Thursday, 25 April 2013

It's T-Shirt Friday 8 !

The Dark Side Of The Moon
So, how did you get on last week with the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum??? Did it keep you guessing all week? The answer is... Eric Crandell! he started 101 Apparel in 2006 and before that worked on some very innovative album covers and apparel for Ubiquity Records, it's really worth checking out there website: 

Storm Thorgerson
Before we move on to this weeks T-Shirt and in keeping with talking about designers, it seems only right to mention Storm Thorgerson and the sad news of his passing away. There are very few graphic designers who's death would make headline news but Storm Thorgerson's has. He along with Hipgnosis the design studio that he co-founded, created some of the most innovative and startling album covers of all time and although genius these days is used far too frequently, in the case of Storm Thorgerson it is very true. He created album sized works of genius and beyond... He was also a film maker creating many well known music videos. He worked with many different artists including Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, 10cc, The Steve Miller Band, Catherine Wheel and later Muse, Rival Sons and Biffy Clyro just to name a few. But arguably his most famous work was with Pink Floyd, beginning in 1968 with the cover for 'Saucerful Of Secrets' right through to 1977's 'Animals' and then from 'A Collection Of Great Dance Songs (1981) to the present.

It was 7th April 2011 and Miss Russell, our great friend Dave and myself found ourselves being confounded and constantly amazed at the images that Storm Thorgerson was projecting behind him from his incredible back catalogue of work. We were at the O2, British Music Experience at a very special event, a talk by two of the most legendary graphic designers ever! Roger Dean and the aforementioned Storm Thorgerson, it was billed as a night of anecdotes and stories, about there work, but as with everything that Storm did there was a twist, rather then just giving a straight forward talk, the audience was asked to participate. We were shown a picture, of which many people said what they thought they saw, then Storm said this "This picture of a sheep on a psychoanalytic couch was designed as a poster insert for 10cc's 1980 album, Look Here. The band asked for 'something different'. I never really have a clear idea of what that expression means ... I thought it was more engaging to ask a question and between us we came up with 'are you normal?' Anyway, the question led to the idea of normality and what could be more normal than a sheep, all of whom tend to follow each other. But to be normal you'd need a lengthy dose of psychotherapy.' 

That was the thing, nothing that Storm ever thought up, designed or created was as it seems...

Today's T-Shirt is from an old friend :

When did you first hear Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon'? how did you hear it? Was it on CD, Vinyl or maybe even 8 Track? Perhaps it was on the day of it's release, March 1973 or just yesterday? It's so timeless that like The Beatles 'Revolver' it will be listened to by generations to come. I first came into contact with DSOTM at Woolworths along Chingford Mount, around 1990, the tape cover had the unique Storm Thorgerson, Hipgnosis and George Hardie Prism design, but it also had two gold panels printed top and bottom, the top half had the band and album title within it. The tape was black plastic, which always struck me as strange as tapes were being made at that point more commonly out of clear plastic. 
I don't think it would be an overstatement to say that my life has never been the same since my first listen to DSOTM. I instantly became a life long fan of Pink Floyd and was mesmerised by not only the music but the mystique of it all. The album cover and the music are in perfect sync with each other and that is what is so special about the relationship between Pink Floyd and Storm Thorgerson.
Many Years later, in fact just last year, my Mum asked what I would like for my birthday, as usual I really had no idea, it finally came to the day of my birthday and there was a parcel from my Mum and Dad, carefully I opened the packaging and to my surprise inside was something that I'd never contemplated before... a DSOTM tee! Wow! Thanks Mum and Dad! wearing the t-shirt feels like your wearing something incredible, your wearing a part of music history, a timeless classic that all began in 1973 with a man called Storm and a triangular prism...

Well... "The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say..." Oh yes, that's right... it's time for the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum! Here we go, part of the song 'Time' from P F's Dark Side Of The Moon is still used as a theme for which Bulgarian quiz show?

If you would like to find out more about Storm Thorgerson :
For more on Pink Floyd :
For more on Hipgnosis :

Friday, 19 April 2013

It's T-Shirt Friday 7 !

Grow Your Own T-Shirt...... 
... and keep it well fed! Here is a question... and it's not the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum, although that is coming up in about 3 and a bit paragraphs down, the question to contemplate is: how important are T-shirts to you? Anyway while you're thinking that one over, here is the answer to last weeks T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum, the question was: How large in square kilometers is Salar De Uyuni? and the answer is 10, 582 square kilometers! Wow! now that is big! Did you get it right? If you did or actually even if you didn't, why not celebrate anyway? maybe with a nice cool weak cordial drink - the salt flats are not only vast but very hot too!  Also put on some shorts, sandals and make out the summer is already here! Perhaps put on some Beach Boys, Jan & Dean or Mr Gasser & The Weirdos and go surfing in your bath?! Misaki the blogging dog... perhaps you should celebrate (as you got the answer right, almost a week ago) by having a giant jambone and putting on a Hawaiian style shirt?! Anyway I'll stop 'barking', on here is this weeks tee...

Sometimes keeping a T-shirt well nourished can have lasting affects! 

Today's T-Shirt is from an old friend :

Sometime ago now, the below T-shirt was doing what is does best and covering up the parts of me that shouldn't be on show, it's one of those t-shirts that you really, really feel comfortable in, you might say that it's a well lived in t-shirt, if you know what I mean? Anyway I found myself in Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road and about to pay for a couple of items. It was coming up to Miss Russell's birthday and I'd been hunting for a nice card and some wrapping paper. Just as I was about to leave the lady that had just served me, began to ask a question that has been asked (all be it in different forms) many times before "That's a really nice t-shirt, where did you get it from?" it's a tee that just seems to draw out that type of question in anyone that it meets, remarks were constantly being made at work and I've even been stopped in the street by complete strangers and asked about the 'Grow Your Own' t-shirt. In fact there was a time that whenever I put the shirt on I would make sure to memorise 101 Apparel's website so that I had a well rehearsed response ready for anyone that questioned the origin of the shirt. It's also a well travelled tee having been to China, New York and Southend on Sea! and true to form in each place at some stage of the journey, the very same question was brought up... In China, while we were staying in the Monastery at Emieishan, a Monk remarked on the t-shirt and then laughed at my belly! (Both the t-shirt and my stomach were growing!)

Sadly the t-shirt has now been retired of it's duties, for fear of it falling apart completely! It has many holes and has picked up a few dents and creases on the way. It now has a much slower pace of life, living in our chest of drawers, I do hope that it doesn't mind having less attention, but it has grown and climbed higher, reaching out with it's vinyl leaves, blossoming into a t-shirt with a full and varied career! Leaving it's roots in many places. It has been well nurtured and will always be very much loved.
What were your thoughts on the question asked above? Do you you have a t-shirt that is very important to you? a well lived t-shirt? The Grow Your Own t-shirt is possibly one of the most important t-shirts that was given to me (I do love all of my t-shirts but I have a very special affection for this one) It has a unique audio tree design, a really nice message about growing your own music and is just so comfortable to wear, but all of that taken in to account, the real reason why... is that it is the first t-shirt that Miss Russell gave to me.

Well it's time for this weeks T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum, which is: What is the name of the designer that started and created 101 Apparel? A clue is, that he designed innovative covers and t-shirts for Ubiquity Records before setting up what is now 101 Apparel...

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

New Adventures In Designing For Online

A Tiger At The Vets!
PageTiger have a very interesting system in place, to help companies create there own online magazines and web pages. There website is really worth a good look as they offer so much: The way that PDF's can be used to make an online site is very unique. Interactive elements can be added in as well. Kate Burton, Director of editorial and creative services at PageTiger, briefed me to create and design a template for an online web site for a group of Veterinary practices. We needed to make sure the template was both flexible and versatile so that it could be altered at ease, depending on what each of the three practices requirements were. I came up with the idea of having very specific looking bold pages, that could be shunted around at will and re-built for each template, meaning that you could take more and more away, but still retain the overall original visual look. Film footage can also be brought into PageTigers PDF system - the empty box in the first template denotes were the footage will go. PageTiger and Kate Burton were fantastic to work with, they were there all the way through the project with help and advice. It was a very interesting and engaging experience, something quite different from anything I've done before. They say you should never work with animals but the below ones were very accommodating indeed!

Music Listened to while working on PageTiger Online Veterinary Project:
Waiting For Columbus by Little Feat
American Beauty by The Grateful Dead
Psychedelic Pill by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Man Chest Hair by Various, well worth checking this out:
One Of These Nights by The Eagles... I know... I Know... but there is that famous story
about Neil Young and the Eagle's supporting him on the Tonight's The Night Tour...

Template One - Westway Vets.

Template Two - Value Vets.

Template Three - Easy Vets.

Friday, 12 April 2013

It's T-Shirt Friday 6 !

Cities On Flame With Röck and T-shirts...... 
So did you get last weeks T-Shirt Friday Conundrum? It was a bit of a tricky one. Mainly also because there is some dilemma as to who came up with the name 'Napoleon Dynamite'. Jared Hess the director of the film, believes that he met someone of that same name around 2000. Elvis Costello used the name on his now rather famous album from 1986 'Blood & Chocolate'. He also used the name as early back as 1982 as a pseudonym. So if you got Elvis Costello or even Elvis Presley you still did very well! Perhaps you could celebrate by buying yourself an Elvis 'onesie' jumpsuit or even go one step further and get a Rhinestone Nudie suit made... just for the weekend! You could do all of that or maybe just have a nice cuppa and treat yourself to a jammie dodger! Whatever way you decide to celebrate... Well done! Which now brings us full circle to another t-shirt. Which much like Jammie Dodgers and Nudie Suits has a story of nostalgia to it. But also has an element of adventure and it rocks like Godzilla!!! What could this t-shirt and it's story be about...? Well here goes...

Today's T-Shirt is from :

Way back in 2006 my great friend Dave and myself found ourselves in the now sadly closed down and demolished but at the time rather sticky floored London Astoria. We were having our brains blown out and our faces melted by a band that it's fair to say at the time we both knew little about. They were not a new band even then. They have a couple of staple songs that really will last 'together in eternity' but the real surprise was just how good everything else was that they played! It was a riff-tastic guitar and song fest of epic proportions and we left that night blown away by the them, vowing to discover more about their history and their songs. The band was the not to be confused with the 'British Oxygen Company'... 'BöC' (Blue öyster Cult got the umlaut the 
British Oxygen Company never did!)
Often referred to as the 'American' Black Sabbath BöC packed a plectrum wielding punch that night! One that hit so hard that along with the sticky floors the memory of it all propelled itself through the timelines and has stayed with us ever since...

The taste of salt was on both Miss Russell's and my lips, everywhere we looked was just pure white and the light was so bright that by default we had to wear sunglasses. Old shoes or trainers had to be worn for fear of corrosion, the very floor that we were walking on could degrade rubber and plastic materials. The Jeep that along with 4 others we had been members of for the past 3 days had just dropped us off in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. The only things marking our way were small heaps of pure white salt which every now and again might have a discarded spade or tool left on top of one of them. We were in Salar De Uyuni, the world's largest salt flats and when you're there it's like you are viewing infinity itself! Our journey had begun in Santiago, Chile, we then travelled via a 24 hour bus to San Pedro de Atacama, to which we then began the trip in the jeep through the Atacama Desert into Bolivia and to our final salty goal. 6 years on from BöC there we both were, Miss Russell and me standing in the most outworldly place we had ever been, thinking back over our epic journey and looking forward to what was next to come. All the time I had been wearing the below Blue öyster Cult t-shirt! - So while all of these new thoughts and experiences where happening a certain nostalgia crept in... times spent back home in London with Miss Russell, wondering how friends and family were, what they were doing, Dave and myself having a few beers at the sticky floored Astoria watching BöC... it's funny what a t-shirt can do! 

When we were planning our trip to Chile and South America, it became apparent quite soon that we would need to invest in some new clothes to take away with us. I had regretted not buying a BöC T-shirt at the time of the gig. The T-shirt design is taken from Blue öyster Cult's first album in 1972 called strangely 'Blue öyster Cult' and the wonderfully mysterious image was designed by Bill Gawlick who incidentally also designed the bands now iconic logo and the album cover for their second album 1973's 'Tyranny and Mutation' as well. 
I ordered the Blue öyster Cult T-shirt in preparation for our trip, plus the now elusive 'Waiting For Columbus T-shirt' (But that is a whole other story...) without really even thinking about it, the reason for my purchase only became apparent right there out in the middle of the Bolivian salt flats. It served as a way of remembering and giving back great memories...
A stairway to the stars!

Well, well, well, it's time again for the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum, so here we go.... this week it's a question that will test your knowledge to the full. A kind of geographical t-shirt question... How large in square kilometers is Salar De Uyuni?

Interested in BöC? check these sites out:Öyster_Cult

If you like cowbell check out 'Don't Fear The Reaper' - it's a cowbell-fest!

And Bill Gawlick:

P.S. Incidentally, It's thought that Blue öyster Cult began the trend in heavy rock and metal to use the umlaut in their logos that bands like Motörhead made famous!
Go... Go... Godzilla Yeah!

Friday, 5 April 2013

It's T-Shirt Friday 5 !

A Dynamite Tee...... 
Goodness gracious 5 t-shirts down the line already! And this weeks T-shirt might get you eating steak, drawing strange mythical creatures... 'Ligers', playing tetherball or maybe even voting! But first there is the rather important task of letting you know the answer to last weeks 'Big Lebowski' T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum! If you thought that the electro band was... Kraftwerk then you were very nearly right. As the 'fictional' band in Maude's collection are actually called 'Autobahn' which is a kind of homage or perhaps parody (who knows?) to Kraftwerk. They made a very famous fourth album called 'Autobahn'. If you thought the band's name was 'Kraft Cheese' then why not celebrate and have some in a sandwich for your lunch today! And now it's time to unveil this week's tee. So get yourself a quadbike (but please don't break your coccyx) it's time for T-Shirt Friday...

Today's T-Shirt is from :

It's probably a bit foggy now... but if you think back to 2004, two phenomena appeared. Can you think what they might be? Clue : They are connected in this story. I first became aware of them both, (As usual for me) the wrong way round. Everywhere I went people were wearing the below T-shirt. Everywhere I looked, my eyes could only focus on the red typography coming out at me.
People in the street would pass each other by. Both wearing the same T-Shirt, They would nod to each other knowingly. As if they were in some strange secret society. I really wanted in!!!  - If for nothing else just to understand what that elusive red slogan meant. Then the strangest thing happened! For my birthday that year, I received a present from my Sister and Brother-in-law. As I opened it the red lettering glared out at me! Wow! I was now also an owner and honorary member of this rather odd cult of 'Vote For Pedro' T-Shirt wearers. Except in my case I still had absolutely no idea what it was all about. I felt like a fake. A charlatan. Wearing a T-shirt I knew nothing of. This was surely a huge case of style over content and it felt like something had to be done.... But I did continue to wear the T-Shirt. I was very drawn to it. If someone passed me by and made a comment or gesture to suggest they too were a Pedro supporter, I would calmly acknowledge it, making it seem like I new exactly what they were on about. I actually felt better for it. The thought did cross my mind at one stage that maybe none of us in this Pedro T-Shirt society really new what this thing was about? Thus making us all a bunch of people just not really knowing... but keeping the faith by wearing the shirt... Were we all waiting for a moment when the government would be overthrown by Pedro and when it happened would we be called to arms and asked to cast our cultish votes for him? Well... Errr 'no' as it worked out. It was nothing like that at all really. The day finally dawned when everything was revealed... It all started (and this is the second phenomena now) when my Sister popped round with a DVD. We often get together as a family on a Friday night. It's otherwise know as 'Curry Night' and usually includes watching a film too, I'll set the scene. We had all just polished of a fantastic and very tasty Rogan Josh, cooked by my Dad and were all settling into the sofa with a cuppa. On went the DVD. The film was called... Napoleon Dynamite... Nothing has ever been the same since that fateful day. Straight after watching it, all I wanted to do was go out into the street (Of course firstly having shaved my hair off, due to feeling too hot) hands in the air, shouting out to the world "I get It... finally I get it!" If you haven't seen the film then I recommend you do. Then you'll get it too... well maybe... I'm still not actually sure if I 'really' do...

Well there we go. So now as tradition would have it. Here is the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum: The name 'Napoleon Dynamite' was used previously to the film being made by which musician? And as we are giving clues this week : It was used on their Album made in '1986'... Now that is a sticky tricky one...

P.S. The second phenomena was of course the Rogan Josh!