Sunday, November 30, 2008

Barney Bubbles Book - Say It Three Times Fast!

Barney Bubbles was the premiere record sleeve designer in England back in the 70's and early 80's, his career unfortunately cut short by his tragic suicide at a very young 42. But his work lives on and now there's a book collecting and celebrating his designs, "Reasons To Be Cheerful."

His most famous record sleeves (for most of us) are the works he created for Stiff Records, where he worked as a house designer for a time. I still remember when buying the Stiff singles was exciting not just for the music, but to see what madness the sleeves would offer. One of my favorites was a 45 RPM sleeve for "Accidents Will Happen" that was printed inside-out, color cover on the inside, blank white outside, riffing on the title. I still want a second copy so I can tear it apart and finally get a good look at the artwork inside! (Maybe this book, to be released 12/2, will finally sate my curiosity...)

One of my prize artifacts from the unfortunately named "New Wave" era is a limited edition, signed (by Elvis Costello) and numbered lithograph of the Bubbles-painted Picasso-esque cover for "Imperial Bedroom." Like much of his work, it's quirky and extremely well crafted.

Wikipedia's entry on Bubbles lists several great sites with pictures and info, but this soon to be released book, with 600 images, promises to deliver a real slice o' Bubbles to the faithful.