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Reasons to be Cheerful: The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles [Hardcover]

Paul Gorman
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Illustrated £17.49  
Hardcover, 4 Dec 2008 --  

Book Description

4 Dec 2008
A celebration of the life and work of one of the greatest designers of recent times, the mysterious and tragic cult figure Barney Bubbles. Bubbles - real name Colin Fulcher - was a true giant of graphic design whose prodigious output is revered by musicians, artists, fellow designers and music and pop culture fans. Published to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the artist's death.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Adelita Ltd (4 Dec 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 095520173X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955201738
  • Product Dimensions: 28.2 x 23.1 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 845,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


''A glorious tribute'' --The Word, November 2008


A stylish collection of Barney Bubbles' sleeve art is top of your coffee-table's Christmas list.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real tribute to a artistic genius 8 Dec 2008
I've been leafing through a copy of this for the last few days . It's a sumptuous affair , beautifully printed , a real tribute to a artistic genius. Words really cannot do it justice - just get it and wallow in it.

A minor quibble would be that the text isn't concurrent with images. We get all the background story to the Armed Forces sleeve on P.137 but the illustrations don't appear until Pp. 148 -153. Once , however, you get used to that it's alright. That's six pages of slightly larger than A4 pages of reproductions for just one album - the book really is that detailed.

Besides the many specifically Costello related features(I'm a big E.C. fan)I was particularly taken by the bio. detail that Barney - born Colin Fulcher - grew up in Whitton, Middlesex. Since Elvis live there in 1970's I daresay that may have been another bond they had.

New - to me- details about the Armed Forces sleeve is that the main cover image, the elephants etc, are painted by Tom Pogson. Other images in the package are by the 'French design collective Bazooka' , ' led by artists Christain Chapiron and Jean-Louis Dupre ( who worked under the pseudonyms Loulou and Kiki Picasso'. Additionally ' one of the animal prints derives from a pair of Bubbles' assistant Diana Fawcett's knickers'.

And so on. Definitely a book worth getting - short of the original sleeves it's the only way to see these images properly .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential purchase! 21 Feb 2013
By Smitty Werbenjaegermanjensen (real name) TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is an essential purchase for anyone with even a passing interest in any of the following - graphic design, vinyl albums, record sleeves, the art scene in the UK in the 60's and 70's, Hawkwind, drugs, stage management, the Stiff Rcord label, the NME, art and many others.

It is a labour of love that collects together the superb and ever inventive work of Colin Fulcher, or as he was better known, Barney Bubbles. There will be sleeve designs here that you may have forgotten about that were truly works of art, such as Elvis Costello and the Attractions Armed Forces with its ambitious gatefold sleeve for example.

Get this and "For the love of Vinyl" by Aubrey Powell and Storm Throgerson for a real feast of record sleeve art.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master of the picture sleeve 13 Feb 2011
Barney Bubbles is revealed as the master designer behind sleeves of artists ranging from Hawkwind to John Cooper Clarke via Ian Dury and specifically Elvis Costello. The book (a revised and updated version of the 2009 first issue) not only tells the story of his tragically ending life but contains beautiful reproductions of many record sleeves, tour posters and other designs by the artist. The highlights to me are his 'borrowing' from a range of art movements and his gift for designing beautiful lettering. Think Generation X's Your Generation 7" and Elvis Costello's Armed Forces LP.
A must for anyone still involved in the habit of looking at record sleeves whilst listening. Warning: reading this book may cause urge to collect!

A victim
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An excellent biography on a truly underrated artist. A must for any fan of great album cover art. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FAB Work :) 25 Dec 2012
By Geez_UK
Paul Gorman's recently expanded and totally great read - You Need This Book :)
I was lucky enough to get this, sometime ago now, and couldn't put it down.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forever blowing Bubbles! 11 July 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What can I say?
Finally just recognition for Barney Bubbles. I nearly bought this book when the first edition came out, hesitated, and then it was gone, out of print and I couldn't get a copy for love nor money. Now with this new, revised and updated edition, available and back on the shelves, my appetite has been sated - and it was worth the wait. Brilliantly put together book about one of the great, and for far too long, largely unsung record sleeve designers. Peter Saville & Neville Brody have had worthy books to celebrate their genius and evaluate their work. The music labels (Factory & Rough Trade/Virgin) and artists (Joy Division/New Order & Cabaret Voltaire/23 Skidoo) they worked with benefited from the cohesive design and distinctive idendity. Barney Bubbles was just as vital to the success of the Stiff/F-Beat labels and their stable of artists (Ian Dury/Elvis Costello). His quirky, bold, sometimes off-beat designs and use of text creating a feel and look that, like all great design, helped them stand out from the crowd.
So at last recognition for Barney Bubbles, an often overlooked and previously, it seemed, largely forgotten giant of British design. Get this book, marvel at the quality of the images, soak up the well researched text, and experience the dynamic and fun nature of the designs. Pick up a piece of British design and music history and help put this man up where he belongs - alongside the other icons of British design. But most of all - just enjoy a fantastic book.

Reasons to be Cheerful: The Life and Work of Barney Bubbles
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