All posts by rockdoc999

I used to be a music nerd with a large collection of all sorts of recorded music, though mainly a vinyl freak. I started out in the sixties, got swept away by psychedelia and into music posters which I continued to collect up until 2013, when space shortage meant I had to sell the major part of my collection. I had already started collecting record cover art and had an complete collection of art by Vaughan Oliver (4AD) and Neville Brody (Fetish Records), which unfortunately had to go. I had all Peter Blake's record covers as well as the nucleus of a representative Andy Warhol collection. In addition I had an almost complete collection of covers by Banksy, Klaus Voormann and Damien Hirst so I decided to continue to collect covers by these five artists.

Miguel Bosé — More on His Warhol Covers.

I am lucky to count Guy Minnebach as a  friend as he is the source of much of my knowledge about Andy Warhol’s record cover art. I first got to know Guy sometime around 2005 when we shared information about Warhol covers and Guy tipped me off about covers I didn’t have. Then when I was about to curate the Happy Birthday, Andy Warhol exhibition at Piteå Museum in 2008, Guy lent me several extremely rare covers to include in the show and then arrived to co-curate and help hang the show. We have remained in contact ever since and Guy was a founder member of the Warhol Cover Collectors Club.

His knowledge of Andy Warhol’s art is impressive and he has identified a number of record covers and designs previously not known to be by Andy Warhol. He also writes about Warhol covers on his Andy Earhole blog, which I heartily recommend to anyone interested in Warhol’s record cover art.

In a blog post in November 2016, Guy described the June 1983 edition of the Spanish music magazine El Gran Musical, which published an interview with Miguel Bosé about his new album Made in Spain that described how the cover art came about. It has taken me almost four years to find my own copy of the magazine.

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The June 1983 edition of El Gran Musical.

In 1983 Latino star Miguel Bosé’s manager contacted Andy Warhol in the hope that he would design the cover for Bosé’s as yet untitled album planned for that year. He contacted Warhol expecting the cold shoulder but was surprised that Warhol immediately agreed to providing a portrait for the cover and Bosé first spent two days in New York (presumably for the photo session with Warhol) and later a further two weeks while Warhol made the video for Bosé’s Fuego single.

As can be seen in the article, Warhol photographed a bare-chested Bosé in front of a white screen. Warhol then produced a unique series of five portraits from the Polaroids taken at that session. It seems highly likely (as Guy Minnebach suggests) that Warhol also came up with the title Made in Spain for the album, having been involved in Loredana Berté’s Made in Italy album in 1981. Made in Spain must have seemed a logical title after Made in Italy. Guy also speculated that Warhol had also done the typography for the album but Bosé has said that he did it himself although it does seem quite Warholian.
A double-sided poster of Warhol’s artwork for the album was included in the El Gran Musical magazine.

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One side of the poster.

The reverse showed The Police.

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The reverse of the poster.

Bosé’s record label CBS released a limited promotional folder for the Made in Spain album. This contained the full 12 inch LP as well as 7 inch and 12 inch copies of the Fuego single and a presentation folder that included a fold out poster of the cover artwork.
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Bosé was obviously so pleased with Andy Warhol’s design that he used it on his 1983 Italian album Milano – Madrid and on the covers of the Fuego and Non Siamo Soli singles as well as on the Made in Spain album.

I have both the Made in Spain (both the standard LP and the CBS promo folder) and Milano – Madrid albums along with the standard seven inch Fuego and Non Siamo Soli singles completing my collection of Miguel Bosé’s records with Warhol’s cover art.

Kraftwerk and Me.

The recent death of Kraftwerk’s co-founder Florian Schneider reminded me of the band’s concerts I have been lucky enough to see.

My introduction to German electronic music was via Tangerine Dream’s album Phaedra that I bought in 1974. I also owned several other of their albums and a single Can LP. I was aware of Kraftwerk at the time but didn’t have any of their albums until 1998 when I first saw them live.

I was one of the Medical Crew at the year’s Roskilde Festival and Kraftwerk were appearing there in (I think) the Green Tent. I only have dim memories of seeing the band members playing standing on a sort of balcony in the tent and no memory at all of what songs they played. I just remember being excited to see this mythical band live.

I bought the albums Man Machine, Radio-Activity and Trans-Europe Express thereafter and, sometime later, probably around 2010, bough a fantastic Mensch Maskine knitted sweater.

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My Kraftwerk sweater.

I have been an on-and-off member of the Tate Museums and in 2013 saw that Kraftwerk were going to play live in the Machine Hall at the Tate Modern. They were going to play  eight concerts one after the other on separate nights from 6th February through to the 15th (having a night off on the Sunday.) By the time I found I would be in London on some of those dates tickets were, of course, sold out. So I succumbed to temptation and searched Ebay for tickets and bought a pair for Thursday 7th February at an extortionate rate. So donning my Kraftwerk sweater I went to the show.

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Before the show at the Tate Modern.

We received our 3-D glasses and a souvenir booklet as our armbands were checked.

The concert was due to start at 21.00 h and went on for over two hours. Everyone sat on the concrete floor of the Turbine Hall as the swirling sounds enveloped us and the 3-D projections leaped out of the screen. This was Radio-Activity evening but they played a selection of songs including The Robots, Computer-World, Trans-Europa Express, Autobahn, Die Mench-Maschine and others. A wonderful experience! The Wallpaper folder contained a short introduction by Ralf Hütter and two-page spreads of pictures from Kraftwerk’s slides.

I was also a member of Stockholm’s Moderna Museet and was really happy when the museum announced that there would be an exhibition Dansmaskiner – från Léger till Kraftwerk that opened on 22nd January 2014, which Ralf Hütter had been involved in planning. In addition Kraftwerk would play two concerts at Cirkus on 21st and 22nd January. I was lucky to get tickets for the 21st January.

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My Kraftwerk ticket.

As far as I remember, the set was substantially identical to that at the previous year’s show at the Tate Modern. But we didn’t get to keep our 3-D glasses this time.

Now I can simply play the music and reimagine the 3-D films that accompany them.

 

More on Andy Warhol and the History of His Silkscreens and the New Warhol Biography by Blake Gopnik.

In February 2018 I wrote a potted history of Andy Warhol’s silkscreens (you can read it here). Much new information had emerged since thanks to Blake Gopnik’s new biography Warhol — A Life as Art.

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Blake Gopnik’s 2020 biography Warhol — A Life as Art.

The story as I understood it back when I wrote that post was that Warhol had been searching for a way to mechanise his art, enabling him to produce many similar images with a minimum of effort. He had developed his characteristic dot-and-blot technique that allowed him to produce a third degree copy of an original drawing or photograph. Fist he would trace the image to be reproduced and then he would tape another paper so that it folded over the traced image and then he would ink the tracing an inch or so at a time and blot the the ink with the paper he had taped to transfer the image in reverse onto the second sheet. This was a time consuming method and produced only a single copy. He later tried making stamps to print recurring images, but was limited to relatively small images. He produced his S & H Green Stamps print by this tedious method. According to several authors, Warhol got the idea of silkscreening from the teenaged Sarah Dalton, who, together with her brother David, Warhol had taken under his wing in around 1961.

However, Gopnik has researched the subject in greater detail. Warhol certainly had experience of silkscreening during his years  (1945-1949) at Carnegie Tech and often visited the avant guard Outlines Gallery in Pittsburgh where gallery owner Betty Rockwell put on a show of silkscreened works that Warhol would have seen. Thus there is no doubt that Warhol was aware of the silkscreen technique and had probably had some experience of using it in his studies.

So, why didn’t he take up the technique until 1962? Could the young Sarah have jogged his memory? Gopnik makes no mention of her in this capacity, though she turns up later in his book as the editor of Warhol’s first film Sleep.

I had previously dated Warhol’s first silkscreen prints to the Autumn of 1962. But Gopnik, who spent much time in the archives of The Warhol Museum, ahs found that Warhol’s first silkscreen was for a record cover in April 1962. That cover was the Take Ten album by Paul Desmond, recently “discovered” by Guy Minnebach.

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The cover of Paul Desmond’s 1963 album “Take Ten”.

Not only was this therefore Warhol’s first commercial silkscreen, it was his first silkscreened portrait. According to Gopnik, Warhol made the front cover of Time magazine in May 1962 photographed standing in front of his silkscreened Two Hundred One-dollar Bills, but I haven’t been able to find this cover. This suggests that Warhol was already using the silkscreen medium to produce art as early as this. Gopnik also suggests that Warhol was experimenting with portraits of Marilyn Monroe during the summer of 1962 — before her death in August of that year and that he, as a shrewd businessman, realised he could capitalise on her demise with his silkscreened portraits. Warhol probably also made his Elvis canvases during the late summer or early autumn of 1962 shown a year later in Warhol’s second show at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles.

Warhol’s Films on Record & CD covers.

Andy Warhol was an artist — both commercial and “fine”. But he was so much more beside. He was an author, film maker, photographer, publisher, business mogul, socialite, collector, hoarder and, not least, what today would be called an “influencer”.

All facets of his creativity are represented on the sixty plus record covers he produced during his lifetime and have been almost continuously produced since his death over thirty years ago. Warhol’s film career began with the film Sleep — a five hour and twenty minute monochrome, silent film — starring John Giorno (1936-2019) released in 1964. However, Warhol had already begun filming his Screen Tests a year earlier and by the end of 1966 had filmed over five hundred of these three minute studies, of which four hundred and seventy have survived. The subjects of these Screen Tests were Superstars, friends, sundry famous people, anonymous Factory visitors and associates. They were not intended as screen tests in the film industry meaning of the term. They were not auditions for parts in any of Warhol’s films. They were simply portraits of the sitter. They were simply arranged. Warhol placed his Bolex camera on a tripod, arranged the lighting and seated the sitter so that he or she would be filmed from the shoulders up usually in front of a light background. Such luminaries as Bob Dylan, Dennis Hopper, Salvador Dalí, Allen Ginsburg, Jim Rosenquist and Ivan Karp sat for Screen Tests, along side Factory Superstars such as Edie Sedgwick and Jane Holzer and Factory stalwarts Billy Linich (Billy Name), Gerard Malanga, Mary Woronov and Ondine (Robert Olivo). Of course musicians Nico, Lou Reed and John Cale all sat as did Ed Sanders and Rufus Collins. Steven Watson’s book Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties lists just sixty one of the people portrayed in Screen Tests, many filmed more than once.

While Warhol’s illustrations and commercial art grace the covers of records produced from his earliest days in New York in 1949 through to the early 1960s, in wasn’t until 1978 that a still from one of the Screen Tests appeared on a record cover. This was a still from Susanne de Maria’s screen test. Susanne de Maria Wilson married artist and musician Walter de Maria in 1960. Walter de Maria had joined John Cale, Lou Reed and Ton Conrad in a band called the Primitives, a name suggested by their record label, Pickwick. Susanne de Maria met artist Joseph Cornell in 1962 when she was working at the Museum of Modern Art and became his assistant until 1968. The record that used a still from her Screen test was by a band called Skyline and was a bootleg released on the Four Stars label in 1978. The cover image was identified by Raimund Floeck and Guy Minnebach from illustrations in Callie Angell’s Andy Warhol Screen Tests. The Films of Andy Warhol. Catalogue raisonné, Vol. 1.

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The original 1978 Skyline cover.

No further stills from any of Warhol’s films appeared on record or CD covers in Warhol’s lifetime. The next was John Cale’s Eat/Kiss–Music for the Films of Andy Warhol in 1997. The booklet used stills from both Eat and Kiss.

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The cover of John Cale’s Eat / Kiss CD with still from Kiss.

The following year, the band Hopewell released their CD Contact that used a still from Warhol’s Empire State film as its cover image.

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Hopewell’s 1998 CD Contact with still from 1964’s Empire film.

The latest release to feature stills from Screen Tests appeared in 2010 on a 7-inch sigle by Dean and Britta called I’ll Keep it With Mine / It Doesn’t Rain in Beverly Hills. This was released by The Warhol Museum in a limited edition of 500 numbered copies.

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Dean & Britta’s I’ll Keep It With Mine single cover.

 

The latest release to use stills from a Warhol film was also produced by The Warhol Museum. This was a limited edition double LP of 500 copies released in May 2019 titled Sound for Andy Warhol’s Kiss. The concert by ex Sonic Youth member Kim Gordon (vocals, guitars, harmonica) supported by Bill Nace (guitar, shruti box), Steve Gunn (guitar), and John Truscinski (percussion, electronics) was recorded live in The Warhol theater on August 1 and 2, 2018. The sound score was by Kim Gordon. The gatefold sleeve housed two LPs pressed on clear vinyl. The second disc was single-sided with a silkscreen still image from the film Kiss on the record’s B-side. There is also a booklet featuring work and essays from the Museum’s Kim Gordon: Lo-Fi Glamour exhibition which ran from (May 19 – September 1, 2019).

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The cover of Sound for Andy Warhol’s KISS double LP showing a still from the film.
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The rear cover for Sound for Andy Warhol’s KISS.
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Label Side A. Sound for Andy Warhol’s KISS.
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Label Side B. Sound for Andy Warhol’s KISS.
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Label Side C. Sound for Andy Warhol’s KISS.

Andy Warhol made hundreds of films (if you choose to include each of his Screen Tests). You can find an exhaustive list on Wikipedia. Chelsea Girls is probably the best known and most often shown. However, only Sleep, Eat, Empire and Kiss and a single Screen Test have been remembered on record and CD covers. And, with the exception of the last of these, all long after Warhol’s death.

These five recordings are the only ones I have been able to identify that use images from Warhol’s films — probably one area of Andy Warhol’s productions that has recently been reevaluated.

A “New” Record Cover by Jann Haworth.

When I was preparing an exhibition of Peter Blake’s record cover art at Piteå Museum in northern Sweden in 2009, I realised that Peter Blake had all but taken over responsibility for the design of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. I wondered how his ex-wife and co-designer Jann Haworth felt about this and contacted her and we began a correspondence. She acknowledged that she has been marginalised. In 2017 the BBC published an interview with her entitled Jann Haworth: The forgotten creator of the Sgt. Pepper cover. we discussed the inequalities that appeared in retrospect about the characters featured on the cover. Why were there so few people representing ethnic minorities, so few women? Obviously, the cover was a product of its time and these questions were only being formulated in the sixties. Jann, now living in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A., has since tried to address this and has produced a large mural called SLC Pepper.

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Jann Haworth in front of her mural in Salt Lake City.

Haworth has also produced a seven-panel womens’ mural that has been shown in various locations around the world.

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Jann Haworth’s Womens mural on seven panels.

During a more recent exchange of emails, Jann told me she had been searching for news of Joe Ephgrave, the artist who painted the Sgt. Pepper drum. He had been a friend of hers and Jann had one of his paintings, of a tiger, on her wall back in the sixties. I asked Jann if she had designed any other covers after the Sgt. Pepper cover. She had not done any covers for real records but in 2017 had taken Joe’s tiger design and produced a painting in the form of a record sleeve.

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Jann Haworth’s 2017 record cover design.

She had made two copies, one in Salt Lake City and the other in Denver, Colorado. And, realising I wouldn’t be able to get one of these, I decided to make my own. First I downloaded the cover picture and sized it in Photoshop and printed it on supersized A3 paper. Then using graphite paper traced the design onto a sheet of wellpap.

Then using acrylic paints I finished my version of the cover picture. However, I had a problem with the record label, which proved much more difficult to copy accurately. I mentioned this to Jann and she kindly helped me by mailing me the design.

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Jann’s mail with the design of the record label.

This saved me an enormous amount of work! making the wellpap “record” took some time and then calculating the size of the label was tricky. Finally, my copy was ready.

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My recreation of Jann Haworth’s Tiger cover.

This “artwork” is an homage to both Jann Haworth and to Joe Ephgrave. Perhaps not as professional as Jann’s original, but made with gratitude and in the knowledge that it’s unique.

Röyksopp’s “Melody A.M.” Promo Cover Art by Banksy.

Vinyl records with cover art by the artist known as Banksy were released in relatively limited quantities and have become very collectible. Two promotional records are particularly interesting for collectors as their covers are hand sprayed by Banksy. These are the Capoiera Twins4 x 3 / Truth Will Out 12″ single released in 1999, and Röyksopp‘s Melody A.M. album issued as a double LP in 2001. Both were editions of 100–the Capoiera Twins single unnumbered and Röyksopp‘s album hand numbered. I have previously written about the 4 x 3 / Truth Will Out cover and how I was swindled by what I now consider an unethical dealer here.

In this post I want to discuss the Melody A.M. cover.

I bought my copy of this album (No. 84/100) in 2011–before prices really started to skyrocket. It was sold to me by DJ who needed the money as he was getting married. All the copies I had seen up to that point had the cover art sprayed in dark green paint and I was initially disappointed in that my copy was sprayed in a much lighter green. I was suspicious that perhaps this was some sort of copy, but the records and press release were obviously genuine, so perhaps the colour had faded. Recently. however, I have seen several more covers with this light green printing.

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Five copies of Röyksopp’s Melody A.M. promotional LP with Banksy artwork. Note three with dark green and two with pale green/olive green print. Photo: Raimund Floeck.

The covers pictured above have numbers 20, 34, 46, 56 and 68. Both the olive green versions have the highest numbers and my copy is number 84. So it seems that Banksy changed the colour of the paint at about number 50 (the exact number still has to be confirmed.) Perhaps he just ran out of the dark green spray and took the next best thing.

Thus there really are TWO versions of the promo cover for the Melody A.M. album — the dark green and the pale/olive green varieties. For completeness my collection should include both — that’s how I got to meet Ed Cartwright.

Ed had advertised a copy of the dark green version and we began an email correspondence, finally agreeing a price. Ed didn’t want to trust this rare album to the risks of sending by post or even by private carrier, so he suggested he would deliver it in person, if I agreed to contribute to his flight costs. What could be safer? Done deal. Ed is an interesting character. He is heavily involved in the music industry, managing bands and doing PR work and the occasional DJ gig. He has a huge vinyl collection. Most pertinent to the Röyksopp album, though, is the fact that he worked for Wall of Sound records (Röyksopp‘s label) around 2001-2 when their Melody A.M. album was released. In his office, he apparently was entrusted with a number of these promotional albums. He sold one in 2011 and now wants to rebuild his kitchen so wanted to sell another copy.

So on Friday, March 6th, 2020 Ed flew in to deliver the album. It is number 12/100. Ed could confirm that the initial fifty or so covers were sprayed with the darker green spray paint and suggests that the can ran out and the lighter, olive green spray paint was used for the remainder. Ed says that he knew the guy who sprayed the covers was named Robin. Wall of Sound records asked him to make the covers as a PR exercise, (there may even have been a film of the covers being sprayed), but as Banksy was almost unknown at that time, the information was never used.

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Ed Cartwright with the Röyksopp album.

This cover art may not be the greatest thing the artist known as Banksy has ever produced (actually, it’s pretty crappy) but it completes my collection of record and CD covers with his art. Okay, I hear you — I should NEVER say my collection is complete! But until I find something new I’m happy.

Here are my two covers (Nos 12 and 84):

Vaughan Oliver and Wes Wilson–an Appreciation.

Two record cover and poster designers that have inspired me both in my art and in my collecting have died recently. Vaughan Oliver, famous for his record covers, primarily for 4AD, and posters died on 29th December, 2019 just 62 years old.

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Vaughan Oliver 1957-2019.

And less than a month later on 24th January, 2020, Wes Wilson, legendary San Francisco poster artist died aged 82.

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Wes Wilson 1937-2020.

Flashback–It’s 1967-8 and I’m a medical student at Guy’s Hospital in London. On Saturdays I would walk along Kings Road in Chelsea visiting hip boutiques and girl watching. Somewhere along there I bought some Fillmore Auditorium and Avalon Ballroom handbills and in a record shop at World’s End bought “The Psychedelic Sounds of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators” and the band’s second album “Easter Everywhere” (with the lyric sheet included). The handbills cost two shillings to half a crown in those days, which was quite a lot of money (10p/15p in modern parlance by with considerably greater buying power). Eventually I had collected more than forty by the likes of Victor Moscoso (ten), Stanley Mouse (four), Rick Griffin (four) and, of course, Wes Wilson (fourteen).

I was on the entertainments committee (not actually a committee, just some students who wanted to organise parties) at the hospital’s Student’s Union and together with fellow medical student Andrew Batch, painted posters for rave-ups that we called Inflam. My posters were heavily influenced by the psychedelic posters I had found on the Kings Road. We painted four copies of each poster to hang on the various notice boards around the Hospital and they attracted quite a lot of attention. I offered one to the shop Gear on Carnaby Street, which they we willing to buy for £25, but I thought that was too cheap, so I (idiot) refused the offer.

I still have my handbills, all 41 of them.

I did actually qualify despite my partying and actually practiced as a doctor doing my various junior posts in London and Norwich, all the while collecting records and posters. many of which I ripped from walls around London. Records with great cover art predominated even if there were many soul records. I had first editions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Their Satanic Majesties Request, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Country Joe & The Fish, Doors and Neil Young records and even bought Velvet Underground & Nico and White Light/White Heat.

Fast forward to the eighties. I discovered Victorialand, a Cocteau Twins album with cover art by 23 Envelope and thereby discovered 4AD records and began an almost obsessional race to collect album covers by Vaughan Oliver and 23 Envelope (Oliver‘s cooperation with Nigel Grierson) and v23 (his collaboration with Chris Bigg and others). I collected posters, calenders, 4AD catalogues and even had a little brass 4AD pin (I wonder what happened to that?) In the end my Vaughan Oliver collection included all the 4AD rarities, including the wooden box version of Lonely Is an Eyesore. My 4AD records went when I had to sell my collection, but I still have the first cover Vaughan designed for the company — the  of Modern English‘s Gathering Dust seven-inch single.

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Vaughan Oliver’s first cover design for 4AD records. Modern English Gathering Dust.

I bought a folder of fifteen 23 Envelope posters for £9.99 that I still have and also bought the softback This Rimy River (which went with my record collection), however I still have the limited edition of This Rimy River (No 65 of 400) which I took with me to v23‘s office/studio in November 2001 and got Vaughan to autograph it for me. He also signed Rick Poyner‘s book Vaughan Oliver: Visceral Pleasures, and the lid of of my Lonely Is an Eyesore box I arrived at v23 at around 11 a.m. and introduced myself and started chatting about my collection. Suddenly it was lunchtime and Vaughan and Chris Bigg suddenly remembered they had an appointment at 4AD to re-negotiate their contract. So the suggested I look through their poster archive and then pop round the corner for some lunch and they’d come back after their meeting. Vaughan let me take a selection of posters from the archive as a souvenir of my visit.

 

 

 

I am deeply grateful to both these artists for the inspiration their work has given me.