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Reasons To Be Cheerful: The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles Hardcover – August 31, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Adelita Ltd; 1st edition (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 095520173X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955201738
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 9.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,347,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Paul Gorman is a London-based writer and fashion entrepreneur.

Over the last three decades he has written for a wide variety of publications including Mojo, GQ, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, Radio Times, Screen International, Music Week and Heat.

Gorman has published eight books, including two editions of his acclaimed history of post-war music, fashion and style The Look: Adventures in Rock & Pop Fashion, and the definitive history of the transatlantic music press In Their Own Write.

Two of his books have appeared in the London Sunday Times best-sellers lists - Straight with Boy George and Cry Salty Tears, a ghostwritten story of spousal abuse for Dinah O'Dowd.

His most recent book is Reasons To be Cheerful: The Life & Work Of Barney Bubbles, about the late graphic designer who committed suicide in 1983. This is available in the US via DAP distributution from September 1 2009.

Gorman has two book blogs: http://barneybubbles.com/blog and http://rockpopfashion.com/blog. Both are regularly updated with fresh and exclusive info, images and interviews.

Gorman also operates the fashion label The Look Presents which delivers its fifth collection to Topman in the US and Europe fall 2009.

A pop culture historian, Gorman has staged exhibitions, Q&As, fashion shows and many other events with partners including Sir Paul Smith, Central Saint Martin's College Of Art and the Victoria & Albert Museum.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Menchi on July 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Whether the book does Barney justice is for the reader to decide, since the man himself is no longer with us. But, anyone who appreciates Barney's work beforehand would be hard-pressed to find a reason why it wouldn't. The very act of compiling Bubbles' uncredited works, piecing together his life story, and sharing it with the world in book form is doing those who appreciate modern art, and record art in particular, a tremendous favor. That's worth four stars already.

Who here has noticed Barney's self-portrait in the Armed Forces package, or the profile on the cover of 4D Man? Gorman finds things you may have overlooked each time you saw them. That is why this is a terrific book, because it is neither just about Barney's life nor just his album covers. This book is about everything the man created -- including single sleeves, labels, furniture, sculpture, logos, even music! -- and the artistic sensibility that went into them.

Barney's fans know that an album's design is about far more than the cover; it's about the entire package. Gorman offers this in Reasons and expands upon it on his site devoted to Barney, where what couldn't fit into the book is documented. At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, any devotees of design and layout, typography, modern art, or punk/new wave must get this.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hellorinis on April 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had ordered this book based on reviews I'd read in the press. I was not at all familiar with Barney Bubbles the designer. I knew some of the images by Bubbles but the story and the context of his work is incredibly interesting. I was not prepared for the superb quality of both the book's design and the quality of scholarship and research put into it. This is a hardcover book with lots of text combined with images, and filled with stories from those who were part of the various scenes Barney had participated in. Printed in excellent paper. Musicians, fellow graphic designers (including Saville's intro), friends, all contribute to the story. Some online reviews elsewhere have stated that the book is somewhat lacking in theoretical terms; in my opinion this is not relevant in this case. This is the first comprehensive BB book in the market with tons of stories, that really place you "there".

Bubbles' life and work encompasses the late 60's and early (hippie) 70's as well as the punk rock and post-punk era. He is closely identified with early Elvis Costello among others. The book takes the reader from the beginning in the 60's up until the 80s when sadly, Bubbles took his own life. His work with Stiff records paralells what Peter Saville did for Factory yet Bubble's style is less "clean" and classic; constantly opening itself up and disgesting style culture quotations.

The work looks fresh and contemporary in a post-modern way; many styles and the acknowledgement of "style" a strong element in the work. There are marks and quotation of marks; images and reflections of images, puns. This is an instance when design has out-smarted "art" on many levels; it has functioned as visual culture, and has turned on itself to acknowledge its function.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By interrobang on April 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
“Reason To Be Cheerful” is a long over-due review of the life and work of Colin Fulcher, aka “Barney Bubbles”. It traces his start as a post-war English art student, like so many of his generation, benefitting from an English value in the importance of practical training in broadly humanistic activities, and his development as a graphic artist in a changing British culture. A culture ripe for, and for a younger generation, receptive of change on many fronts. This same incubator hatched many of the movers and shakers in fashion, music, art who would influence generations

I found it most valuable giving credit to his uncredited work for Stff Records, of which I've been a collector for 30 years. It's revelatory to understand not just the cultural climate in which this grand and humble work was produced, but the mind behind it. Always interested in threads which weave, and bind, it serves as a jump-off to explore more music, more design. That's huge.

In many ways, it's a tragicomedy. Paul Gorman should be thanked for putting pen to this. I also deeply appreciate the expanded introductory matter from Malcolm Garret, Peter Saville, Billy Bragg, and Art Chantry. They help frame what's to come.

If you're a graphic designer interested in music packaging, all I can say about this book is Buy 1.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. C. Jones on April 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book, that seems to be hard to get in the UK. Covers the amazing life of Colin Fulcher AKA Barney Bubbles. Excellent reproduction of his contribution to art and design with a compelling back narrative that explains the designs and ideas and personalities involved. Inspirational stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BENBENEK on December 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A perfect overview of delightful album cover artist Barney Bubbles - Bubbles worked a lot for Stiff Records and designed many if not most of its record covers. This book is packed with his illustrations with much information about his techniques and life. Great great book!
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