Archive for the ‘Design crazy’ Category

John Foxx – ‘Burning Car’ UK 7” single (Metal Beat/Virgin VS360, 1980)

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Near enough to the day (11th July 1980), forty years have passed since the impeccably eerie synthetic ‘less is more’ dynamic of ‘Burning Car’ appeared. As Spring moved into Summer of 1980 it was exciting times for music for me. Spring had brought Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark with ‘Messages’ and The Human League with ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ to my ears and Gary Numan had released the exciting ‘We Are Glass’ single. New Musik and The Cure had also kept my cassette recorder busy, taped from the top 40 show. I had read about the forthcoming release of this latest Foxx single mid June in ‘Smash Hits’. It had competition from former band mates Ultravox, who had reactivated and were releasing the first notes with Midge Ure in the shape of ‘Sleepwalk’ – and would be an earlier release than Foxx’s latest. Nonetheless, I wasn’t wasting time in getting ‘Burning Car’. There had already been the two singles from ‘Metamatic’, in the way of ‘Underpass’ and a completely re-recorded ‘No One Driving’ – and now, just barely seven months into 1980, a whole new non-album single. Which also happened to sound amazing. Just over three minutes long, it was unlike anything else. Whole segments of little more than steely Roland CR78 rhythm machine and vocal with eerie synth washes rolling in like some mysterious mist, Foxx’s precise lyric like some telegraphic telling of a yet unrealised film projected by alternative means. It felt like best thing he’d released yet.

John Foxx - ‘Burning Car’ UK 7” single picture sleeve front

^ John Foxx – ‘Burning Car’ UK 7” single picture sleeve front

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Gary Numan ‘80/81’ Box Set – Discs 3, 4 and 5: ‘Living Ornaments 81′

Sunday, June 7th, 2020

In the first part of this look at the ‘80/81’ box set, the focus was on discs one and two, which spread the ‘Telekon’ studio album across a couple of individually packaged LPs. The remainder of the box finds the 1981 Wembley ‘farwewell concerts’ documented by way of the ‘Living Ornaments 81’ album – its only appearance on vinyl to date.


Those 1981 farewell shows are a well established part of the Numan folklore of course. I was still too young to have attended any concerts back in 1981. Instead, it was all lived vicariously through the pages of the music press and the likes of the Numan-sympathetic one-off SynRock fanzine, as well as the immediately preceding ‘Living Ornaments 79 and 80’ box set, which I lavished no small amount of several weeks pocket money on. A few months later came the airing on BBC1 TV (Sunday 6th September 1981) of some highlights from the video recording of the show. Despite being condensed down to only 40 minutes in length, this was A Very Big Deal Indeed for me, in an era of only three television channels airing in the UK. Having to compete with the rest of the family and their viewing pleasures – and with no video recorder yet – was no mean feat. The complete show would be released in full form in 1982 on the oddly named ‘Micromusic’ home video cassette and from which this live recording is derived.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - Disc 3 - 'Living Ornaments 81' sleeve front cover

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Disc 3 – ‘Living Ornaments 81’ sleeve front cover

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The Graphic Language of Neville Brody book (with a Cabaret Voltaire focus…)

Saturday, March 28th, 2020

As charity shop finds go, this was my best one in a while. The edges a little discoloured, fair enough… but for the price, no complaints. Neville Brody’s work has spoken for itself for many decades now and this book, dating from 1988 (there are later editions too) is an excellent display of his craft and thoughts, some of which are recounted below. Inevitably, I’ve focussed on the Cabaret Voltaire element for this post, but the book obviously covers in fine detail the broad scope of the man’s work up till the 1988 publication period in this case.

The Graphic Language of Neville Brody book

^ The Graphic Language of Neville Brody book

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Button badge goodness: Public Image Ltd [Part 2]

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

A second edition (ho ho!) of PiL button badge goodness for you to savour – enjoy!

Public Image Ltd 'Mirror' design button badge

^ Public Image Ltd ‘Mirror’ design button badge

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Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – Discs 1 and 2: ‘Telekon’ (Vinyl 180, VIN180LP038, 2011)

Friday, February 28th, 2020

We return once more to the intriguing story of the variations to Gary Numan’s ‘Telekon’ album in this post, by way of the lavish and unique ‘80/81’ box set from November 2011. I found this a quite tempting release at the time for reasons I can’t quite recall now, other than it was a pre-Christmas treat to myself – well, why wouldn’t you?!


The Box

Packaged in a sturdy, matt-silk finish black box with the familiar double red ‘Telekon’ bars, the 80/81 title is picked out in high-gloss spot varnish. May all be either tasteful high-tech minimalism or just a bit too plain for some, depending on your taste.

Gary Numan '80/81' Box Set - front

^ Gary Numan ’80/81′ Box Set – front

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