Commercial Break



I’m used to the more subtle and arty suggestiveness of later Flake ads so I was shocked — shocked! — at how blatant this 1960s one is. The lascivious look in her eyes, the way she pulls back the wrapper, and then the exploding waterfall! They might as well have changed the product name to Cadbury’s Cock.

Despite what it says in the caption at the top this ad wasn’t banned, and neither was this one which is pretty hardcore chocolate porn too. The whole country went to the dogs in the 60s didn’t it?

Something for the Weekend



This popped up on one of my falls down the YouTube rabbit hole and made me realize it must be years since the lovely Clare made an appearance on this blog. This is my favourite single of theirs and the video is almost too delightful for words.

A New Career in a New Town


I doubt if the designers of this poster intended to make “new town” Milton Keynes look like some post-apocalyptic dystopia populated by creepy zombie families living in concrete bunkers, but that’s what they ended up with.

No, I’m not going to post that Style Council record because I don’t like it much. This 1987 club classic (that they covered), however, is brilliant.

Download: Promised Land (Original 12″ Mix) – Joe Smooth (mp3)

I Can Do It In the Mix


I’ve just put together — sorry, curated – a music mix for the excellent Cooking Up A Quiet Storm site. Entitled A Gentle Simmer it’s a spacey trip along the 1970s pop radio dial with stops at ELO, Hall & Oates, Jean-Michel Jarre, Colin Blunstone, and Wings. Cheesy to some, a blissful dreamscape of Angel Delight and instant mash to me.

Listen to it (and see the full tracklisting) here or through the handy little widget below. Don’t forget to check out some of the other excellent mixes at Quiet Storm too, it’s all fab.

New Monday



I know absolutely nothing about CuckooLander except that she’s British and this is her first record. Pretty damn great it is too, though I am naturally disposed to like records with titles like Dum Dee Diddy Dumb anyway.

Something for the Weekend



Always loved this record and hearing her actually sing it live on TOTP makes me love it even more. And Tony was right too, this was a hit.

Sleeve Talk


If the sounds on Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk threw a lot of people for a loop, the front cover was also a radical departure from Rumours. Gone was the ornate type and hippie-mystic imagery of the previous album, jettisoned in favour of a sharper-edged and more modern style.

Instead of a picture of the band there was this curious snapshot of a little dog snapping at someones ankles which could represent the often spiky tone of the record and the feral nature of some of its rhythms, or maybe the dog was meant to be a coked-up Lyndsey Buckingham attacking their audience expectations. I’ve no idea, but it’s a way more evocative image than a picture of an elephant would have been.

The cover’s speckled background, abstract shapes of colour, spaced-out type, and randomly-scattered layout was inspired by a style known as California New Wave, a very American version of Swiss New Wave design which developed in late 1970s and was most well-known in the work of April Greiman (below) and the cult arts magazine Wet.


Very cutting edge at the time, California New Wave was like the anarchic, torn-paper aesthetic of Punk design transferred to a warmer climate where the sky was bluer and the colours brighter — though the colour palette of Tusk was rather more earth-toned, a reflection of the album’s ethnic influences.

The sleeve was designed by the firm of Vigon/Nahas/Vigon (who also did the previous two Mac albums) and is quite the production as befits what was, at the time, the most expensive rock album ever recorded. Instead of a gatefold the two records were housed in double inner sleeves which made the process of taking them out to play as much of an anticipated event as its release was – nearly three years since their previous album! Normal now, but an eternity back then.


The four sleeves were illustrated with the dense, African-inspired collages of Peter Beard and more arty photography which added to the feeling that this was a record made in some abstract, druggy dream by a band who were a bit fractured.


That surreal group photo is very reminscent of this famous poster April Greiman designed for CalArts the year before in 1978 (see the whole thing here.)


The signature visual elements of California New Wave would eventually become very identified as 1980s design, and Fleetwood Mac would be one of the few 1970s AoR bands to make a successful transition to the new decade, unlike their peers The Eagles who put out an album the same year with a drab, funereal cover. Subsequent Mac sleeves were far more conventional and they were never as experimental again, but in 1979 they (or at least Lyndsey Buckingham) were looking forward musically and visually.

Download: Walk a Thin Line – Fleetwood Mac (mp3)

Tea Among The Ruins


Why Hitler lost: You can bomb our houses, destroy our streets, but you’ll never take away our tea.

Download: Who Do You Think You’re Kidding, Mr Hitler? – Bud Flanagan (mp3)

Buy

Tags

What’s it all about?

The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com

For Hire

Follow me!

Reading

Listening