin Fulcher. This last one rang a bell. Barney Bubbles was christened Colin Fulcher – could it possibly be the same person?

    I’d love to think it was, particularly given that he was such a hero and mentor of mine whilst at college. Neville (Brody) and I would often go and see him in his studio on the top floor at 60 Parker Street, where he would be more than generous with his time. Later whilst working at Stiff as a junior I would often have to do ads based on his sleeve artwork – not an enviable responsibility. I used to just sit and stare at his skinny ticket card artwork in bewilderment.

    Some designers (myself included) struggle for years to make a half descent fist of it – Barney was just instinctively brilliant. One sleeve I remember in particular was Save the Wail by Lew Lewis. The main picture was a blow up from Lew’s debut single Boogie on the Street taken to line, exposing the dot screen and backed by a blue wash. Barney re-designed the Stiff logo for the sleeve, simply because none of the current logos fitted it’s retro feel. It was a throw away detail that we adored it and of course applied to every other sleeve afterwards…

    Like many of your contributors, I too have a big old wad of Barney’s work and did actually approach a publisher about producing a book back in the late 80s. Despite a more than favourable response, much to my shame, I never got it together. Just as well really as at the time, being of that punk mindset, I was only really into the work that had effected me and had barely scratched the surface where his pre-Stiff days were concerned. I know through friends that Rebecca and Mike have done an amazing job collating info on him and they should be thoroughly encouraged to realise their endeavours and publish it. Which brings me back to my original point – do they or anyone else know if that WAS Barney who was invloved in the re-design of Motor Racing magazine?

  67. #68 posted by John


    Hi Jules and thanks for the lengthy response, it’s great that people are still coming here to fill in the gaps. Good as well to have some detail about Neville B’s interest since his first Graphic Language book says little about his early inspirations.

    I know next to nothing about BB’s history pre-Friends, Hawkwind, etc. but regarding the motoring mag business I’d propose the following:

    a) He obviously had enough training and knowledge to be a “regular” (as opposed to underground) designer.
    b) I think Rebecca & Mike have established that he *did* work outside the music business now and then, even while doing the album sleeves he’s famous for. Given how little he probably got paid by bands or record companies I don’t blame him.
    c) How many print designers named Colin Fulcher could there have been in London in 1968?

    That last point seems the most significant to me but until we get a decent monograph, it’s impossible to know for certain.

  68. #69 posted by Paul Gorman


    Dear Jules et John

    The CF credited will definitely be BB.

    He and pal and fellow design fiend David Wills shared a mansion flat behind Olympia in 1968 from where they carried out all manner of commissions, from OZ layouts to commercial work for the likes of Justin De Blank, the pound-note grocery provisions company set up by one of BB’s colleagues at Conran Design.
    That summer BB visited his friend Paul Olsen in San Francisco and, having absorbed at first-hand the work and influences of the likes of Stanley Mouse, returned to a new abode in Portobello Road from where his design career as we know it really took off towards the end of 68.
    FYI: These days David Wills lives in Haight Ashbury.

  69. #70 posted by John


    Oh, good one, Paul! Nice that you know something about the journey to SF as well, since the info I’d seen on that wasn’t confirmed elsewhere. Given how costly air travel was in those days, he’d have needed some decently paying commissions to fund the flight so the “straight” work makes sense. Thanks.

  70. #71 posted by Volly


    Nick Lowe’s Burning/Zulu kiss 7″ sleeve,
    surely must be Barney’s?

    Deliver us that book, please.

  71. #72 posted by k moon



    thanks so much for putting this all together. barney and i were best friends for much of the 70′s. i miss him more than i can say. barney had a huge influence on my life. many memories of working on hawkwind covers with him. as talented as he was, he would run things by me (as if i could draw a straight line!).

    i have lots of letters and little drawings from barney. he also did work for the bands ace and amazorblades, among others.

    there has been book talk for a long time now. personally, i think he deserves it. there’s just so much work out there to put together.

    it’s great to see all the postings and to know that barney’s work is so appreciated.

    thanks again.

  72. #73 posted by Dave Fudger


    Why don’t you make it a BB ‘movie’ project – this would require a different approach than a book, but hey, isn’t it 2007 – I have a lot of respect for Melvyn Bragg’s kind of thing, but let’s move on, BB pioneered (certainly with Stiff) an icon-style of graphics which now pokes everybody in the eye on mobile phones, games consoles, TV, PDAs, packaging, advertising, etc., isn’t it implicit in Barney’s work (particularly the later work) that he was perfectly attuned to the flow of popular visual culture, shame he didn’t get to do web-sites or have opportunities like the Gorillaz.

    Anyway, hearty yo to an enterprise which celebrates and perpetuates BB’s thing.

    Best wishes


  73. #76 posted by Mark Robson


    Thank you for creating this page. Barney was a brilliant designer and I very much hope a book and a new exhibition of his work happen in the near future. I think he may have designed office furniture for Jake Riviera?

  74. #77 posted by Mark Robson


    I should have read all the posts first! He did design furniture and it was in The Face that I remember reading about it. Sorry about that.

  75. #79 posted by Paul Gorman


    Hi John

    I thought it may interest your subscribers/visitors to know that my book about Barney’s work will be published this autumn by British publisher Adelita. A US publisher will be announced soon.

    I am currently compiling and writing it and am pleased to say there are already many illuminating contributors and interviewees and some revelations about the work Barney achieved.

    The book will be a visual document and the publisher and I aim for it to be a definitive account.

    An exhibition will be held in conjunction with Paul Smith New York and London. More details to follow.

    I want to thank you and your blog for being partly responsible for kicking the whole project into action.

    Check out the link here for more info:

    Very best – I’d be delighted to hear from any potential contributors who I haven’t already contacted,


  76. #80 posted by Ian Foxon


    At last. This is outstanding news!

  77. #82 posted by Tim Niblock


    Interesting reading all the above as in my record collecting days I had SO many of the records mentioned. However I think you will find that the Armed Forces/Costello cover was done in collaboration with BAZOOKA GRAPHIQUES from France, who even got to design a cover of the NME in the punk days…looking forward to the book and hope it gets to Australia!

  78. #83 posted by rebecca and mike


    Hi Tim,
    Yes, you’re right to flag up the Bazookas on Armed Forces. They were involved in some of the image-making; Kiki and Loulou Picasso. In addition, the cover painting of the elephants on Armed Forces was neither Barney or the Bazookas, but was a guy called Tom Pogson (briefed by Barney).

  79. #84 posted by Tim Niblock


    So now I know who did the elephant as I knew it was neither Bazooka or BB, there was an interesting daily blog which was a graphic representation of the news run by loulou picasso but it apparently ran into trouble because of copyright issues of images used. They were just brilliant even if just for the use of the picasso names.

  80. #85 posted by dodge


    A truly fascinating account of Barney’s work . . . I was first astounded by those Hawkwind album covers back in the day . . . They were something to cherish and lo they still survive as I can’t bear to part with them – much to the annoyance of the other arf.

    Barney’s work inspired me to take art and design further giving me a thoroughly enjoyable and diverse career – Thanks BB

  81. #87 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    Just to add to Bubbleania that seems to be forging ahead here, try and find a copy of ‘Kings of the robot rhythm’ by Chilli Willi on !972 Revelations. The lyric sheet has a typical BB joke.

    Having skimmed through the responses here, I cannot see references to EyE no 6 (1992) and the Red Dirt diecut LP on UK Fontana.

    I found a japanese pressing of Bongo’s Over Balham c.1978. I have always been amused this may have just been an extended joke that BB and Jake Riveira may have carried out just to guffaw on the rascist kamikazie elements of Nips in barrels. I wonder if the japanese got the Joke.

  82. #88 posted by John


    Hi Deepinder. I did search for the Chilli Willi albums at the time but old cover art isn’t always so easy to find. It might be worth having another look.

    Rick Poyner who edited Eye magazine mentions the BB feature near the top of the comments.

  83. #89 posted by David


    Wow so the book is really happening! yay!!

    cover looks good. Surely pink was a fave of his, its all over his work.

    So now I officially start the campaign for the BBC 4 documentary on Mr Bubbles.

    I dont see why not.


  84. #90 posted by noprob


    i can only repeat all the wow thanks so much for this page being here and so look forward to the publication of the book and have noticed in todays trawl across the intranet that an iialian reissue label-akarma-have released the glastonbury fayre set on 180 gm
    vinyl with all the original posters inserts pvc cover etc

  85. #91 posted by vanian


    Great post! I found this post googling for The Damned’s Music For Pleasure. I always wondered if the cover was meant to be portraits of the band or not. You said you wrote about the album cover. what was your take on the characters on the album art? Which part of the design being which member of The Damned? I can only guess that the blue and black rounded thingy on on the right bottom corner being Dave Vanian. and the left bottom one is probably Captain. But the rest is unsure.

    This album art is one of my favorites.

  86. #92 posted by John


    Hi Vanian. The piece I wrote about the Damned sleeve was for a school exam where we had to compare two very different album covers. I chose that one and Close to the Edge by Yes. I can’t possibly remember what I wrote apart from making some vague point about abstraction versus representation and so on.

    I’ve never figured out who was who among the band members aside from DV. I suppose the best bet would be to compare the sleeve with a photo of the band from that period.

  87. #93 posted by rebecca and mike


    Just been thinking about the Armed Forces sleeve, and how there are significant contributions by other graphic artists on that sleeve. There are a couple other sleeves pictured above that are not solely a Barney Bubbles credit:

    Edgar Broughton Band’s ‘Oora’ is one. The ‘sleeve concept’ was by Chris Smith, the ‘sleeve design’ was by Chris Smith and Steve Broughton. Barney gets an ‘artwork’ credit.

    Similarly Space Ritual. Curiously, Barney gets a ‘packaging’ credit, and Pierre gets an ‘art direction’ credit.


  88. #94 posted by David Wills


    Hi, you might not know of me, but I am Sid Squeek, the Sqeek half of Bubbles and Squeek.

    I was a brother of Barney’s from 1957 to ’82 in work and play. In life, love and ballistics.

    I’ve been out of touch here in San Francisco with you all for a while, so its droll to see how our jolly fun at Leigh Court so long ago has morphed into intense web log nattering and the like.

    I’m working on a biography of Barnstable with the so called Gorman, and in doing so am becoming more aware of how our jolly droll saga of adventures, with its multiple layers of intrigue, art and stolen Adam fireplaces has entered the consciousness of this age.

    I look forward to many entertaining chats.

  89. #95 posted by David Wills


    Rebbecca says it would have been cool to have read something about Barney. Fair do. OK here goes.

    How about:
    Lorry was Colin’s girl friend from about 61 to 64 and an on going figure in his life. She survived, by choice, on dry bread and tea. Lorry was a very thin person. Head shaved in a slash and burn style, sub-crew cut. She was a very shy seeming, retiring girl with hesitant quick jerky movements that would suddenly burst out with a fiery animated exclamation. With her bright blue eyes glancing to the side, she was very funny, a nervous adventuress. In the late sixties she was a scene painter at the Natural History museum, she got really good at putting big expanses of blue sky in dioramas, and grass. Her darting, cockney accented questions searched for the light side of things, “Well they do, don’t they?”

    While Fulcher was still living with his parents at 76 Tranmere Rd in Whitton in 1962 and I lived in the apartment on Marylebone High Street over MacFisheries, we continued the idea of communal work, like our on-going (1959 – 62), GPO posted, Gas Works themed mail, and the organized occasional ‘Do Its.’ Where we’d have an idea and get our friends to do stuff, “Go to Woolworths and spend 2s 6d,” or ‘Make a noise maker.”

    These were cognate with random bigger events, like a memorable visit to Fulham gasworks one Saturday in 1962 with my Yashica. (2.8mm, twin lens reflex, with two and a quarter inch square negatives.) I wore a harris tweed jacket, Barney in his sailors P coat and skinny jeans. We walked in the front gates of the vast building site, by a row of shovels, a ladder, buckets, and a big pair of red, acid resistant industrial gloves hanging on a peg. With the gas ovens, the coke piles, and the srorage tanks beckoning, we waltzes up tho the foreman and I boldly ask, “Is it okey doke to look around a bit and photograph?”

    The friendly overalls and herring bone suited gent in a flannel shirt and no tie offers to show us around. “You scared of heights?” he asks. We ascend these dark stairs, going round and up. For ever. We come out at the top of the six story coke ovens, a long, sixty foot by twenty space, A dark place open to the wind, just as well. Furnace mouths opening over the burning coals below belching flames up every now and then; while soot black, black faced West Indian stokers, with vivid white teeth grinning in the dark, shoveled coal into the well named Hell-holes.

    I made a book of the photographs I had beautifully printed at Bert Hardy’s(?) by Waterloo station. (Now lost like everything else.)

    In, maybe, February of 68, we occupy the London School of Economics. (I never told my dad who took a London University engineering course at night school while in the Boys Service of the fledgling RAF at Martlesham heath in the early 20’s). Inside with the cream and green walls, with a tan stripe between at chest height, it looks very much like the institutional walls of Twickenham Art school, so it felt familiar. We futively join the throng of people milling. Walking through the unguarded entrance on a Sunday down a corridor, we look at a chalk board with a list of choices and wander off to join the print shop. We work during the day, leave at night for Leigh Court by bus. We clean screens for the print workshop, with the French Situationists, and the Maoists who don’t agree with each other. Colin (just beginning to be ‘Barney’ now) and I and I are both skilled squeegee bashers. While they argue, we assiduously scrub, with the sweet noxious gas off the methylated spirits in our breath. Us hard-working chaps deserve a break: So we figure we can just grasp a clean screen and cut a stencil. I walk over and pull one we’ve just cleaned. We spend about 2 hours cutting the ‘Black Mickey Mouse’ that I draw from Colin’s idea, he had already painted on the Vespa body (later lost after the enormous Jumble sale in the attic over in the Mansions in ’68), Next day as we are taping up our precious work, an officious Frenchy comes up rips it off, yelling, “you have no authority to have this screen!” We leave. Barney is not pleased, in fact he is really pizzed off.

    (’71 or 2?) I wander over to meet Barney at Tenburger, although he’s now living huddled in the cellar stables up the street. Because I don’t like Jonothan Green’s snide wit and don’t want to meet upstairs, Barney says to meet me behind the curtain as you walk in on the right at the back in the shop under Friends. “My hiding place.” I sit there and he appears, gnome like, peeking round the flap of the curtain, “Townley Woll!” and we do a hug, discuss the times.

    He says he’s got a couple of things for us to work on, one is a painting he wanted destroyed, “but artfully.” He shows it me, but I couldn’t bring myself to “Hit it wiv’ an ‘ammer.” And the other job which he offered afterwards, which was painting a witch…

    There, that little dab’ll do y’.

  90. #96 posted by John


    Rebecca & Mike: seeing as I still have a vinyl copy of Space Ritual I might have noted that myself, had I been more diligent.

    There is one mystery about that design which remains unresolved (for me, at least), namely the source of the vintage erotica. You’ll probably know that Victor Moscoso used the same photo for one of his Neon Rose psychedelic posters in the Sixties. Was the Space Ritual use a deliberate borrowing (and reference back) or coincidence?

    David Wills: many thanks for the lengthy reminiscence, I think we’re all eagerly waiting to see Paul’s book.

  91. #97 posted by David Wills



    Hmm, “lengthy reminiscence”? sounds bad.

    Is that too lengthy for youse?

    I do like to go on.

  92. #98 posted by rebecca and mike


    sorry john, can’t help there… don’t know too much about vintage erotica… but that’s another very interesting link you gave. one thing’s for sure, there are loads of codes and symbols in BBs work, and the fun bit is unravelling them all.

  93. #99 posted by John


    David: no need to apologise for length, the most valuable comments here have tended to be the longer ones and this post is an epic anyway, with more comments than anything else.

    Rebecca & Mike: sounds like more than one book is required!

  94. #100 posted by Paul Gorman


    Great idea John

    I believe Rebecca & Mike are perfectly placed to publish a fantastic book on Barney Bubbles and hope that my own humble effort opens the floodgates for continuing and everlasting assessment and celebration of his brilliance.

    Meantime my money’s on Mr Wills being the ace provider of the A1 Good Guy 60s/70s memoir.

  95. #101 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    Mike and Rebecca have suggested that I bring to your attention my – James Last Christmas LP that may be a Barney Bubbles effort-theory. The design is a 1970 or 1971 repackaging of his 1966 LP through the design partnership of Berney Wade Davis. The group seem to do a lot of work for B+C and Polydor. If I were to stake my life I would say its not BB, but the execution is superb, and has the confidence of BB with his strong angular style-nothing wishee washee here. There is a sticker that accompanies the LP, which has a Tesselated ‘wallpaper’ design on a dot screen – which is BB, but the sticker has all the geometric allusions that makes me want to investigate further. See http://www.flickr.com search Barney Bubbles .

    The Chilli Willi LP of 1972 has a lyric sheet insert that I alluded to earlier, the paper is Glastonbury wove check out the watermark. Revelations were responsible for the Glastonbury triple LP, so this touch – hidden by BB may have bankcrupted them! Rev already on shaky finances. Martin Stone did not know this, but he reckoned the paper was very expensive to get in. So this could be an expensive BB joke. But its great though.

  96. #102 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    I remember now, having read the site again that Elvis Costello was on Tiswas discussing the Armed Forces cover with Chris Tarrant. The film needs to be dug out to see if any light is shed on the artist. Tiswas an ATV production – so Central TV may have the archive.

    ATV logo designed by Lew ‘monte christo’ Grade based on CBS logo

  97. #103 posted by John


    Deepinder: that James Last design looks like BB to me, an Art Deco Xmas. That angular stylisation is already there on In Search of Space, isn’t it?

    I added Bongos Over Balham to the pictures above, so this page is now even more unwieldy. I nearly met Martin Stone a couple of years ago in Paris where he now resides. If you need to speak to him, Paul, Moorcock’s yer man.

  98. #104 posted by Paul Gorman


    Thanks John

    Michael and I have already been in communication and I’m talking to M Stone next week. I’m also visiting a few other people, one in particular who has never spoken before on the record about BB. He is key to the evolution of Barney’s work so I am excited but will keep schtum until that mission is completed.

    And no it’s not James Last.

    I’m not being deliberately mysterious – one of the reasons for this book is to widen out BB consciousness – just don’t want to jinx anything.

    Strange and heartening to have such a public expression of interest (and goodwill) during the writing of a book. Usually this is a pitilessly isolated activity which alienates one from nearest and dearest, domestic pets, the postman, etc.

  99. #105 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    Thanks for the views on my flickr account (daevideo) regarding James Last. The work of Berney Wade & Davis is excellent, and I hope some definative evidence should emerge that will establish whether Barney worked with these fellows or not. In the meanwhile Paul I will not be laying down any heavy bets!!

    Can I point readers to the first UK pressing of ‘In and out of focus’ by dutch band Focus on Polydor 2344 003. Its a Keith Davis or a Keith Davis / Grahame Berney sleeve (2 different credit variations) the gatefold has a coarse printers dots grid -and when viewed from a distance the word FOCUS in an angular form can be read – not obvious when held normally. The inside is silver foil on card with more Barneyesque patterns, and strong lozenge shapes – I wonder if this is barney, or some cross pollination occured between these sets of designers. Either way the sleeve is a masterpiece and a study of Berney Davis Wade is certainly required

  100. #106 posted by Phil Franks


    Hullo David Wills!

    The printers near Waterloo were Grove Hardy, yes it was Bert Hardy of Picture Post – I used them a lot – the best.

    The photo I did of you and Barney painting Nikki the Witch was in Mike and Rebecca’s exhibition I believe.

  101. #107 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    Hello Phil (Franks)

    Do you remember Eric Hayes the Canadian photographer? He would like to get in touch with you – I think his website is http://www.erichayes.ca Your name came in conversation when I was trying to find his Mothers photo’s that were published in Friends issue 1

  102. #108 posted by rebecca and mike


    Hi Phil,
    Great to see you here. Yep, your recollections are correct, that pic was up in the exhibition we did. It is such a cool shot.

  103. #109 posted by Phil Franks


    Hi Deepinder,

    Of course I remember Eric Hayes, in fact I have a link to his website on mine.

    I was in touch with him four or five years ago, I’ll email him again now.

  104. #110 posted by Phil Franks


    Hi Deepinder,

    I was in touch with Eric four or five years ago, I even have a link to his web site from mine.

    I’ll contact him again, thanks.

  105. #111 posted by David Wills


    Hi Phil

    Ah, these are the days. Nice to chat. The web is like Portobello Road, there’s everything there there. What was the painted witch pix for originally? I used the pix in Curious, but that’s not what he designed her for. We were so chaste when we painted her up – carefully minding our fingers.

  106. #112 posted by David Wills


    Talking of anonymity and the Bubbles – Bruce Connor died yesterday, he is the source of Barney keeping mum in the credits department. See my ‘log at DRG.

  107. #113 posted by Phil Franks



    The painting of Nikki the Witch’s body was done for her performance of a magick rite to celebrate a change in the law in the UK which for the first time in centuries allowed magick ceremonies to be held in public.

    Nikki was a member of a coven which met in a house in Holland Park who’s chief was Alex Sanders, self-proclaimed “King of Witches”.

    To celebrate the lifting of the legal ban on public manifestations of magick Alex, his wife Maxine, Nikki, and the coven, hired a cinema, in Hendon to do a public performance.

    The first part of the show was an initiation ceremony, the second part featured Alex invoking The Devil in the body of Nikki, with the promise that The Devil would in fact appear.

    I was there photographing it for the London edition of Rolling Stone. Nikki did indeed enter into an “altered state”, the performance was cut short and Nikki was attended to by the St. Johns’ Ambulance people who were there “just in case”.

    While you and Barney were chaste I was chased by Nikki, with some success I admit. Alex also invited me to join the coven saying my witch name would be “Bacchus”

    Info on Alex and Maxine:

    Ah-ha! Here’s one of my pics of Maxine in the dressing room before the show:

    Where is your “log at DRG”?

  108. #114 posted by David Wills


    “My log at DRG,” – that sounds so impressive to this archaic pencil pusher.

    http ://designresearchgroup.wordpress.com/2008/05/31/who-was-barney-bubbles-anonymity-and-the-design-canon/

    Your detailed memory of the occasion is noted. We want more. If all of us wrote like that we’d have quite a story: The Bubbles Bible.

    I think Barney and I figured you had a thing going on with Nikki.

  109. #115 posted by David Wills



    Duh. Of course it’s not my ‘log at DRG, it’s my post at DRG.

  110. #116 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    I have been alerted to Curious magazine here on the blog – and by golly whaddaya know! I have the very issue in question. I was amazed I could lay my hands on it. The painting on Nicki the witch is amazing (its supposed to be the intertwining of the masculine and feminine and duality therof) . Its pure Barney Bubbles, it reminds me of the way how ‘Revelations’ is painted on the labels of the Glastonbury Fayre discs – a ‘flame’ motif starting yellow – red then green. This familiar trait of Barney is found in a circle in the middle of the die-cut ‘In search of Space’ hakwind sleeve. I may be wrong but is that Barney Bubbles himself admiring his handiwork on Nicki’s backside????? Good to see a fit healthy bird like Nicki took pride in a luxuriant bush – *sigh* – sadly lacking these days.

    Nicki the witch is credited as photographed by ‘Count Divanovitch Alexei Kravetski’ good to see the good count wielding the camera, I hope the rest of the photo session still exists

    the photo has been printed in reverse – the newspaper headline s are mirror inage

  111. #117 posted by David Wills


    Phil caught us in the act, it is not a pose, that is Barney on the left (as reproduced), in the act of both painting and admiring Nikki’s bum.

  112. #118 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    Ah! so its Phil Franks – its a great photo session, I have scanned and posted the image on my ‘daevideo’ http://www.flickr.com account. Please use Barney Bubbles as a search term. I have also posted up the Glastonbury fayre label as designed by barney – so the flame motif can be compared to the painting. I reckon this could be one of less than 10 images of Barney Bubbles published in his lifetime.

  113. #119 posted by John


    Thanks again for the link, Deepinder, that’s a splendid photo. And yes, the “Myths and Man” reference would refer to Man, Myth and Magic which was still being published at the time. For my sins I have the entire seven-volume set which includes a number of photos of the aforementioned Alex Sanders (he was on the cover of one issue).

    Wasn’t Barney in one of the photos inside In Search of Space? Top left with R Calvert I was always told.

  114. #120 posted by rebecca and mike


    it’s john trux who’s with barney in XISOS, not calvert. :-)

  115. #121 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    Thanks for the interest – Re Man Myth and Magic: There is a wonderful photo of Osman Spare as one of the plates in ‘Ideas and people’ author Clifford Bax published by Lovatt Dickson’ in the mid 1930′s. Bax pays a visit to Mr Spare in Borough and talks about a puiblishing venture they had called ‘Golden Hind’ in 1918/19 therabouts.

    My friend looking over my shoulder thinks that ‘Myths and Man’ may be a reference to Lion the Witch and Wardrobe – a book on Mrs Beavers bookshelf. There are 2 or 3 photo’s from the issue of Curious that may be Phil Franks work I will post them onto my flickr ‘Daevideo’ account later.

  116. #122 posted by David Wills


    Talking of published pictures of Fulcher, there’s a profile of him in the crowd at the Arts Lab, centered on page 114 of ‘I Want to Take You Higher’ (published by Chronicle Books) that was in the Rebecca and Mike show. Fulcher told me that Barry Miles (?) had said there was a “very important photograph of us at that would be in a book, real big, one day.” Fulcher is in a paisley shirt and a sensible hair cut, me on the opposite page – we’re all looking at a naked man crawling through the crowd. The book says it’s at the 14–hour Technicolour Dream, which Fulcher went to with his face painted in bubbles, and a mask, I got pix, so I’m fairly certain it’s at the Arts Lab in Covent Garden, 1967.

  117. #123 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    David I have that very book! I constantly surprise myself with what I’ve got – and especially regarding Barney Bubbles I didn’t realise I had images of him. The information from David Wills is gold dust. We are grateful to him.

    There is no credit I discern – so is it reasonable to state that this (superb) photo was taken by Barry Miles himself.

    I will try and put this photo on my daevideo account on http://www.flickr.com today – or flickr search “Barney Bubbles”

  118. #124 posted by David Wills


    Deepinder, thanks for the encouragement, “Gold dust” no less. I have been writing up a storm lately on the subject and don’t want to hog this space, so I’m wondering what to do with it all, any suggestions? Paul Gorham is writing the book, but says he has enough early personal information on Barney now to meet his looming copy date. So for all you Bubbles fans out there I’ve got a mine of gossip, a pile of photo darkroom rejects, and even a piece of my aunt René the ironmonger’s old wall paper collection that I gave Barney sometime in ’69. I have knowledge of influences, early work, and tales of adventure and daring do. Somewhere out there, I bet, are collector recipients of Fulcher’s contributions to the ongoing mailothon between ex-Twickenham art students in the early sixties, in which we succeeded in ‘embarrassing’ (the technical Post Office term) the postmen (all men then), much to their amusement. Colin sent me an altered Kellogg’s Corn (and did you know that’s maize not wheat?) Flake box with a stamp on it. (Irrelevant note for the design inclined: You may be interested to see that the ‘K’ in the Kellogg’s logo is taken from the ‘ic’ in Picasso’s signature.)

  119. #125 posted by David Wills


    Hi Mr D. Rider. PAOLOZZI? Ah memories. This is such grand fun. At Twickenham art school we went to the Ideal Homes Exhibition at Olympia (?) in 1960 and there, incongruously amongst the dinette sets and wall paint brochures, was an exhibition of Paolozzi’s work, in all his graphic wildness. Mr Gould, our “display’ (read exhibition design) and silversmith teacher, back in our art school tower, ranted on about this “awful ‘modern’ art rubbish”, and Colin sitting on a stool at his bench, said quietly how much he liked the work.

    Mr Rider, since your students are visiting this site maybe if you’re all good I’ll post some anecdotes about the ‘Colour Party’ of 1965. Fulcher and I sent an invitation (I still have one) to art students at Twickenham and elsewhere to come to Leigh Court to make a movie, and sew clothes from rags, and build an organ from their sortie to get Fulham Road Market rubbish, and have Ron Bowman play ‘Green Onions’ on it. Wizbang designer Pearce Marshbank, still at Ealing then, was there. We lined the entire flat, ceiling to floor in plastic. All the parties I give are always mentally referenced back to the archetype of the Color Party. Artist Cat Bell and I have a tea party every year on Haight Street during the Street Fair. Our Tea Party is a ‘Commercial Free Event’ with free tea and cookies and comfy chairs, carpets, an awning and the flapping flags of many nations. Everyone gets a sticker of their choice. Both the Street Fair itself, which I helped start, and the Tea Party are echoes down the road of Barney’s blazing creativity.

  120. #126 posted by John


    David: the Paolozzi connection doesn’t surprise me, as I mentioned above. BB’s early Hawkwind work reminds me a lot of Paolozzi’s poster designs from the mid-Sixties.

    Regarding your historical material, if arranging a book is difficult, there’s always the web. Blogs are a great way of easily presenting words and pictures. I’d recommend WordPress.com which is free, open-source and possibly a better bet than Blogger.

    Lastly, I’ve added numbers to the commenting to make the system (and this page!) more user-friendly. A quick hack, could do with being styled a bit more but the fine-tuning defeated me this evening.

  121. #127 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    Looks like the early life of Fulcher/Barney is an important and unexplored land. I’m sure that me and other Barney Bubbles fans – however tangentially interested – await a full exploration of Colin and BB the man.

    note: If Eduardo Paolozzi severely tweezed Colin Fulchers brain, then a look at his Moonstrips series (I think 100 screen printed sheets) may prove instructive. Birmingham University has a full set in the entrance and up the stairs to the Law Library of the Hardy buliding ( in front of the ‘old joe’ Clock tower – a landmark and a half).

  122. #128 posted by David Wills


    In 1976(?) at Barney’s echoing, large, bare bones studio, up on the second floor, with a view looking out onto Paul Street, I saw a set of Paolozzi’s someone had lent him. He showed them to me with great pride, while I waited for him to finish what he was doing on Elvis’s album cover. “Here, take a look at these.” But as you can imagine he had a vast range of influences. Barney was pleased with his Sfiff work, “…get to do all the things we ever dreamed of back then.” he said, referring to our wild times at Leigh Court. [In (or on) Avonmore Road, West Kensington.]

    Somewhere in a sketch book I have a drawing of Barney leaning over his desk at work in the Paul Street studio as he worked on Costello’s checker-board art.

    It is not without some wry humour that I recognize as true what painter Kathleen O’Neill, in Bolinas CA, said recently when I told her what I was doing, “You could make it all up.” But I strive for veracity – don’t mean I’m right though. I use single quotes if I’m not absolutely positive of his words.

    The studio was at 80/82 (?) Paul Street Wc2, http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

  123. #129 posted by rebecca and mike


    that’d be EC2 (as in ‘E’lvis ‘C’ostello!) not WC2; wouldn’t want any tourists going to the wrong destination.

    keep writing Mr Wills!

  124. #130 posted by David Wills


    Apparently, so Rebecca and Mike tell me, I was on, or in, Paul Street, EC2, in the summer of 1977. Yes, I wore my 7:7:77 T-shirt, gave one to Barney.

  125. #131 posted by rebecca and mike


    *Our disclaimer LOL*
    We didn’t quite say you were in Paul St EC2 in 77, just said that if you saw Barney putting together the Elvis checkerboard we sent you a jpeg of, it wasn’t 81 or 82, but would have been 77.
    Maybe you did see it at Paul Street EC2… or maybe you saw it at Parker Street WC2 (aha… WC2 creeps back into the equation).

  126. #132 posted by David Wills


    As one of Barney’s Boswells, I’m a bit confused in writing all this way-back-a-when, as to whether I was in England in 1976, ’77 and ’78 and what i did when. My passport is of no help. Maybe my sketch books would tell a story. It would help in to know and contribute to the Lore and Works of the Lord, to find the life behind the art. Get a taste of the Bubbles flavor of the month. (Don’t try this at home, kids.) So bear with me while I wing it here in the time machine.

    Lets see now. I could have been there three yearn running; my folks were slowly dying, it was a difficult time. I was definitely in England in 77, I saw the Elvis ‘checkers’ cover in production in the white washed office with the black stereo, where i saw the Paolozzi’s portfolio on Paul Street.

    76 (?)Arriving fresh from the Haight in san Francisco, one Saturday around 11 AM in early May, I coincidentally met up with the, ’til then untraceable, Barney, on Basset Road, Ladbroke Grove. Also coincidentally this was right outside my old apartment from the time when Teenburger was round the corner. Barney mentioned coincidences, said how he had met Higson in the East End. And how we had met Ed Moulton through the girls at the Carnival shop on Hammersmith Rd. How Ed had split with the money and left Barney fucked, and that was when he met Chris Higson – while wandering disconsolate, thinking to finish it all in the street. It was Higson who had told him about the contact for what would be Stiff. Radio Wales’, Dai Davies was involved. Just then Barney getting his new secret studio together. Last I had heard of Higson, was he’d been literally stoned (with rocks in Ethiopia) in a jeep driving on his way to get married in what was then Tangyanica, so that was a surprise just to find out he was still alive. There would be records down at the Burn Center in Salisbury.

    Barney was fresh out from the asylum, up North somewhere, where he’d had a job in a warehouse to prove he was competent to his doctor. He said “I was pretty good at it.” and explained why, “I’d worked in that lolly factory.” Where he’d “pizzed in the vats.” We walked down onto Ladbroke Grove, Barney talking about a religion of shape, which came from the spiritual writings of Wassily Kandinski and the work of Malevitch. As we past a lorry with the FedEx logo on it turning into Basset Road, he said, “Look see what I mean – it’s everywhere.” I said I was going to visit the old Teenburger/Frendz office, asked if that was OK, would his protectors blame me if we smoked a joint? (I was right, Justin De B did.) Barney said that’s where he was headed anyway. On Portobello we visited the derelict studio over the record and dyed hippie clothes shops below. Tiny Tony did in fact proffer the joint.

    We walked back to Ladbroke Grove railway station. Then, as we approached the bridges on Ladbroke Grove Barney said he was going to “end it” and he asked me to join him in the ultimate graphic event, the most extreme protest; death. I smiled said a bland, British, “Nah.” changed the subject, and caught the train.

    77 One day, a sunny Sunday I walked back from Barney’s to stay at my old flat on Basset Rd. with the vivacious ‘Eleanor’ whom I had met one Saturday in the kaff on Portobello. That day I got busted, literally red handed, for stenciling a Street Lightnin’ Gang, World Teleport graffiti on a traffic control box, by Sgt. Bootsy Snudge (I kid not) in Notting Hill Gate Pollce, the guys who gunned up on Oz. As i was being questioned, I drew portraits of the handsome coppers in the station, as they looked up, in a big legal tome, a lesser offense… ‘Defacing a Pale.’ This was preferable to the ‘Malicious Mischief’ felony they were going to book me for. they offered tea and cherry sponge cake. The cop, Bootsy, who lived in Abinger, Kent, to save time for the first thing in the morning trial, slept in the cell and I went to sleep with ‘Eleanor’up in the loft, in what had been the LA antique restorer, Rita Gearge’s boudoir where I’d first been dosed. The arrangement were so that Bootsy got priority on the roster, and we could both appear in Marylebone Magistrates court first thing, early on Monday, to get Bootsy home for a ‘weekend’ break – as long as I plead guilty. They never got the Oz connection. I Never made the date with Alison. But I digress.

    77 (?) He didn’t mention how long he’d been painting, I got the impression it it was something he’d been doing awhile. We went to the Horniman Museum and he said, about a scenic tackily painted, dry brush, mural background there, “Boy, that’s cheap,” and I was surprised he thought that, made me think he’d been painting a lot. Our friend Lorry used to do background paintings for the Nat Hist Mus, so we had a particular interest in the subject.

    Walking back, sitting on Parliament Hill looking out over London, Barney looks out over the city, and says in an open, and at the same conspiratorial tone, “Look at all that… we rule, its all ours… we can do anything we want… it’s easy… if we want to.” It was true. Honest megalomania, he was right. (The group noun ‘we’ was interesting. Maybe the ‘royal we’, but it was a buddy thing too.)

    78(?) I also saw the art for Hawklords in production – which would be in ’78. Barney at that time with a mullahs beard and huge hair, still wearing his pea coat and skinny Levis. I saw the cover and booklet, on Portobello with the late Tiny Tony. I wonder, could Barney have worked on it and brought it by to show Nick? Hmmm. I never did visit Parker Street Studio. Did I meet him in 307 Portobello Rd and did he bring the art with him? Yeah, could be. Yeah, and then I go visit our old friend Alison in Fleet, Hants., We went for a walk, very self consciously and incongruously holding hands as we walked round an alfalfa field on his “daily constitutional.” Later that day in the derelict water meadows, Barney tried to kill me as I jumped the weir.

    This is all a little nigly but I feel knowing what happened in the Bubbles saga is like documenting the trail of the messiah for all us apostles. He’s laughing.

    David Wöllz

  127. #133 posted by Phil Franks


    #116 posted by Deepinder Cheema

    Nicki the witch is credited as photographed by ‘Count Divanovitch Alexei Kravetski’ good to see the good count wielding the camera, I hope the rest of the photo session still exists.

    Kravetski was my grandfather’s name and one of my aliases, along with “Pochettino Gaio” who is credited as doing the Adverts “One Chord Wonder” maxi-single sleeve.

    All the originals still exist and I still own copyright – please ask for permission before publishing any more of my work, or indeed anybody’s work on the internet, or elsewhere.

  128. #134 posted by rebecca and mike


    for the people who read this with an eye for detail… and having looked at this blog for FAR TOO LONG (heh heh), it just dawned on us that the Space Ritual depicted actually has different typography to the Barney original, and the Astounding Sounds depicted is visually very ‘cleaned-up’ and again has border typography different to any Barney originals (although happy to be corrected if we’re wrong). presumably these are from CD re-issues that have gone through some re-working?

    think we said before that the Roadhawks LP depicted was not Barney, neither the image or the type, but was a slightly different recreation by a totally different person.

    and for more typo-nerdity (presumably there are some of that sort out there LOL)… check out the ‘k’ of ‘Moorcock’ overshooting the banner on ‘New Worlds Fair’!

  129. #135 posted by John


    Yes, I noted above that the Space Ritual sleeve was “crudely composited from the CD reissue”. When I was putting this post together originally I was too lazy to spend the time photographing the vinyl sleeve.

    The Astounding cover probably comes from the Griffin reissue (I forget) since I sold my vinyl of that years ago (mea culpa) and probably couldn’t find a better example anywhere else. Roadhawks should probably be dropped or replaced with the BB original.

  130. #136 posted by David Wills


    Hi Phil (re post 133), this is all a bit off the subject of Barney, but adds a little colour to his background. The originals of the Nikki shoot? The rest of the shoot? They would surely be with you, no? If you left them at Curious, they may have been subject to Kings’ Rules. Put in what the publisher, Gerald Kingsland, called “… the box of copyright free snaps and used as the occasion needs.” I used a cover picture of Michael Caine’s well dressed wife for a supposedly respectable issue to please the Lord Chamberlain. “Found therein in a rummage through the assorted situations depicted, your honour.” That’s why Mr. Caine sued. He won and closed Curious down.

    The free-box may have been sold, with the effects, in auction. For more on this mind-set see the book, Castaway•. Gerald Kingsland of Curious became notorious for taking up my suggestion to become a King, he was given the opportunity by his publisher to be King of Barney Island (also known as Tuin) north of Australia in the Torres Straights, and write a book about it, but his Woman Friday underling beat him to the punch, wrote a hilarious book about her experience,

    • From Wiki… “The story of our year on Tuin was told in my book Castaway (1983), which in 1986 was adapted into a film starring Oliver Reed and Amanda Donohoe. During long, hot nights when, due to the attentions of sandflies, we were trapped together in a small tent, Kingsland told me about his life before we met through his advertisement in Time Out magazine in 1980: “Writer seeks `wife’ for year on tropical island”.

  131. #137 posted by rebecca and mike


    John, all perfectly understandable of course! Infact, reproducing Barney’s work often pulls the gremlins to the surface. One of the most unfortunate that we have come across was in the big book that accompanied the ‘Communicate’ exhibition at the Barbican in London (and later in Japan too we recall) circa 2004/05. In the book, the original UK issue of the LP ‘My Aim is True’ is depicted, but it is shown without the printer’s colour bars and as a result appears without one of the main ideas of the piece, and as an oblong LP sleeve, not a square one! This type of thing of course, is all testament to the radical work of Barney, Jake and the rest of that crew, who deserve a massive big-up. And, whilst not shown here, the original release of ‘Parkerilla’ usually gets shown spun around the wrong way too…

  132. #138 posted by David Wills


    Could I be correct in thinking the original Barney art for Nighthawks looks like it was,’air brushed’ with a Crest brand toothbrush and Dr.Ph. Martins good ink?

  133. #139 posted by rebecca and mike


    yes! (although you mean Roadhawks, not Nighthawks)

  134. #140 posted by Phil Franks


    Re: #136 posted by David Wills:


    This isn’t the place for a discussion on copyright so I’ll simply say that there are some useful links at the bottom of my Copyright Notice for those who may not fully understand that nothing is in the Public Domain unless stated, that possessing a copy (such as a page from a magazine or an image downloaded from the web) does not confer ownership or rights to further distribute or publish.

    Too often fans and enthusiasts allow their love for the object of their desire and admiration to run away with themselves assuming rights over and above those of the legitimate owner of that Intellectual Property.

    Deepinder contacted me some time ago regarding my photos of Mighty Baby. I thought I’d explained my position on use of my work to him then, unfortunately I seem to have been mistaken.

    I don’t want to abuse John’s hospitality so I won’t continue this discussion here, anybody who’s interested in doing so can email me at the address on my Copyright Notice.

    Thanks to rebecca and mike for this link.

  135. #141 posted by rebecca and mike



    oh me gawd, and just when we were talking about gremlins too! the sleeve we refer to that appeared incorrectly in the book ‘communicate’ was NOT ‘my aim is true’ of course, but was actually ‘this years model’; that’s the sleeve that has colour bars.

  136. #142 posted by rebecca and mike


    Hi again everyone.

    As John Coulthart has pointed out on this blog, Barney did the amazing artwork for DrZ “Three Parts to My Soul” on the Vertigo label.

    There are some other gems Barney did for that label in the same period, and it is probably time we shared some info (!): one is Cressida “Cressida” and another is Gracious! “Gracious!”.

    Both of these are fantastic gatefold sleeves. You can see the front covers on this page which is a good place to start: http://www.vertigoswirl.com/vertigouklp1.html
    There is also a lot of technical info on that webpage too. (Teenburger was Barney Bubbles incase anyone is confused.)

    The inside of Gracious! is a 3D pop-art style model Barney would have made featuring a scantily clad woman and a body-builder man stood on a bed flexing his muscles. The actual outside gatefold cover has a textured card sleeve made from thousands of… Bubbles! (or it could just be reptile skin LOL!)

    The inside of Cressida is a drawing/collage of a dark, almost cathedral-like space, with a mysterious headless winged statue that works its way through the space and onto the back cover.

    These are amongst our favourite Barney Bubbles sleeves.

  137. #143 posted by John


    What a great site, thanks for the link! I’m pretty sure that place wasn’t around when I was searching for stuff earlier. Vertigo had some great album covers, invariably (for me) superior to the turgid prog lurking on their discs.

    And the Gracious! info is fascinating since that connects BB with another obsession from my teenage years, Roger Dean. When the Gracious! album was reissued they replaced the original sleeve with new artwork by Dean. He mentions in Views that he kept the exclamation mark from the original design:


  138. #144 posted by David Wills


    I just came across a b&w dark room test of the Muleskinners, c1963, photographed by Fulcher up against what I think may be three Paolozzi prints.

  139. #145 posted by David Wills


    Related to the Gracious pop up body builder man: The Muleskinners were included in a set of dark-room rejects, given by me by Barney in June of ’83. He said.”They’ll want to see these.” There is also included, on a torn piece of test paper, a print with a Fulcher collage on hardboard in the background, constructed in 1962(?) and destroyed by Barney in ’68. The decimated fragment shows wood letter type torn from wrestling posters, that covered, in the original, two 4 x 8 foot panels, and was dotted randomly with blue and red torn musclemen parts in the manner of Kurt Schwitters (sp?).

    Please tell me if this is too personal for your delicate sensibilities… Colin Fulcher mailed a coupon in 1958 to that ad on the back of the comix for a muscle building course. Art students jived him about that sort of thing and sent him, and others, random mailings as part of a widespread stamped artmail campaign.

  140. #146 posted by John


    Gracious! sleeve art added above. And I should note that my comment at #143 about Roger Dean doing the art for a reissue wasn’t quite correct, Dean’s art was on the sleeve of their second album.

  141. #147 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    I have just come back from India – and noticed that there has been a lot of activity here about Barney Bubbles.

    Gracious – it is a very clean design, I am reasonably certain that Barney was inspired by the Vertigo Logo – which has its roots to the early ’60s when the head of Vertigo was a marketing man with a Tobacco company on the books for the Ad agency he worked for – they sponsored an Art competition where he met Bridget Riley – he must have recalled her work when he got Linda Glover who was a brilliant designer for Philips – to execute the logo that is still being used by the current owners (Universal). I think Marcel Koopman has written about my observations to him on his Vertigo history website that has been cited a few comments ago

    I wonder if Barney and Linda knew each other – barney may have been aware of the young turks of the ‘This is tommorrow’ exhibition of the mid-50′s at whitechapel – the Gracious LP has a strong Paolozzi – Riley feel, yet barnified – once one has decoded the Teenburger obstacle that has stumped many.

  142. #148 posted by John


    I’ve been wondering if the boldness of the Gracious! cover was an influence on the first Neu! album, also about the only other band I can think of with a ! in their name. The Neu! covers usually seem a continuation of the first two Kraftwerk covers–Neu! having evolved out of Kraftwerk–but there’s also a material connection with Gracious! since Vertigo repackaged Kraftwerk 1 & 2 as a double album in the UK.

  143. #149 posted by John


    And just to show the kind of convoluted associations I can often make…that first Neu! album was released on UA in Britain with sleeve notes by Hawkwind’s Dave Brock. Aaaaaand Hawkwind became the first band to plunder the familiar Neu! beat with Opa-Loka on Warrior on the Edge of Time.

  144. #150 posted by Rian Hughes


    Here’s my Barney-related memories, for what they’re worth.
    Mike Krage (hi Mike!) calls me out of the blue and asks me in to design the Demon Records catalogue, for ’94 (here’s the finished result: http://www.devicefonts.co.uk/cgi-bin/device2.cgi?action=bigpic&pic=illustration/101.png)
    I go to the Demon offices, which turn out to be walking distance from my then flat, on an industrial estate just off the Great West Road in West London (near the by-then-demolished Firestone factory, Wallace Gilbert and partners second-best building after the Hoover Factory – but I digress). In the reception I am greeted by a Barney desk, a cross between a giant plug and something by Memphis, all strange angles and playful references. Mike and I talk Barney for hours, and he shows me some unused versions of well-known sleeves – versions that presumably had been rejected at proof stage. This, of course, is like someone playing you some previously unheard outtakes from Rattus Norvegicus IV. Mind-boggling. Seeing all the marked-up overlays and printer’s notes, all those experiments in overprinting and darkroom technique – this being the year I first started using the Mac in earnest – was already like print archaeology. (I hope we can see some of these in the book!) Mike wondered what Barney’s work would have evolved into had he been around to play with the possibilities of the Mac… we can but dream. (Mr Garrett managed to carry that torch forward with consummate style, in my opinion).
    For me, I tried to produce a catalogue cover that tried to grasp some small amount of Barney’s graphic wit. His work looks fresher now than it ever has. Good luck with the book!

  145. #151 posted by David Wills


    Please, more by people who worked with Barney, that sounded really true Liam. “Mike and I talk Barney for hours” – tell all!

  146. #152 posted by John


    Hi Rian, thanks for dropping by, I’ve been following your work since the Eighties thanks to my skirmishes with the comics world.

    I’ve also wondered how BB would have got on in the digital age. Some people made the transition very easily (I have a 1992 book called Designers on Mac featuring Neville Brody, April Greiman and the Emigre people talking about the new world of computer-oriented design); others, such as (IIRC) Peter Saville, have assistants to push the mouse around for them.

  147. #154 posted by david wills


    Hi, its been nice chatting with you folks, but I’m off to http://www.davidwills.wordpress.com
    where I’ll be continuing to post away to my heart’s content, without having to take up valuable space here in John’s good log. Please pop in to visit, lots to see and do.

  148. #155 posted by John


    David: I’ve added a link to your page above. Welcome to the blog world!

  149. #156 posted by James Blast


    A Genius think what he would have went onto.
    He has influenced my career so much, I feel I owe him.
    Never reached your peaks and it’s terrible you’ve gone.

  150. #157 posted by Michael Florrimell


    Barney’s work touch us all as units of popular culture I had and still have some of these great Albums and know of some of the clips he produced. I am sure the artists he worked for benifited from his creative and unusal design quility’s. Such a short life but some times great work comes out under these situations. Great tribute to a great designer keep up the great work. Will view in more detail in the future.

  151. #158 posted by david wills


    Looking at your great collection of Bubbling art I have a feeling that the Hawkwind, Fanon Dragon Commando, cover was drawn by, or in the style of, the mysterious Chris Higson, whose inking skills I see at work here, he was a good buddy of Barney – he put him in touch with Stiff. He’s also another often anonymous artist – he drew inked and colored the Eagle comics, Churchill, and Marco Polo, both of which are credited to Frank Bellamy (because of illness, and contracts).

  152. #159 posted by david wills


    Gate keeper John, please correct # 154, should be, “I’ll be continuing to post away to my heart’s content,”

  153. #160 posted by John


    Your wish is my command!

  154. #161 posted by David Wills


    Where is Barney’s graphic-enabler Andrew Lauder now? Tell him he deserves Knighthood. Any relation of Harry?

  155. #162 posted by deepinder


    Andrew is alive and well. If you would like to get in touch with him – please drop me a line

  156. #163 posted by rebecca and mike


    A comment on another blog has prompted us to revisit Malcolm Garrett’s comment (#44) which goes:

    [quote]…Barney knew well the technical parameters he was working within and maximised the use of this size of board for the ‘Glastonbury Fayre’ album, which as a triple album would require that amount of card in any event, and thus suggested one large folding sleeve with no gluing required.

    The practical success of that sleeve, gave him the leeway to utilise the same format for the live Hawkwind album shortly afterwards…

    Without this design intelligence which allowed him to make smart use of ’standard’ size boards, that he realised would have been hard to argue with on an economic standpoint, it is doubtful that such radical designs would have been signed off so readily by cost conscious record executives…

    I can’t think of any ‘real’ graphic designers working in the field of record sleeve design in this way before Barney… [/quote]

    Yep, Barney was certainly exploiting things to the max by using a 6 panel fold-out sleeve on releases like ‘Glastonbury Fayre’ (Revelations 1972) and ‘Hawkwind: Space Ritual’ (UA 1973), but it would be remiss of us not to point out that other designers were doing this before Barney. Some examples that spring to mind are Nigel Thomas’ 6 panel fold-out ‘Juicy Lucy: Lie Back and Enjoy It’ (Vertigo 1970) and Roger Dean’s 6 panel fold-out ‘Ramases: Space Hymns’ (Vertigo 1971). These earlier examples had probably already started to make the economical case for such formats, and may have even provided the impetus for Barney to use the same format; who knows? Given Barney’s relationship with Vertigo in 1970/71, it is difficult to believe he wouldn’t have been aware of what they were doing.

    And… thinking about the conversations we’ve had with Revelations erm… ‘executives’, it’s doubtful that any economic case had to be made anyway on the ‘Glastonbury Fayre’ release!

    Now… if anyone knows a 6 panel fold-out sleeve designed by Barney that pre-dates 1970, we’d love to know about it!

    Here’s a couple links to those earlier 6 panel fold-out sleeves:

  157. #164 posted by John


    Don’t you think In Search of Space counts as six panels as well? Looks that way to me.

    Vertigo certainly seems to be the key for this kind of experimentation: there was also Barney’s Doctor Z sleeve and Heavy Petting by Dr Strangely Strange, another cut-out panelled sleeve by Roger Dean. And I’ve got the Ramases album; great to look at, less enjoyable to listen to!

  158. #165 posted by rebecca and mike



    Yep, ‘Hawkwind: In Seach of Space’ (UA 1971) and ‘Dr Z: Three Parts To My Soul’ (Vertigo 1971) certainly do count as 6 panels; but both of these are similarly pre-dated by Nigel Thomas’ 6 panel ‘Juicy Lucy: Lie Back and Enjoy It’ (Vertigo 1970) and the 6 panel die-cut Roger Dean design you mentioned; ‘Dr Strangely Strange: Heavy Petting’ (Vertigo 1970) whose folding and die-cut complexity can be seen here http://www.popsike.com/php/detaildata.php?itemnr=120218368426

    Wonder what else lurks out there?

  159. #166 posted by rebecca and mike


    For anyone who missed the exhibition of Barney’s work we staged in 2001, you can see some pics of it here (we’ve also written a few words about it in the ‘comments’ section of that page too): http://davidwills.wordpress.com/2008/09/26/rebecca-and-mikes-great-barney-bubbles-exhibition-of-ad2001/
    (part of David Wills’ blog).

  160. #167 posted by Mack ( Mr D Rider )


    Hi again John / David and Co

    not been here for a bit – and just seen Davids confirmation to my comments 8 months back ( Mr D Rider ) of BBs love for Paolozzi – I knew it – its in the work – especially the inner sleeves for Ritual and the Oz posters. – I wonder if they met ?
    Paolozzi was a huge influence to many of us -of course – and the 1956 show at the ICA was the big one – with his Light Show of found images – with an epidioscope – pretty far out then – hot from paris no doubt – but that mid 50s ‘Independent group’ shook things up for the year. ( Theo Crosby set that up i think ? )

    Did any of you folks out there work with Ambit ? when Paolozzi was there – I have some old issues late 60s with his work in under the Pseudonym ‘Arturo Laskus’ – great drawings
    - EP was great teacher and i will never his presence around the RCA – especially in the LIFT

    thanks for all this John – the site just gets better and better – come to Manchester and talk to us and the students please whenever suits

  161. #168 posted by deepinder cheema


    With reference to Ambit, the review published by Martin Bax, I’m pretty sure he still has an airing cupboard full of back issues. I obtained some from his son who liberated them for me in 1986 when I stayed at their house back in the ’80s. I recall Robert calvert of hawkwind fame contributed some of his superb poetry within Ambit during those times

  162. #169 posted by Mack ( Mr D Rider )


    Yes Ambits right through to the 90s were rich with that Ballard Paolozzi surrealist vein – Martin and Michael ran /run a great ship there. I have some brilliant copies from early 70s an unusual bold cover stock and size format and front covers were always top Draw !

  163. #170 posted by John


    David: link business sorted!

  164. #171 posted by Paul Gorman


    There is a double page spread in this month’s The Word magazine (datelined November) on Reasons To Be Cheerful. Enjoy.

  165. #172 posted by rebecca and mike


    A good friend of ours, Brian Griffin, is having an exhibition in London soon which will feature some of the projects he did with Barney. We thought that maybe the folk who read JCs growing Barney bible here might like to know about it.

    On show will be the newspaper ‘Y’, the books ‘Copyright 1978′ and ‘Power’, and associated posters, including the ‘coat hanger and scarf’ poster for Brian’s photo show in 1980. All of these (apart from ‘Power’) will be available to buy too (we think)… so, if you want to, you can bag yourself an early Christmas present (and help put some turkey on Brian’s table!)

    Here’s the details: Brian Griffin, 15 November – 8 December 2008 , Monday – Saturday 11 – 6, at ‘England & Co.’, 216 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2RH.

    The ‘Y’ newspaper’s got a real chunky red button on the cover (in a little plastic bag); symbolic of the nuclear button we-thinks, and there’s a great concentric circle graphic on the cover too, which is reminiscent of a few things, like the back of the not-used Dury ’4000 Weeks Holiday’ LP sleeve design and also the front of the never released ‘Station BPR’ LP sleeve (which was due to be the second release on Billy Bragg’s ‘Utility’ label). There’s also an illustration in ‘Y’ by Nazar Ali Khan of ICU fame.

    The ‘Copyright 1978′ booklet is cool too; with nearly every one of Brian’s photos in it being accompanied by thumbnail graphics by Barney, which contain cryptically encoded comments. The one that always sticks in our mind is the one that questions whether it is good or bad to receive awards for your work.

    - – - – - – - – - – -

    And whilst we’re tappety-typing away here: Barney paid homage to Brian in the Hawklord’s tour booklet (check out the first words of the first paragraph) and here are some of our favourite Barney Bubbles / Brian Griffin music sleeves:

    Johnny Moped: Little Queenie 7″, The Rumour: Frozen Years 7″, Devo: Be Stiff 12″ EP, The Rumour: Frogs, Sprouts, Clogs and Krauts LP (cover shows Barney’s studio), The Attractions: Mad About the Wrong Boy LP, Inner City Unit: The Maximum Effect LP, Paul Carrack: Suburban Voodoo LP, Blanket of Secrecy: Walls Have Ears LP.


  166. #174 posted by rebecca and mike


    hello again (groan!)
    just to avoid confusion we should probably mention that the paintings used on the front and back of the Quintessence LP linked above are by Gopala (Maha Dev’s brother-in-law), the rest is Barney working with J. Moonman (John Muggeridge; Barney’s former Conran co-worker). actually, taking a look at the LP book pages on that weblink it looks like this copy is missing the centrefold sheet, which is messing with the some of the spreads a bit. oh well.
    over ‘n’ out

  167. #175 posted by rebecca and mike


    We just got shown a copy of the Barney Bubbles book hot-off-the-press (it’ll be appearing on shelves in December).

    Haven’t had chance to read it yet (which admittedly is a very important aspect of the book!), but we have had a look all the way through, and judging by the pictures, there are lots of nice things in there for everyone’s delight, amplified by interesting original art, sketches, photos and such like; even a magic Lohengrin banner!

    It’s not a completist collection of material (but then again, what ever could be a complete Barney tome). Neverthelss, it will make a very nice shape in your stocking at Christmas. So, get writing your letter to Santa now, and if you don’t believe in Santa, well…

    shame on you!

  168. #176 posted by David Lowbridge


    Reading the last few comments I see Devo: Be Stiff 12″ EP gets a mention. Here’s what it looks like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Be_Stiff_EP

    There was also a 7″ Devo single called Be Stiff featuring the Chi Chi Rodriguez golf-ball-head from the album campaign. Now, I’m not sure if the 7″ design was by Barney Bubbles (I’m guessing it’s not), but I did notice the phrase ‘actual size’ typeset over the image – see it here http://eil.com/shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=449822

    That phrase also features on the cover of Nick Lowe: Little Hitler which was released the same year and definitely designed by Barney http://www.musicstack.com/item/19891569/nick+lowe/little+hitler

    Does anyone know who designed the Be Stiff 7″ and whether the “actual size” thing has any wider significance than mere coincidence?

    John, I’ve been following this post for over a year and a half now, finally got around to posting (!) and wanted to congratulate you on creating a fantastic source of info and inspiration. Hope it continues to draw more Barney-related stories out of the woodwork.

  169. #177 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    If PG is watching, can you put in a word with your publisher so any followers of Barney, especially ones watching this blog can attend the book launch.

    Martin Stone will be in London next week, so it may be possible to drag the benign ‘devils whisper’ along if Paris does not beckon too quickly. I have just found some International Times (it) published in london from 1976 – 1979 under the watch of Heathcote Williams methinks, which has a 2 part spread on Stiff, theres an Ad for New Rose which may have been directed by Barney

  170. #178 posted by Paul Gorman


    Hi David

    Devo supplied their own artwork for the singles released on Stiff (Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis formed the group while studying art at Kent State so had a handle on that side of things).
    As recorded in the BBC4 Stiff documentary, the relationship between group and label was short-lived and unhappy; they jumped ship to Virgin/Warners pretty quickly. Dave Robinson’s quote was along the lines of: “All they were interested in was the readies.”
    The Be Stiff EP collected together the singles which had been licensed from the band up to that point; the cover is a collaboration between BB and Brian Griffin. Another image from the same shoot appears in the book they produced together, Copyright 1978 (see above).
    Can’t account for the “actual size” I’m afraid, apart from noting that the “actual size” on Little Hitler is, er, a different (type)size.

  171. #179 posted by David Lowbridge


    Many thanks Paul, interesting to hear. Yes, the handling of the typography is quite different between the two releases – worth a shot though…

    ‘Copyright 1978′ is sitting on my desk right now after taking another look through it following Rebecca and Mike’s comment (#172). I’d looked through it many a time before trying to decipher the line illustrations but never worked out the ‘receiving awards’ graphic they mention. ‘Seeing’ the meaning for the first time really blew me away, and in fact, put a smile on my fact for most of the day – no mean feat!

    That also goes some way to explaining why I savour his work so much. He lived his life creating work in such a way as to make me dig for meaning in every dot and line he put down. I’m not driven to understand absolutely everything in Barney’s work (I don’t think it’s possible anyway), what interests me is that he’s created a legacy whereby his work can’t really be viewed passively, he’s changed the mindset – total audience participation is required! I think that’s very rare.

  172. #180 posted by Brian Griffin


    The photograph that you refer to in my “Copyright 1978″ book is of Chris Law accountant and world champion yachtman. Last year his body was found beside Lake Con-stance in Germany. Not unlike Barney, at the age of 55 he had taken his own life.
    The photograph of the two men with the three pieces of paper is titled “The end of Jensen Motors”. One day Car Magazine presented three drawings to the executives of Jensen, suggesting if they adopted these ideas, Jensen could be saved. The executives showed little interest.
    Barney put a lot of himself into his work, so enevitably their is a lot of self portrayal in this book.
    In 1977 I asked Barney to design a book for me and to illustrate the meanings behind my photographs, just by using lines and circles. I had savoured his small Johnny Moped drawings in the NME. By the way, the title was also Barney’s idea. In 1978 I published the book and it went on sale for around £1. I don’t think a single person bought one, but they must have, for you have one David!

  173. #181 posted by David Lowbridge


    It’s great to hear what you briefed Barney whilst compiling the book Brian. I’ve not seen the Johnny Moped drawings you speak of but the reverse of the ‘Little Queenie’ single looks, at first glance, like it shares similar concerns to your book.

    For everyone interested, the Jensen Motors photograph that Brian Griffin refers to can be seen here http://tinyurl.com/6phcad alongside all the info on his show which opens this Saturday (15.11.2008). I guess you’ll just have to go there and buy ‘Copyright 1978′ if you want to see Barney’s accompanying annotations!

  174. #182 posted by Nazar Ali Khan


    There’s a copy of issue 4 of my old ‘zine Cheesecake for sale on eBay. Barney did a set of four ICU illustrations specially for this issue, published in 1981, to accompany an interview with Nik Turner. He also contributed illustrations for issues 5 and 6.

    Spotted over here by Rebecca and Mike –


  175. #183 posted by rebecca and mike


    here’s some pictures of barney’s issue 4 contribution (for the interested):

  176. #184 posted by rebecca and mike


    we recently came across a beautiful photo of one of Barney’s sleeves on flickr.
    there is a real magic to this photo, incredibly rich in information; what a great way to present his work.

  177. #185 posted by John


    Would be nice to see a Flickr pool devoted to Barney’s work, wouldn’t it?

    That title “There ain’t half been some clever bastards” could apply to the sleeve designer as much as any of the people ID and the Blocks sing about.

  178. #186 posted by rebecca and mike


    yes, a very clever *chap* indeed!

    that sleeve was an overnight job. originally barney did have plans for photographer brian griffin to have some involvement in it, but there was no time for that to happen.

    one thing with that record – as with many barney bubbles records – is that to fully appreciate the package barney put together you really need to see not only the front and back of the sleeve, but also the bespoke disc label designs that are an integral part of the whole thing. without them, it’s kind of like seeing the mona lisa with the bottom 15cm missing, or to put it another way, it’s like seeing an extra 15cm of the mona lisa that’s always been hidden from view! (likewise with LPs that have inners and inserts and stickers and so on). whilst there’s currently no flickr pool, and whilst it’s no substitute for pictures, here at least is a description of those labels from rhythm stick:

    side a disc label: two different sized pink polka dots with a mathematical type equation that says 6 tricks, points % .

    side b disc label: regular grid of large pink polka dots, with ‘late start high on fence’ and ‘segovia rules’.

  179. #187 posted by John


    Et voila!

    Is it my imagination or did he use a John Bull printing set on that sleeve?

  180. #189 posted by rebecca and mike

  181. #191 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    Re: Hit me with your rhythm stick,

    I wonder if the dog in the ‘Woodentops’ was an articulated dalmation (for our younger viewers)

  182. #192 posted by Richard


    Hi John! Got my copy of the new book today – looks fantastic. Both you and this post get a mention in the postscript. Nice one.

  183. #193 posted by John


    Thanks Richard. I’ve been hoping Waterstone’s here or (more likely) Magma will be stocking it. Should find out this week.

    Also: Paul Gorman has sent me some fabulous Stiff-era material for a new post. Stay tuned…

  184. #194 posted by Paul Gorman


    Hi John
    Thought you had your copy by now…
    Will chase in the morning and make sure you get it asap.

  185. #195 posted by John


    Thanks Paul. And as promised, more goodies for BB obsessives with an extract from Paul’s book including a couple of graphics which didn’t make the final edit.

  186. #197 posted by David


    well praise should go to you Mr Coulthart for starting the ball rolling with what I’m sure you thought was a nice interesting little blog feature and now there is a very super sexy coffee table book at the end of it.

    I hope you did get a free copy you deserve it!

    I still think his work and his involvement in so many different scenes and movements would make brilliant documentary. He is fairly unique in that he remained so grass roots level with the music and design and crucially from 60′s hippies to punk. If you consider his contemporaries stayed within their scenes looking dated or moved out and started making big bucks advocated a very right wing ethos….Felix Oz et al

    Not read the book yet but it might be interesting to find out about why he took his own life, not in a voyeristic way, but from the little I know he seemed at odds with so much of the true ideology of his hippy contemporaries.

    Anyway I await his posthumous Knighthood in the new years honours list


  187. #198 posted by John


    The book arrived. It’s fantastic. Tommy the Talking Tool Box says “Buy a copy!”

  188. #199 posted by Paul Murphy


    As a long-standing Bubbles fan I was overjoyed to find the new book. Strangely I already had tickets to see the Blockheads and of course bought a T-shirt with the famous square Blockheads logo.
    But funnily enough, the book does not mention the logo’s obvious origin. You can see the Left Book Club logo here:

  189. #200 posted by Paul Gorman


    Hi Paul

    What a fantastic spot – and so obvious to be staring me in the face and making me feel a bit of a fool. Ah well, as BB said: Better Mugs Than Being Smug.
    I shall certainly correct (and attribute) in the new edition.
    Are you Yolanda’s Paul (as in Catfunt)? If so (and even if not) Happy Holidays!

  190. #201 posted by Deepinder Cheema


    “As a long-standing Bubbles fan I was overjoyed to find the new book. Strangely I already had tickets to see the Blockheads and of course bought a T-shirt with the famous square Blockheads logo.
    But funnily enough, the book does not mention the logo’s obvious origin. You can see the Left Book Club logo here:

    As has been noted on EyE blog

  191. #202 posted by Paul Murphy


    Hi Paul G

    No I’m not Yolanda’s Paul but Happy Xmas to you and all Bubblers. And enormous thanks for doing the book, it made my heart jump for joy to see it. It sits proudly with the Factory book, other album cover books and many records featured in ‘em.

  192. #203 posted by Paul Murphy


    Hi Paul G (again)

    Another observation from your fantastic book: relating to the mysterious ’3′ logo on Get Happy. Although ‘none of those involved in its release know what it symbolises’ (p145), it actually says 3D, not just 3, if you look at the bit at the bottom of the logo too. This seems to connect with the spot colour scheme of opposites and ‘out of line’ printing, especially on the inner sleeve – it resembles something to view through (red and green) 3D glasses. This also fits the LP title, ‘worn old favourite’ sleeve and 50s retro image, an instruction to Get Happy imposing a forced happiness of gimmicky cheap 50s escapism, in retro contrast to an 80s recession. (The off centre circles may also echo the dart of Gerry Anderson’s Century 21 logo used in the titles of Captain Scarlet.)

    Also a correction (p90) – Ian Dury died on 27 March 2000, not 2001.

    Best wishes

  193. #204 posted by Paul Gorman


    I know I know…Thanks for your comments/corrs Paul. An event occurred in our business dealings over the weekend the final pages were going to the printers which completely blind-sided us and not only threatened to capsize the whole project but sent things into a spin.

    No excuses, but maybe someday the story can be told (that’s if anybody is even interested). I will not go into this in a public forum – suffice to say that lawyers are working on it.

    But your points do go to a major element in putting this book together and one which proved a major hurdle for anybody else sticking their heads above the parapet and doing it previously.

    Apart from the fact that very little had been documented, BB’s working practices were so layered, and his references/quotes/sources/cryptography winging in from every which way that its is only now – that I have set out 600 images spanning his entire career – there is at least some clarity in attribution/meaning/etc.

    As I say – no excuses and I am certainly not depicting your’s and other’s comments as pedantry. I got things wrong; over to you as to whether anybody else could have done a better job or whether it was worth doing in the first place.

  194. #205 posted by Paul Murphy


    Dear Paul G

    Make no mistake, your book is fantastic. Rest assured, it was absolutely worth doing and warm thanks for putting it together. It filled in far more gaps in my knowledge than my one or two observations, and I can see that you have done a lot of work pulling together as much info as possible. I’m only adding my tuppence worth in the interests of (hopefully) accuracy and adding a few scraps to our knowledge of Barney. You got lots & lots right – a great, pioneering effort – well done!

  195. #207 posted by Chris Purdon


    On Sunday 8 March 2009, there will be a Sunday Implosion at The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London, as a memorial tribute to Barney Bubbles. Featuring the Hawklords (a band comprising former members of Hawkwind), this event is inspired by Barney’s creative art, design, cosmology and the stage presentation of his and Robert Calvert’s original Space Ritual 1973 space-rock-opera show, with a hefty nod to his concept for the Hawklords 25 Years On production of 1978.

    The event will run from 3.00pm – 11.00 pm and will feature performers and performance all day, including Robert Calvert’s play ‘The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice’ (for which Barney designed the stage set), performed by the Pentameters Theatre Group. It is also hoped to have an exhibition of Barney’s work and copies of the book for sale.

    More information is avialable at http://www.roundhouse.org.uk/whats-on/productions/the-space-ritual-2009-2925

    Tickets are available from http://www.roundhouse.org.uk or 0844 482 8008

  196. #208 posted by Jeni T.


    The Clover cover reminded me somewhat of TenCC’s album cover of the phone and inner human ear, and the Edgar Broughton Band a little like an old Vertigo swirlie Cressida album I have.

  197. #209 posted by John


    Hi Jeni. The 10cc album you mention (How Dare You) was designed by Hipgnosis with illustrations by George Hardie. Hardie worked a lot for Hipgnosis and was very fond of the kind of isometric perspective seen on the Clover cover. Barney B was working for Vertigo at the same time as Hipgnosis in the early Seventies but I’ve not seen any mention that they knew each other. I’d be surprised if they didn’t but Barney isn’t mentioned in any of the books about Hipgnosis.

  198. #210 posted by Paul Gorman

  199. #211 posted by deepinder cheema


    Not Barney Bubbles. Photography by Colin ‘Glans’ Glanfield, and design by David ‘Warfarin’ Wharin. Commonly known as..colin and david..

    I checked on the website printed on the 1975 LP cover. Which I would have otherwise ignored.

  200. #212 posted by deepinder cheema


    Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis did know BB. Thorgerson does not particularly rate Barney as his cup of tea, but declared that he likes the Art on the Damned LP produced by Nick Mason

  201. #213 posted by Paul Gorman



    A post which may be of interest – record label Trensmat’s remake/remodelling of Barney Bubbles Hawkwind artwork for the sleeves/labels for it’s series of split 7″ cover versions of the band’s songs by contemporary groups.
    Also posted the letterhead for Hawk Graphics.

    See here: http://www.barneybubbles.com/blog/archives/1013



  202. #214 posted by Paul Gorman


    Just thought you might like to know that Reasons To Be Cheerful is out in the US from August 9. We are planning a series of events in American cities to tie in with the launch.

    See here for more details: http://www.barneybubbles.com/blog/archives/1332

  203. #215 posted by MichaellaS


    tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!

  204. #216 posted by rebecca and mike


    You can see some rare footage of Barney Bubbles working at Friends, on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIgPCDAVTlM

    The sequence of Barney appears from 2m01s to 2m05s (the guy in the sheepskin waistcoat who walks across the room and sits down at some artwork). Either side of that there’s some interesting footage in general.

    There’s some more info about the context of this find on David Wills’ blog: http://davidwills.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/world-scoop-see-barney-move-make-your-own-barney-flip-book/

  205. #222 posted by Dr. Derek Lamar


    I agree…. I too have found the Hawklords cover distinctly erotic but I doubt you want me to talk about that here. LOL

    I have always…. ALWAYS been into metaphysics and science fiction to the extent that it expresses the infinity of mind unfolding and futurism… so I find the Hawklords album (promotional copy) bought so many records in the used record stores in Hollywood over the years… more often are promos… but this odd discovery of your site comes from searches today which took me to Motorhead’s Ian Kilmister’s “Serial Killer” dialogue on YouTube and then subsequent searches which found my way to Hawkwind and Hawklords… to which my brain said… “Hey… I’ve got that record”…. don’t have the heavy metal stuff…. eeeeeeewwwwwwwwww. Did I say that? LOL I’ve got a large vinyl collection from 60′s… 70′s…. some 80′s… gets less and less as the years h a v e g o n e by.

  206. #225 posted by Lia Denae


    Trying to find John Muggeridge
    any help gratefully received

    (formerly Sarah Seagull so named by Barney Bubbles)
    in London for one week

  207. #226 posted by ni loxley


    has anyone got a contact number 4 caramel crunch………….?pauline williams…old friend tryin t contact from australia.

  1. Jan 14, 2008 « Actions List – Jan 14th, 2008
  2. Davidwills’ Log – Aug 14th, 2008






“feed your head”