Archive for the ‘Thompson Twins’ Category

2015 – THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS

January 8, 2015

Apologies for the crazy length of time since the last blog but been away a lot organising various projects for 2015. More on that later …

Kept in touch via the inescapable Twitter @andieairfix
with #MoodOfTheDay and #AirfixArchives. Twitter feed and follow …
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 First … The Holidays. I hope you all had a wonderful time …

Jesus all about meSecondly … I’d like to thank everyone who had The Inclination and The Taste to buy Airfix Editions over the holiday period.

Thank You all.

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Some Prints and Editions are still available of course …
METALLICA, BOWIE, MADONNA, ROLLING STONES, DEF LEPPARD, LED ZEPPELIN, JIMI HENDRIX and more. Go on … you know you want to … andieairfix.com

To welcome you into 2015, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank my followers on Twitter and those loyal to my blog with a quote I love from the wonderfully anarchic and irreverent world of one of America’s greatest novelists and comic writers.

“HELLO BABIES. WELCOME TO THE EARTH.
IT’S HOT IN THE SUMMER
AND COLD IN THE WINTER.
IT’S ROUND AND WET AND CROWDED …

AT THE OUTSIDE, BABIES, YOU’VE GOT
ABOUT A HUNDRED YEARS HERE.
THERE’S ONLY ONE RULE
THAT I KNOW OF, BABIES
– GOD DAMN IT,
YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIND.”

More quotes at KURT VONNEGUT

A Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and Peaceful New Year to You from Andie Airfix at

Satori peace logo

 

I will leave you with an image commenting on the tragedy in Paris yesterday. It is poignant, wonderfully direct and implies hope and defiance in equal measure. Brilliant.

banksy pencil

 

More very soon on Plans for 2015 … including taking a one-man show to Japan (and maybe more places!)
Finally on the road to publishing a novel
‘ I N V A G E N T S ‘

and a design book entitled – yes you guessed it
‘B*B G#LD*F STOLE MY SUNGLASSES’

Later and soon,
As ever
&ie

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DOO DOO-DOO DOO-DOO DOO-DOO-DOO

May 19, 2014

What an extraordinary evening it was.

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Thank you – all who were involved with my ‘gig’ at the ‘Moulin Rouge’ Spiegeltent as part of the Brighton Fringe – particularly Richard, Jo, Mandy and the guest keyboard player, Richard Clark-Monks. A very special thanks to Adrian and all those at the Tent who made the performance happen and run so smoothly.

Early on in my chat I was talking about Holly Woodlawn – the Warhol Superstar …

holly woodlawn landscape

 

… and major player as part of  the Warhol Factory in New York.
Lou Reed immortalised Holly …

Holly came from Miami, F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She says, “Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side”
He said, “Hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

Halfway through my stories of spending 3 weeks with Holly in London,
(see Blog ’50: LOU REED – ‘Life-Changer’ for details!)
someone unexpectedly walked towards the stage. I did a real double-take. It was the legend HERBIE FLOWERS. Herbie Flowers was a founding member of the group BLUE MINK, featured in a mid-1970s line-up of T-REX and later played bass with many superstars including David Bowie and Paul McCartney. I had NO idea he would be appearing and I sat down on the stage and listened to his wonderful story about how the classic bass line was created in the studio with LOU REED. Watching him play his bass to explain how the riff developed was one of those moments of history for me

Thank You Herbie Flowers – you made my day/week/year …

Airfix and Flowers

The talks ‘Graphic Design as an Extreme Sport‘ will continue and who will show up next time I wonder?
Who knows? – not me – not yet.

Make sure you check out the rest of the blog for stories of working with ‘Megastars’!

Enjoy
&ie

 

 

Rock Gods and Spoilt Brats at the infamous Spiegeltent in Brighton

April 29, 2014

Hello All,

Preparations are now well under way for fun, drinking and debauchery at the ….

spiegeltent_logo

On Friday 16th May 2014 from 6-7 pm …

… I’m very excited and honoured to be asked to talk at the famous ‘Moulin Rouge’ Spiegeltent as part of Brighton Fringe.  After the country’s largest music festival ‘The Great Escape‘, I shall be chatting about how iconic designs are created for legendary music stars in the utterly insane world of Pop Music and Rock’n’Roll, and telling stories of what it’s like to work with music’s unpredictable ‘megastars’ …

Starting Out • ‘PYROMANIA‘ and 9/11 • Dealing with ‘difficult’ clients • Creating ‘HYSTERIA‘ • PETE BURNS tells a few home truths to Sony • Pre-computer Techniques • “You’ll never work in the music industry again” • Finding allies in business • With METALLICA honesty always wins • Buttock-clenching embarrassment at opening night of ROLLING STONES tour • Joys of Typography • Working at Clarence House • Get out and about • Designers ultimate nightmare • The pressures working on LIVE AID and LIVE 8 • Axl Rose flips out • Fans and Parties • Lessons from PAUL McCARTNEY • The wonderful Victor • Challenges from LED ZEPPELIN and much more.

The venue is hardly your average tent  …

moulin rouge outsidemoulin-rouge01

… but this extravagant and colourful venue was erected in less than 5 hours !!!  The original Spiegeltents were the ‘domain of night-owls, heartbreakers and dream-chasers’. They were legendary and still are.

Don’t miss out.
Book your tickets now at brighton fringe website
or Box Office on 01273 917272

 

SPIEGEL INFOside 100

 

GUITAR: Metallica, Zeppelin, AC/DC, Def Leppard, DoA, Live8, Stones. NOW on eBay

June 24, 2013

On EBAY until 10am Monday July 1st 2013 … start bidding!

http://tinyurl.com/ph8jvhb

guitar graph and photo 72

Is it a Bird? Is it a Guitar? Is it Art? Does it Play?

Well – three of those certainly. (I don’t think it flies – yet.) Depends who buys it. I could think of a few people who could help it on its way.

I created this guitar (with more than a little technical help from Zoli) as part of the AIRFIX LOUNGE exhibition at the Brighton Fringe this year. It celebrates many of the artists I have worked with over the years including METALLICA, LED ZEPPELIN, DEF LEPPARD, AC/DC, THOMPSON TWINS, DEAD OR ALIVE & PAUL McCARTNEY.

The Hutchins limited edition (of 250) guitar is a replica of the famous ‘teardrop’ guitar played by Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones. The edition was a sell-out apart from a few retained by Hutchins GuitarsThis is one of them – edition number o99. It was kindly donated by Gary Hutchins – to help support and promote the launch of the ambitious AIRFIX LOUNGE project.

The guitar has escaped to EBAY to help further the expansion of the AIRFIX LOUNGE

The LOUNGE was a huge success (much more on that in another blog soon) and there were so many comments received from the US, via various social media, asking if the exhibition and talks would transfer to America.

In answer to those exhuberantly supportive fans – I’m happy to announce that talks ARE in progress right now to take the AIRFIX LOUNGE to a major US city. Stay tuned.

Here’s the Beast in more detail – the design perfectly replicated on the body of the guitar

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guitar x1 flat 72

Full LOUNGE guitar

So … hang it on your wall,
play it,
fly it,
love it
and also help us get the show further down the road as the AIRFIX LOUNGE expands and begins to tour – bringing a great rock-art show to those fans who have been so positive about the project so far.

More techy details and specs on EBAY.
http://tinyurl.com/ph8jvhb

The Beast could be yours. Catch it before it escapes again
Best of luck
&ie

FREE EXHIBITION – METALLICA and MORE

May 16, 2013

For those of you heading to Brighton for The Great Escape

… Visit the AIRFIX LOUNGE at BRIGHTON FRINGE
(open 10-6pm Friday17/Saturday18/Sunday19 May) …

SPACE@CREATE, New England House, York Hill, BN1 4GH. (Fringe Venue 19)

to see original Metallica artwork … LIVE SHIT, GARAGE INC, LOAD/RE-LOAD and my tribute ‘painting’.

met x 5jpg

This 6 foot wide 5-panel multi-media piece, dedicated to Cliff Burton, comprises of photos, muslin, metal wires and staples.

Other work includes …

live shit

original drawings for Scary Guy …

scary 1

Metallica logos for LOAD & RE-LOAD project …

and the 2 editions Lars Ulrich of Metallica called ‘Awesome!’

2 editions

GET ON DOWN …

Details of Exhibition at andieairfix.com

CHECK IT OUT.

Enjoy the weekend in this fantastic town

&ie

9. THOMPSON TWINS – Part Two

October 29, 2009

Working in the music industry in the 80’s guaranteed strange and surreal experiences time and time again. One of the first with the THOMPSON TWINS was visiting their squat in south London for a party. We arrived and there were a dozen fans camped in the garden, trying to catch a glimpse of their newly-acquired idols. There were no curtains on the windows and I remember being advised to crawl on the floor underneath windows to avoid being spotted by the youthful, exhuberant poparazzi outside. Inside – as the party got more and more out of hand – everyone forgot to duck under the windows and the evening was puncuated constantly by loud cheers from the enthusiastic encampment. What made it funnier was that Alannah had insisted we all raid her dressing room to find fancy dress. I don’t suppose the fans ever knew whether they’d seen Tom, Joe and Alannah or not – unable to distinguish them from the endless stream of weirdos strutting, stumbling and lurching across the brightly lit windows wearing pompadour wigs, masks, hats and strange outfits. They cheered enthusiastically anyway whoever and whatever they saw. Bless.

The period working for TT was an extremely creative one in the music industry. Vinyl was still the predominant format (although CD’s were beginning to appear) and 7 & 12 inch singles were a crucial ‘tool’ to promote albums. Pete Winkelman at Arista  recognised the value of collectible limited edition singles and both of us loved the Picture Disc format. The No 1 album –‘Into The Gap’ – was released in 1984 and I came up with a design for a single release that Pete loved. He wasn’t convinced it would work but I’d done my homework and talked to the manufacturers.

Again, I can’t stress how important it is to communicate with manufacturers and suppliers. Including them in the design process often inspires them to stretch the production process to its limits – often finding solutions a designer would never think of and also offer new processes which could be used for future projects. Also great ideas in design isolation often don’t translate in practical terms. Better to get constructive advice than piss people off with prima donna demands! In order to avoid disappointment at the final result – pre-empt possible problems. (Back to Christopher Hunter again – ‘… always imagine what could go wrong. It usually does – so prepare …’)

‘Take Me Up’ was the single from ‘Into The Gap’ and my idea was to create 3 picture discs which ‘jigsawed’ together.  Maps and map symbols were the theme for the album and as soon as I realised a world map neatly fitted into the right proportions required to produce the 3 interlocking discs the design process began …

blog tt 3 disc

I’ve had the three discs framed (coming up for auction in December at Bonham’s) and most people don’t believe, until close inspection, that they are PLAYABLE 12 inch vinyl discs.

It’s also important to note here that although the logo was essentially the same as ‘Sidekick’ the 3 colours were changed for ‘Into The Gap’ and there were new configurations of the different elements. Ideally logos should be open to development – especially with bands who are constantly developing musically. It also helps distinguish between different projects …

4 twins

Then came ‘Here’s To Future Days’. I  still love the cover photo for this – the child is very disturbing – and once again the logo was adapted. It had to be more low-key‘ so it didn’t detract from the photo by Rebecca Blake.

Future days

Excuse me.’ said the aggressive customs officer at Heathrow. ‘What’s in your bag?’

I took a deep breath, knowing my answer was guaranteed to make him think I was taking the piss bigtime. ‘ A crown, a sceptre, and a large stuffed fish.’ I said, deadpan. He stiffened. ‘Empty it,’ he said, barely containing his anger.
I emptied the contents of the bag onto the table – a crown, a sceptre, and a large stuffed fish. It was one of those glorious moments when I thought ‘I love my job,’ and I smiled like a demented conjurer who’d performed a trick to wind him up. The guy, already prepared for a serious confrontation, literally froze. His brain refused to engage with what his eyes were telling him. He looked at me then at the table and then back at me. His eyes and brain still hadn’t connected. ‘YOU!’ he shouted, the volume of his voice taking him by surprise, ‘Yes, you Madam – I want you to empty your bag. NOW.’ The poor woman behind me, the object of the guy’s frustration, was clearly shocked by his aggression but put her bag down next to mine. That was it. He utterly blanked me. I collected my stuff and rejoined the photographic crew I’d travelled with back from a photo-shoot with the THOMPSON TWINS in Paris. Happy Days.

There will have to be more Twins stories but for now we move on.

My partner Michael decided in 82 to pursue his passion for painting. At first I was nervous of going it alone but friends insisted it was just what I needed. They were right and the transition was fairly seamless. It is obvious, I know, but I was given the opportunity to develop an individual approach as a person and a designer.

I met Peter Mensch who fronted one of the biggest management companies in the US – Q Prime.  Whilst working on artwork for DEF LEPPARD (SEVERAL chapters on them soon)  I was asked to work with another band who could not have been more different. It was 1985 and the comparatively new ‘disco scene’ was creating more nightclubs than had ever been seen in London. It’s hard to imagine but there were very few large dance venues before then. I went to a live gig which was being recorded for radio. I’d heard DEAD OR ALIVE but I wasn’t prepared for the powerful vocals and hi-energy performance of the charismatic lead singer who challenged every definition of masculinity. I’d been invited to work with PETE BURNS and couldn’t wait to meet him.

WHAT a voice!

8. THOMPSON TWINS – Part One

October 22, 2009

In 1985, late at night in a hotel room after several glasses of wine, two very strong-willed women were debating whether it was possible to break into the British Broadcasting Corporation to steal the Master Tape of a television performance broadcast earlier that evening.

One of them eventually persuaded the other it might not be such a good idea to storm the BBC.  On the extremely popular ‘Wogan Show’ the nation watched  GRACE JONES perform the wonderful ‘Slave To The Rhythm’. Miss Jones believed she’d made a huge mistake in her choice of wardrobe and was determined to retrieve the tape to destroy it. In fact, watching the clip now, it’s a brilliant performance and perfectly represents how fabulously extreme she could be. Make sure you watch the ‘reveal’ at the end of the performance – she looks Amazing!

Thank God she didn’t but I often wonder what would have happened if she’d actually attempted to retrieve the tape. The mind boggles. She may have got away with it – simply by scaring to death anyone who tried to stop her. She was FIERCE!!

Her sometimes co-conspirator (and potential sister-in-crime that night) who eventually persuaded Grace not to raid the BBC, was ALANNAH CURRIE of the THOMPSON TWINS. Like Grace Jones, Alannah’s reputation for being ‘difficult’ preceded her. When I first met Alannah, to work on the TT ‘Quick Step and Sidekick’ album it was immediately obvious why she had such a reputation. She was not ‘difficult’ at all. Basically as an intelligent woman in the music industry, predominantly populated with egotistical men who yearned to be guitar heroes, she didn’t take shit from any of them. She knew what she wanted, was clear what the band needed and refused to be derailed or intimidated by patronising individuals who thought they knew better than she did. The ‘difficulty’ was the men felt threatened by someone very much in control of a career she could skillfully orchestrate better than they could. What made it worse was that Alannah didn’t give a fuck what those people thought of her – and they knew it – which only compounded their view that she was arrogant and intractable. Like she cared?

Back to Grace for a second. Today Alannah told me she ‘was hugely in awe of her – she was lifeline of female trouble in a sea of boring white males.’ Perfect.

Fortunately there was someone who appreciated Alannah’s candour and vision and was equally determined to ensure THOMPSON TWINS were successful.

As art director and promotional guru at Arista records, PETE WINKELMAN’s enthusiasm for projects was incomparable. If he had belief in an artist he gave it 100%. He recognised how huge THOMPSON TWINS could be and gave them the undivided attention they deserved. There was a problem though. Everything submitted by designers for ‘Quick Step’ had failed to impress the band. They needed a strong and unique graphic identity and nothing had come close.

Pete Winkelman called me, we had a meeting and hit it off immediately. I recognised his genuine commitment to find something the band were totally happy with at all costs. He recognised my approach to design was not restricted by formal training – therefore I was capable of finding a left-field solution to the problem. Our connection was undoubtedly enthusiasm for what we did and neither of us relied on precedents to influence our approach to a project. (It has always astonished me – and it’s happened on several occasions – when I have been given a brief to replicate a particular graphic style which has proved successful. Why would anyone want to present themselves as a clone of someone else in a market that thrives on originality?)

Anyway … Pete showed me all the photographs, taken for the album sleeve, which had been rejected by the band. There was nothing good enough and certainly little that was dynamic. I took half an hour out (always a good idea), sat in a cafe and tried to figure out what was missing – then I had an idea. I sped back to Arista and asked to see the photographs that had been rejected by the photographer. I’d realised that the photographer may have dismissed photographs for the wrong reasons. An album sleeve is not just about a photograph – it’s about a combination of elements – something I’d learnt on SECTOR 27. I did find what I was looking for in the reject pile. I could see why the picture had been rejected – the band were weirdly off-centre and Joe had been cropped in half on the left of the shot. However, it was a great picture and I could see that the addition of graphics would make it work. It also inspired the design for the logo … one which I still think suited the band perfectly.

tt logo

Creating the logo, using the same colours as the basis for the graphics and using the border so Joe’s image wasn’t falling off the edge of the sleeve, everything fell naturally into place. The quirkiness of the photo was retained and the ‘empty spaces’ of the original image were no longer empty. The end result looks effortless and balanced.

Quick Step

DESIGN OBSERVATION 2

Check out photos that have been rejected. Your criteria for what can make a photo work are different to a photographers. Alternatively – work WITH the photographer before a shoot.

to be continued ….

Essential viewing: THOMPSON TWINS

‘Love On Your Side.’ WATCH HERE

‘We Are Detective.’ WATCH HERE

‘You Take Me Up.’ WATCH HERE

Essential viewing: GRACE JONES

‘Private Life’. WATCH HERE

‘La Vie En Rose’. WATCH HERE

‘Pull Up To The Bumper’. WATCH HERE

‘Walking In The Rain’. WATCH HERE

For those of you who haven’t seen an earlier feisty and furious Grace on ‘The Russell Harty Show’ when she threw a wobbly and attacked Harty with her handbag – WATCH HERE.