Notebook: 25 February 2017 | MUSICAL INTERLUDE | ALBUM COVER DESIGN A tale of two albums In June 1979 I graduated from my graphic design course at Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry and took a flight to New York with my college mate John. We were on our way to work for three months at a summer camp in Massachusetts and our job would be to mow the lawns of the sports pitches, clean the toilets and showers and carry out any minor repairs on the camp. We were joined by two American students from Boston and we all shared a cabin together. John and myself were both big Clash fans and we were determined to convert out American buddies from Country Rock to Punk Rock. We had no music cassettes and even the Sony Walkman was a year or so away from making its first appearance and so we listened in vain to the local radio stations hoping to grab a snatch of the music we loved. We were given one day off a week and at the first opportunity, …
Notebook: 10 August 2016 | VIDEO | MUSIC | TYPOGRAPHY | THE C-WORD Some of you will know that I’m a bit of a cricket fan. England play their 4th and final test match against Pakistan at The Oval in London tomorrow (Thursday 11 Aug 2016) and to promote it the ECB have released a clip of England captain Alastair Cook scoring his century against Pakistan at The Oval back in 2010. But the ECB have had a bit of fun and they’ve presented the video with a 1960s vibe including a very cool soundtrack, The Bewitching Hour from 60s jazz pianist David Lee (who also wrote music for the cult tv show, The Avengers) and stills of Alastair Cook shown as a pastiche of old jazz album covers pictured above and below. You can watch the clip here. In the words of The Fast Show‘s Jazz Club presenter: ‘Niiice…’ ecb.co.uk
Notebook: 26 October 2014 Some of my teenage memories from the early 1970s are of grey, damp skies, cold, wet feet, violence at football matches, strikes and four-day weeks, phlegm, spittle and glamrock. Yuk. It wasn’t until the long, hot summer of 1976 that the sun came out. One ray of light (for me) in the early 70s was the underground ‘Northern Soul’ scene and this is celebrated in the new low budget film Northern Soul – about two lads growing up in Lancashire whose horizons open up when they discover rare black American soul music. The film is full of great tracks. Three favourites that I used to dance to were Dobie Gray’s classic Out on the Floor, Barbara Mills’s searing, soaring Queen of Fools and the popular Stop her on Sight (SOS) by Edwin Starr. Still love the music but glad to leave the three-button, high waisted baggy trousers well in the past.
Notebook: 15 October 2014 Has anyone read John Lydon’s latest autobiography, ‘Anger is an Energy’? It sounds like a good ‘un if today’s review in the Guardian is anything to go by. Must put it on my Christmas list. Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) was of course lead singer with the Sex Pistols who I managed to see in November 1976 when I was a 20 year old student at Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry. They were supported by the other great punk band from the 70s, The Clash, which gives me an excuse to show this picture of my hero Joe Strummer who sadly died prematurely in 2002. The photo, by Rick Mann, shows Joe in 1978 in Camden Town. My three best Clash tracks? The greatest punk rock song ever, Complete Control, 1977; reggae influenced White Man in Hammersmith Palais, 1978; and the haunting Straight to Hell, 1982.