- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Adelita; 1 edition (February 28, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0955201748
- ISBN-13: 978-0955201745
- Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1 x 11.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,647,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reasons To Be Cheerful: The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles Hardcover – February 28, 2011
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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.
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.
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. The immediacy of design and the medium of record covers is also an undercurrent of this book. It is very interesting to consider how much one has lived with one's records and how much one has been affected and reflected through them. This is recommended for music lovers, design fans, anyone interested in post-punk aesthetics, designers and artists of course.