Thursday, 5 December 2013

T-Shirt Friday 22 !

Forever 'waiting' on a t-shirt!
It's been a long time since I rock 'n' rolled... It's been a long time since a T-Shirt Friday! But here it is, it's back! The summer time has gone for another year, dreams of Brian Wilson's golden sand and surf start to re-occur as we begin to move into those long wintry months... so for some stories of fabric and screen printing wonder to warm up your Friday nights, why not snuggle up in your favourite t-shirt (perhaps with a cardie or jumper on over the top) and let t-shirt Friday work it's winter wonderland magic!
Where exactly did we leave off... Ah yes of course... the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum, which if you remember that far back was... What Californian city do Astra originate from? ... and the answer is San Diego! did you get it right? If so how will you celebrate? perhaps a crusty roll and a nice hot bowl of tomato soup? Actually, talking of tomatoes....

Today's T-Shirt can be found directly here:

Who or what was waiting for Columbus? A ready made globe to prove his theory? Was it the indigenous people, or Indians as he mistakenly called them? or perhaps a Lady Tomato lazing comfortably in a hammock?

...Let's find out... 

You may recall way back in the mists of time the mention within the text of T-Shirt Friday 16, of an elusive tee... well here it finally is...

Little Feat's live album 'Waiting for Columbus' was released in 1977... before we go any further were you at 'The Rainbow Theartre' London, when they played from August 1st-4th 1977? everyone was, weren't they? well those gigs plus shows from 8th-10th of August recorded at the Lisner Auditorium (George Washington University) are all included on the album to make one full set. The album proved to be one of there biggest selling and is cited as one of the greatest live albums ever recorded, along with a few others of course Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous being one of them.

Sometime ago now, Eagle Rock Entertainment Ltd in conjunction with Rockpalast and WDR released the DVD 'Little Feat - Skin It Back' or 'Live At Rockpalast' if you're in Germany. I was very lucky to be able to work on the sleeve design for the project. We were given some really great archival material to work with, including some extraordinary photos of Lowell George and the band, taken by photographer Manfred Becker. As often the case with working on these types of projects and with the little bit of knowledge I already had of Little Feat's history I became more and more intrigued by them, the original footage that appears on the DVD had been recorded just a month (July 1977*) before they gave the performances that make up the 'Waiting For Columbus' set, it really is a fantastic document of what was to come... Little Feat are a band you can really get hooked on, I have been a massive fan of the group ever since... which you may have noticed as there have already been two other T-Shirt Friday's covering them!

Along with the incredible recording that is 'Waiting for Columbus' is the thing that makes it stand out on the shelves of those dusty scratchy old second hand vinyl shops where you might be lucky enough to find a copy, the album cover art... once again Neon Park designed and illustrated it, giving his interpretation of what might be waiting for Columbus, which isn't only the lady tomato quietly waiting to be discovered by Columbus, Europeans at that time also might not have ever seen a hammock, Neon Park had created the painting before Little Feat commissioned him for a cover and in fact he had already named it 'Waiting For Columbus', the name was kept for the album.

Just before... (then Miss Russell now Mrs Gibbons) and myself headed off to South America (please see T-Shirt Friday 6, for more detail) it became more then apparent that new clothes would be needed, a trip to South America with a 'Waiting for Columbus' tee seemed to me to be the perfect tie-in! So along with the BöC t-shirt, I ordered away... two weeks passed by, excitedly I waited and then the BöC tee arrived in good time for the upcoming trip! Still no sign however of the WFC tee though... another week went by... an email popped in from Little Feat Merchandising, Hooray! a message to say it's on the way, shaking with excitement I opened the mail... it was quite the opposite, a very nice note to say that there were no XL sizes left and the t-shirt might be discontinued, they did suggest ordering a different t-shirt however, but my head hung low as if it were a giant tomato that was causing my smaller weedy body to collapse under it's sheer weight. Then off we flew leaving behind all those sad memories of a wonderful tomatoey red purchase gone askew.

A year passed by... 

On a whim I made a return to Little Feats website, clicked on the merch button and in amazement fell back off of my chair, it was back! as if by baby bio they had brought back the Waiting for Columbus tee, it was nearing Christmas so hurriedly I added it to my list for Father Christmas, he wears red and he must like tomatoes in the summer months, surely he would understand... Christmas day came and went Father Christmas brought many lovely things but a WFC tee he did not...

Three months passed by...

After the financial crisis that can sometimes be Christmas, it was time again to get ordering, Ah! but this time I decided to take a different tact, Ebay had the tees, this would be the answer, sadly though it wasn't. In a similar vain to going direct to Little Feat, a nice message reply read "Unfortunately we no longer have any XL sizes and this t-shirt is to be discontinued"

Another month passed by... It was time to think outside the ordering box...

Lose weight? Go for a small size, then try stretching it? - wait a minute I'd done that before, it didn't work... hmmm....

Buy some fabric colouring pens and draw my own one...?

Another year has already nearly passed by...

In fact the reality is that it just got left, I still don't own one, like so many other things in life, time moves on, but one day, you never know, the tee may adorn my rotund top half (I didn't lose weight either). 
It is nice to know though that the Waiting for Columbus t-shirt is still out there somewhere 'waiting' to be discovered and just like it's name sake will bring back with it, lots of amazing stories and memories of a very special time in rock history to so many!

* July 1977 also happens to be when Miss Russell now Mrs Gibbons was born!

Well there we are, we are at the end of another T-Shirt Friday but before the final farewell for this week, there is of course the small matter of the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum, which is: Which famous guitar player and one time member of the Rolling Stones plays on the WFC version of 'A Apolitical Blues'?

More about Little Feat:
More about 'Waiting For Columbus':
Eagle Rock Entertainment Ltd :

Skin It Back DVD:

There is a fantastic new book by Ben Fong-Torres called 'Willin' - The story Of Little Feat':

Thursday, 15 August 2013

T-Shirt Friday 21 !

...An Astra-nomical t-shirt!
T-Shirt Friday is back!!!! In it's new slot of a fortnightly post, are you all set and excited?! well to get your whistles wet here is the answer to the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum! It was quite a tricky one as they were more famous for being signed to EMI's progressive label 'Harvest' I was told on good authority that the label took the name 'Harvest' after signing Barclay James 'Harvest' and a famous music label was born! Now firstly I must apologise to my sister... as we only just yesterday, had a discussion about the answer to this and... She was right about what the answer was and I was totally wrong... Sorry Lil Sis, I read some mis-information about who they were signed to... BJH where originally signed to Parlophone for just one single in 1968. So that means that Misaki and Dawn Rey are this weeks winners of the now prestigious T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum badge of honour!!! But as always, the all important question is... how will you celebrate? - Do let me know what your celebration ideas are....

Today's T-Shirt can be found directly here:
or here:

Do you ever find yourself wandering around... say HMV or your favourite record shop, actually not really knowing what your looking for...? It actually happens to me quite a bit. Sometimes I find myself in HMV, hoping that something will leap off of the shelf at me and it will be the 'holy grail' the 'golden fleece', the 8th wonder of the world of an album that I have been searching for all my life... the reality is that sometimes you'll find something really exciting and sometimes you end up buying an album by a band you already know, just to add to the collection, mainly because nothing else did 'pop' out and say "I am 'that' album of legend, that you have been waiting for..." Except that one trip to said HMV in 2009 did actually result in the discovery of a band that truly are on the way to becoming prog rock legendary wonders...!

In the midst of going through all of the Gentle Giant albums in the rack at HMV, something swayed my concentration from re-buying their back catalogue on CD... a sound that my ears had not heard before... a number of fully fledged musical journeys warped and absorbed the very air in the shop.... deep meandering, thundering riffs wrapped themselves around my very structure, cascades of sound spilled out of the speakers as if the amps were at that very moment being turned into liquid form, the sound lashing out like immense tidal waves... but who was this? The sounds and the music were quite retro, but it was almost impossible to pin-point the band... All at once sounding like King Crimson suddenly the music would shape-shift moulding itself into the Floyd, to last but a few seconds before segueing into Yes... the most surprising thing was that although all those influences were in there, this band still managed to keep their own identity too. Was it a long lost prog band from 1971? - maybe they had influenced all of the previously mentioned bands? The music was so awesome that I had to find out, luckily there weren't too many people around and it turned out that the chap that I spoke to was in fact the very person that had shared the album and it's treasures with the world, we spoke for a good while about them and he showed me to their rack. Only one album was left, nestled in the space provided... it felt like destiny calling! As it turned out they had only made the one album, I thought for a moment that this might be a 'Growers Of Mushroom' but it was just the beginning and what I had been hearing was an amazing debut album...

2010, We stood outside the doors to the London Scala, waiting in anticipation... My brother-in-law, Dave and myself that is... It has to be said that we didn't really blend in, there were a great deal of hardcore prog fans (if hardcore is the correct term?) in the queue, Dave commented, all be it very 'quietly' that "You can always tell a prog fan" and it's true... or at least it certainly was that night! Astra, the creators of the album that had cosmically blown a worm hole in my head at HMV, were playing that night and debuting said album (2009's The weirding) to a UK audience, along with Astra, were Diagonal and Litmus, who we had seen before at The Standard (Blackhorse Rd, Walthamstow) we were lucky enough to be a part of the first 100 people into the venue which meant that we were given by Rise Above records an Astra/Diagonal shared vinyl single, Wow! we already felt on top of the world and then the prog began... all three bands were fantastic! it turned out to be an amazing night, and a great showcase for the very best in new prog rock bands, Astra were just off the planet, which they are of course anyway, but they were orbiting a totally different universe that night and then... that same question that always creeps into your brain at some point at any great gig, started to seep in... how do we mark this incredible occasion? Dave wanted to buy the Weirding on CD, which they were selling directly at the venue and my brother-in-law and me spotted Astra T-shirts! Arik Roper designed and created the artwork for The Weirding as he did for Astra's second album 2012's The Black Chord... there in front of us lay an Astra t-shirt illustrated and designed by him too! It really was a no-brainer, until that is, we had been through the whole box full of t-shirts, only to not find any size above a medium....

T-Shirt sales brainwashing is a reality....

"You don't happen to have a large do you?" we asked the t-shirt chap, we got the answer we weren't hoping for "Sorry gov, we've run out of large and extra large mate...." he paused, but we could see that his mind was working overtime, we were waiting to be pulled in by what ever he was going to say next... as if the tee's were somehow the treasure at the end of a rainbow... the answer came in all it's glory... "You could always stretch the material" I wanted to believe in that idea, "great" I thought... "I'll go with that" My Brother-in-law saw straight through the rather weak concept that the t-shirt chap had just made up and decided not to pursue... On the other hand my brain was saying "Astra.... Arik Roper.... T-Shirt... stretch it... it will fit" and it kept repeating it... over and over again...

We left the venue, leaving behind us a night of amazing musical memories, me with my Astra t-shirt swept over my shoulder so that the artwork was on show to the world and the label slightly askew read 'medium'. Every now and again I would give the material a bit of a tug so as to stretch it, in readiness to be able to put it on when I got home, we each said our goodbye's and began to make our journeys into the night, I charged up the stairs of our building to the flat, so excited to show Miss Russell the now ready-stretched tee (or so I thought) Excitedly I told her about the gig, then bare chested and pre-t-shirt ready, I held aloft the t-shirt of Astra-nomical power and began to put it on... until... Oh!... I struggled... it wouldn't even go over my head, it was stuck there over my forehead, I pulled again at the material, maybe it needed some more stretching I thought... After all the t-shirt guy never stipulated how much stretching would be needed... I tried again, but still to no avail, tugging at the material to try to at least get one arm through... after about 30mins of stretching and contorting myself into strange shapes, while Miss Russell creased up with laughter! It suddenly dawned on me... it was as if I could suddenly see what everyone else was privy to... I had indeed seen the light (...and not only because I'd finally removed the tee from over my head and eyes!) this t-shirt was never going to fit me... A very important lesson was learned... stretching t-shirts to make them fit is not really a very viable idea at all!

That very same night Miss Russell became the proud owner of the Astra T-Shirt... and She still has it now... only last night She put it on in remembrance of this very story....

Well here we are again, it's the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum! This weeks question is indeed Astra based... and it is:  What Californian city do Astra originate from?

More about Astra:
Astra's prog archive page:
More on Arik Roper:
Gentle Giant? :

Miss Russell, channels the power of the
non-stretching Astra-
nomical tee! 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

T-Shirt Friday 20 !

...A BJH on wholemeal to go, please!
Well T-Shirt Friday has been on a two week summer sabbatical, it's now fully refreshed though and full to the brim with stories of 100% cotton and polyester wonder! 
So the last T-Shirt Friday had a rather back-to-basics approach to it, did you get the rather back-to-basics T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum though? There were some very good guesses, ranging from the cotton fields of the US right through to the marvel that is India... the real answer though is rather surprising. did you get it? The answer is... China! and we have a winner too! possibly due to her adventures a little while ago now in said country... Miss Russell wins theT-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum badge of honour! Well done Miss Russell! 
In 2007 alone China produced 35.8 billion bales of the stuff! Loads and loads of cotton t-shirts worth! If you did get the question right or even wrong come to that! ... what will you do to celebrate? A suggestion might be to wear as many items of cotton clothing that you have in your drawer or wardrobe all at the same time! Whilst balancing a china plate on your nose!... You could do that... or you could just have a nice cold beer or wine at your local pub!

Today's T-Shirt can be found directly on:

Some time ago now... in fact when I first started working as a young graphic designer in the music industry, we would have a visitor come and join us every now and then, in our little broom cupboard of a studio. The other guys would chat away with him... He had a running joke with Marv about designing sleeves for military band compilation albums (which he did) and Reginald Dixon's, 'Dixon Magic', Wurlitzer albums (which to my knowledge he didn't design, Marv?) This unknown chap, would regale us with stories of the music industry, while taking out his lunch box and eating sandwiches. After a period of him visiting, it became obvious that the sandwiches were in fact prepared in anticipation of him coming to our office. He would sit with us for hours on end, just chatting away. One such story that he told, was to do with him and his band... (which he took quite some care not to ever mention their name for some reason...) falling into financial difficulties and he, reluctantly having to sell stuff off... his house was even put up for sale, passionate about trying to keep the building and hoping for some resolution to his money woes he decided to put perspective buyers off by placing a number of large salmon wrapped in newspaper under the floor boards, the smell after a couple of weeks was so bad... he told us... that the place was left unsold and his hopes were answered with his finances coming back to some normality, thus the house remained in his possession!!!
Every now and again his visits would be cut short by our MD slinging him out on his ear... he would come into our office, see the sandwich munching chap and say... "Right 'Woolly', what are you doing here again?"... It became more and more obvious that they knew each other. It was only later after doing a little bit of design work for 'Woolly' (which I hasten to add never got used) that I figured it out... this Tupperware wielding bloke was Stuart Wolstenholme other wise known as 'Woolly' Wolstenholme, Keyboardist (although actually a multi-instrumentalist) with Barclay James Harvest. 
It also came out much later that he struggled with mental illness and he very sadly passed away in 2010... I'll never forget those moments though, when he came to Eagle and we got to spend time eating sandwiches and just chilling with a truly talented musician and writer...

In 2010 we found ourselves at Victoria Station and approaching the gate for the Gatwick Flyer, Miss Russell was off to Italy, Milan to be precise, to go to visit her publishers and work on a project. We approached the chap to ask for our tickets, straight away his eyes fixed on the t-shirt I was wearing... "Blimey!" he said, slightly startled... "I haven't seen a Barclay James Harvest t-shirt in years" I laughed not really knowing what to say..."Great band, saw them loads of times, a couple of times at the Astoria", he went on to say... "Mind you, don't think anyone would know who they are now..." he almost finished his question with an answer, possibly with the realisation that I might know who they are as I was in the t-shirt... of course though, there is that classic thing of people wearing t-shirts of bands and not knowing anything about them... more often then not though, that falls into the category of someone wearing a 'Rolling Stones' tee they have purchased from Primark, not with a rather obscure band that not many people have ever even heard of... which is perhaps what he was getting at....? I agreed with him to try to add weight to that very fact "Yes... great band"... Miss Russell laughed and as we walked away having purchased our tickets, She said her now infamous line "People always comment on your t-shirts".
We arrived at Gatwick and joined the queue for check-in, as we turned in the line, the lady behind us exclaimed "Oh! Barclay James Harvest! haven't heard of them in years!" "I had my first dance at my wedding to a Barclay James Harvest song!", She paused "'Gone To Earth', was my favourite album of theirs" She said " Don't hear much of them now..." almost echoing what the ticket man had said earlier "Yes" I agreed, we chatted for  a bit longer and Miss Russell returned from having handed in her baggage, She laughed having heard the beginning of the conversation with the lady and myself finishing off her story. Miss Russell shook her head and laughed again, finding it funny that two people in not so much as 45mins had commented on the same t-shirt. Miss Russell flew off to Bologna and I headed back on the Gatwick Express, the ticket man had gone by the time the train got back to London... For sometime after though, I thought about those two people, whose lives had been touched in their own way by Barclay James Harvest and by default Woolly Wolstenholme, even if BJH don't mean as much to anyone as they did back in the 1970's, they have still left a trail of cherished memories and that really is all that anyone can hope to do... nothing that we do is done in vain... to quote Dickens.

Well here we are again! it's that time, it's the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum! which this week is: what label were Barclay James Harvest originally signed to? Hmmm bit tricky that one....

Would you like to know more about Barclay James Harvest? :
More on Woolly Wolstenholme:
More on Reginald Dixon (check out the Dixon Magic album cover!):

P.S. It should be noted that it's a 'John Lee's Barclay James Harvest' tee that I own. As shown below... original BJH shirts seem hard to come by...

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Some new t-shirts!

The shape of things to come...
It's been quite a busy time just lately... but I thought it might be quite nice to squeeze in a little bit of self initiated work, so combining my love of t-shirt's with some of the musical influences and design influences that I have, I thought it would be nice to come up with some t-shirt designs, below are just some of them, the ones below predominately play with design, colour, shape and pattern... do let me know what you think...
more to come too...

Music Listened to while working on self initiated T-Shirt designs:
Graceland by Paul Simon
Blood On The tracks by Bob Dylan
Stephen Stills by Stephen Stills
Stills 2 by Stephen Stills (Both awesome)
Brothers and Sisters by The Allman Brothers
One Man and His Prog - Planet Rock show on Sunday nights 12pm

Thursday, 11 July 2013

T-Shirt Friday 19 !

The Comfort Of... A Well Worn T-Shirt !
Well now... did you get last weeks T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum? You'd probably have to be a bit of a Rush fan to know the answer.... The answer is.... Ayn Rand (Who was famous for her two novels 'Atlas' and 1943's 'The Fountainhead') So all that is left to do is reveal the winner... who this week is Mollie, well done Mollie, how will you celebrate? Maybe by putting on some Rush and turning all your frying pans and saucers upside down and bashing them with a set of spoons in a style not unlike Neil Peart perhaps?

Today's T-Shirt can be found on:,default,sc.html 

It's very easy to forget when you have a big collection of T-shirts, that the ones that are really comfortable and you find yourself wearing the most are actually the plain ordinary ones that hang day upon day in your wardrobe or are neatly folded at the bottom of your draw with the moth balls, Not with motifs on, or tour dates printed on the back... Tee's with nothing to shout about... Quietly waiting for you to re-discover them... In fact though, just one said tee can be all you need to help you get through what ever you have to face in life...

Nearly 8 months ago now, I took voluntary redundancy from where I'd worked for the last 13 years. Most of my collection of tees had built up over that time and are certainly influenced by that job... Suddenly I found myself not having to get up on the alarm any more, not following a routine and not really feeling the need to wear any of the rock band and music t-shirts that were... Well... there is no point in saying neatly folded up in the chest of draws because they weren't, let's just say organised into a chaotic pile on the bedroom floor... Time and routines started to spin out of control, "focus is needed" I thought after spending six hours in the flat during the day in just my pants, this same thought was also echoed by Miss Russell, many good friends and family... So with the help of the aforementioned I began to slowly and surely... Well to quote the Pink Floyd song... come back to life, an important aspect of that was job searching but also realising that it would be possible to take on some freelance work.... Work started to come in, trickling to start with and then (never really gushing) but at a level of a constant stream, with all of this going on, I hardly noticed the clothes that I had been wearing and then one day I stopped for some reason to take on board what I had on, as I peered down I found myself in the light green tee pictured below... there it was, an ordinary everyday t-shirt, doing what it does best, silently working it's magic to make the wearer feel comfortable and relaxed, I'd spent many a day lounging around in it and now it was with me while I worked too... As you'll see it's done battle a few times with toothpaste being dropped down it and many ingredients from our kitchen and fridge being smeared and rubbed in... To quote Miss Russell "Many canteen badges" have found there way on to it's well worn surface! What makes it even more special is that it was bought by my Mum and given as a gift along with a pair of rather comfy Asda pyjamas... not for Christmas, a birthday or even pancake day, but just as a gift, that's what makes it such a great t-shirt, it's had the benefit of being a part of that unique process when a loved one just gives you something for no reason, just because they want too...

So there it is, my everyday t-shirt! ... and it's stayed with me ever since, along with Miss Russell sitting up with me through many late nights of designing, writing and finishing projects, helping with my confidence by just being a very wearable tee... It was then that it hit me just how important t-shirts can be to us all and so it was that the slightly battered light green, Asda t-shirt, bought by my Mum, became the catalyst for what has become the very thing that you are reading right now... T-Shirt Friday! 

Well here we are again, and so fitting with the more general feel of this particular piece of apparel, here is a general knowledge question for the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conudrum this week: Cotton is often used purley or mixed to make t-shirts: Which country is the largest exporter of cottton? Hmmm... That one should get you thinking...

More on Cotton:
More on t-shirts:
Asda? :

Thursday, 4 July 2013

T-Shirt Friday 18 !

A Rush Job ....
The Joker was an instant classic when it was released... but what year did it come out? That was last weeks T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum! And the answer is: 1973, Dawn and Misaki were absolutely right! well done! The Conundrum badge of excellence is on it's way in cyberspace to you right now! Congratulations! How will you celebrate? You could both wear masks like the one that Steve Miller is wearing on the cover of The Joker and perhaps each try and eat a Knickerbocker glory at the same time? Would you go for Raspberry sauce,  sprinkles or perhaps both...?

Today's T-Shirt can be found on: 

It's been a busy week this week so T-Shirt Friday is not only about a 'Rush' T-Shirt but it's been a bit of a 'Rush' to prepare this week too! (Sorry, it might show in the content)... A Rush about a Rush you might say... The hours drift away...

There we were, February 2012... Having travelled up the Victoria line to our final destination, we found ourselves peering into shop and cafe front windows at Brixton Market, until finally we found the very restaurant we were after... It wasn't that we had been recommended the food there or even the place, it was more to do with what was on there wall, hanging high above our heads with pride of place was a print by none other then Miss Russell! We stopped to look at it and take some photo's, it was great to see it in situ, Miss Russell was excited and so was I! Although the Italian restaurant had not been recommended to us, we had also not come by the print on the wall by happy accident either... Miss Russell had taken part in an illustration treasure hunt! where by lots of illustrators had there work put up in many of the cafes, restaurants and bars in and around Brixton market. After getting the photo's and having a chat to the owners of Casa Sibila, we left to have a good look round, we soon returned for a fall slap up meal though! with the shadow of Miss Russell's print casting over us, the meal was very tasty indeed! and we soon began hunting further for other illustrators work... Until finally we not only found their pieces but we found the illustrators themselves too! - It was decided that we would all go off for a drink, so we followed along to a bar in the far corner of the other end of the market and up the stairs to what can only be described as a slightly odd but quirky and very interesting bar/cafe space... Although it was all very pleasant, it was slowly dawning on us that that we really didn't know anyone in the room and it was dawning on me that eyes for some reason were fixating on the tee that I was wearing...

Sometimes you don't really even think about what your putting on in the morning...

In some cases it becomes apparent later that it wasn't a good choice for that particular day (e.g. weather) and in others it's just not an appropriate tee to wear to what ever event it is your going too. In this case it would seem that the 'Rush - Fly By Night' tee was in the former category. To give it it's due the tee perfectly recreates the 'Fly By Night' cover originally painted by Eraldo Carugati and at a Rush gig would be the perfect thing to have on! I love it just as much as I love 'Rush'! However I'd misjudged where we were going that day... We found ourselves amongst many cutting edge illustrators and designers and there I was slumped on a chair with a beer in my hand, with nothing but a slightly out of date prog rock owl jumping out of my stomach...
Then it happened... Two people decided to leave, all the time throughout the drink, they had been looking at the tee and whispering, they came over to say goodbye to Miss Russell and in doing so said "Oh, I like your t-shirt" one of them asked who Rush were, to which I thought it best to answer with "Ah... An old band" (to be honest if you don't know who Rush are it's probably not really worth taking the time to try and describe them to someone....) Without really thinking any further about it all, we settled back in to our drinks, then another two illustrators said there goodbyes, once again comments were made about the t-shirt... What was going on? (We both thought) At this point I was starting to become slightly self conscious about it all and began checking myself to make sure that I hadn't dropped toothpaste or half a kit Kat down my front and on the owl! I decided to put my coat on and zip it up so that the tee was no longer visible, this caused me to sweat profusely as the bar was very warm... oh dear, you just can't win sometimes... Soon we left too and laughed about the whole thing on the way home on the tube, as the t-shirt was being stared at again by a tired business man... We never did actually get to the bottom of what the mystery of the Rush T-Shirt was all about... Maybe it's that the owl image is quite hypnotising? Maybe there was something quite unmentionable down my front? or maybe it's just that it's not a tee that you see around a lot? Who Knows? What ever the case, it was all very strange indeed... it's amazing what a T-Shirt can do!

Well it's that time again! This weeks T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum is: The song 'Anthem' from 'Fly By Night' by Rush is inspired by which philosopher? Hmmm... tricky one this week!

P.S. If you do have any ideas as to what the fixation about the shirt is all about, do let me know your thoughts!

More on Rush?:

Monday, 1 July 2013

Bare Feat In The Sauce!

An Idea For A Little Feat T-Shirt...
As you'll probably have realised by now, I'm a huge fan of the band Little Feat, I'm also a huge fan of T-Shirts in general, which you may have seen from the T-Shirt Friday posts... Recently I've been working on some self initiated T-Shirt design projects (There will be a post about those in the next couple of weeks) While working on them though, I thought it might be nice to put together an idea or two for some of my favourite bands, as a kind of tribute... Here is the first, the idea is based around the 'Waiting For Columbus' album and the tomato theme from that album. It was fun to do and really nice working just with Illustrator and drawing vectors... Do let me know what you think? If this tee and all the other designs are popular enough, I may consider printing and selling them, but lets see...

Music Listened to while working on self initiated T-Shirt for Little Feat:
Past Orbits Of Dust by Renaissance
Birds Of Fire by Mahavishnu Orchestra
Down On The Farm by Little Feat
The Sensual World by Kate Bush
Surprise by Paul Simon
Planet Rock round the clock!

Friday, 28 June 2013

T-Shirt Friday 17 !

... Lost In Space With The Cowboy!
So what 1979 Beach Boys album cover was it that Neon Park designed? Did you have to guess? Or did you already know? Who will win the prestigious green badge of excellence??? Well the answer is: L.A. (Light Album) If you did get it right, then the aforementioned green badge of excellence, will be travelling through cyberspace right directly in to your mailbox! Well done! More importantly though, how will you celebrate? Well... L.A. contains an arrangement of the traditional song 'Shortnin' Bread' by Brian Wilson, so what about a Friday of baking to celebrate? and baking Shortnin' Bread in particular? Or if you don't fancy short bread, you could bake a baguette instead, as they're quite long...

Today's T-Shirt can be found on: 

Sometimes it can be really tricky to decide which T-Shirt should be the next T-Shirt Friday, to showcase... Very occasionally though something happens and it feels like it might be a sign from someone or something... 

...I'd actually been considering and writing about a completely different t-shirt for this weeks T-Shirt Friday tee and then like a bolt out of the blue! A track came onto Spotify, I stopped at two sentences in, to listen... the track was 'Guilt Trip' by Kayne West, it wasn't so much the track, it was the sample that did it, which was that very well known ascending electronic type coda, from Steve Miller Band's 'Fly Like An Eagle'... the planets seemed to be aligning... I contemplated what had just happened for a little bit and told myself to just carry on with what I had been doing... The Kayne West track had come to a close. "Hmmm... Maybe some Planet Rock to get in the mood", I thought, as I clicked on the 'Listen Live' button, the laid back rhythm and drum work of 'The Joker' beamed out of the speakers... now that is a bit weird isn't it?!

So here we go, the universe is telling us something and so with perhaps some divine intervention or maybe just a very strange coincidence... here is the Steve Miller Band T-Shirt Friday story!

For as long as I can remember I've always wanted to see Steve Miller Band, 'The Joker' was re-released famously in 1990 in conjunction with the Hugh Johnson, Levis Advert. I was hooked! It has everything as a track, fantastic lyrics that reference not only Steve Miller's own previous works, but also the 1954 song "Lovey Dovey" by The Clovers. It has a fantastic hook and swagger to it and who can forget the amazing slide guitar wolf whistle! The song also features a neologism with the lyric "pompatus" which has become famous in it's own right (more below on that) The line that always gets me in the song, is the laid back delivery of "I'm a picker, I'm a grinner, I'm a lover and I'm a sinner, playin' my music in the sun" and who wouldn't want to be playing their music in the sun...? Anyway I digress, Suddenly in the very early months of 2012, Steve Miller Band announced that they were playing the Roundhouse in Camden!!! Instantly I booked a ticket, although, unfortunately no one was interested, so just me then... As it got nearer though, it became apparent that it might all become quite difficult as Miss Russell had to go to York on the very same day and needed help taking framed prints of her illustrations, It was a rocky road - with it at one point looking like I wouldn't be able to go, the gig was in jeopardy! But in keeping with the whole theme of this post... the planets aligned and we got back just in time for me to split off to go to the Roundhouse. It was a dream come true, words can't even describe the gig, they played everything, all their hits, plus some really nice obscure stuff too, it was just immense! What was great too was the ease of moving round the venue, at one point I was really close to the band... Sadly like all good things, the concert came to an end, but Steve Miller had rocked us in a way that only he knows how! There were so many good vibes coming from the stage and the music, you could tell as people were leaving that they had been wrapped up in all the warmth, positivity and coolness that Steve and the gang had projected... But then came that ultimate question, the one that greets every fan... normally in the lobby as your leaving the venue... To buy a tee or not to buy a tee, this question is both timeless and has many connotations... Sometimes the tees are cheaper if purchased at the venue, sometimes you can't find the shirts that a band has at a gig anywhere else, as much as you try, goodness knows I have... There is a fine balance to it all, leaving it and purchasing later can sometimes work, but then on the other you're not taking away the memories directly from the gig... It is very difficult and a time consuming thought process often ensues, unfortunately in this case I made a terrible error of judgement and didn't purchase a tee, shock, horror! Just like the reasoning for why this post was written, I should have looked and listened to the signs, I unfortunately shook them off on that occasion though... 

I returned home to tell (and bore, I should imagine) a half asleep Miss Russell (it was gone midnight) of the wonders that were the Steve Miller Band at The Roundhouse... "Did you get a t-shirt?" Miss Russell asked as She turned over to go back to sleep, I realised at that point and after a sleepless night, how far wrong I had gone. The gig was in October and Christmas was looming, unbeknown to myself, Miss Russell had secretly told my Mum of my Steve Miller T-Shirt woes and one was ordered, the idea being that my Mum and Dad would give it to me for Christmas... Christmas came and went, my Mum hadn't received the t-shirt. As has happened before... the shirt had been sent from the US side all fine, but had got caught up with the UK customs department... It was out there somewhere in postal space, orbiting and waiting for it's final landing through our letter box, eventually it did turn up, about 3 weeks later, it also turned out to be quite possibly one of the most expensive t-shirts I own! It's actually only around $15.00 from the Steve Miller band website, but the customs costs pushed it way up to astronomical amounts (sorry Mum!).... It is getting it's moneys worth as I hardly ever take it off, other then of course to swap it for another t-shirt! ... You never know, It may well be the 'completley different t-shirt' that I did two sentences on, that you get to hear about next week... Unless of course, divine intervention suggests differently again!

So it's that time again, here is this weeks T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum! : What year was the album 'The Joker' originally released?

More on Steve Miller Band? :
The Album and Song The Joker:

P.S. Steve Miller Band... not to be mixed up with Ed Miller band or David Miller band, they don't rock as hard!