Friday, 31 May 2013

It's T-Shirt Friday 13 ! (Unlucky For Some...)

Would You Like A Chocolate Progressive Biscuit With That... ?
Banana! ...No I'm not just shouting out the names of various fruit to pass the time... Although having said that, it does sound like a good way to fill the odd hour or two! Banana happens to be the name of the dog that was owned by Brian Wilson that can be heard barking at the end of 'Pet Sounds' - 'Caroline No' in fact actually Brian owned two dogs Banana and Louie, Banana was a Beagle and Louie was a dark brown Weimaraner... Max was a name that was bounded about, if you thought it was Max, then perhaps a suggestion could be that you have a 'Banana' Split with lots of extra ice cream and sprinkles to celebrate, this might help you to remember what the answer is. If you already knew that the answer was Banana though, what about having a nice slice of Apple Pie with a side of whatever you wish... cream, Ice cream or perhaps even Crème Fraiche, also to help you celebrate! But to help you forget what the answer is as well...

Today's T-Shirt is available directly from: 

Prog Rock... what do you make of it? Are you a fan... It's really popular at the moment and has had a huge upsurge. Ok, I'm about to make a life changing announcement, I'm coming out of the closet and putting on my pointed wizards hat, robe and gold prog shaped cape, adding perhaps a rainbow coloured kipper tie around my high collar lace ruff shirt... I am a huge progressive rock fan! 
It all began many, many years ago... Hale End Library in Highams Park (Just between Chingford and South Woodford) was our local point for borrowing books and more importantly they also happened to have a very well stocked music section, many great albums were borrowed from that library. MP3 was a thing of the future, even CD's were only just coming in. Hale End was a place that could offer a huge spectrum of astounding sounds, but it was all on cassette tape! The happy memory of borrowing tapes, having the date stamped on the specially prepared sticker that fitted on the cassette case, taking the tape away and excitedly putting it into my Sanyo Walkman, still lingers on even now! One fateful day, just before a journey and a weeks stay with our Auntie Edna and Uncle John in Bristol, both my sister and myself took a trip to the library, after a bit of a hunt I came across something I'd not seen before, an album called 'Talk' by a band called 'Yes'. I saved listening to it until our Mum and Dad drove us to our Uncle and Aunt's and on the first click of the walkman play button the album sucked my brain through a strange compositional worm hole and into a boundary breaking musical universe! Then when it had reached it's full eclipse, pushed it back through an extended variation of interstellar themes causing my mind to lose all sense of time... (Of course the music had no sense of time either, with tracks like 'Endless Dream' extending over 3 movements and at nearly 16 minutes!) It was a musical epiphany, it was prog and I couldn't get enough of it! Every night, while staying in Bristol I would listen to the album until the early morning hours, taking in all the musical nuances. From that day onwards I was hooked by both Yes and Prog Rock....

Appropriately (in a way) today's T-Shirt has had a very unlucky existence....

How do you tell the world that you love Progressive Rock? Make a prog mix tape? collect all your favourites together on one cassette tape, Hawkwind, Pallas, Eloy & Rick Wakeman... do the cover artwork and logo design in a style akin to Patrick Woodroffe and send it too whispering Bob Harris on The Old Grey Whistle Test? Apply for a spot on the 4th Plinth, prepare a speech on the finer details of Atomic Rooster, King Crimson, Le Orme, Gentle Giant and Rush and tell the whole of London... Social media? You could put a message on twitter and openly admit that you have spent many years locked in a room listening too 'Focus' and 'Nektar' or you could just send off for the below t-shirt and wear it proudly! Which is what I did... It's a fans tee, with a prog message that can be read from the moon! 
The package arrived with the t-shirt in, no one else was in our flat, so I put the tee on and spent the day in it, getting accustomed to the shirt, as you do, and waited to surprise Miss Russell... She arrived home. As Miss Russell walked through the door I hid and then at the crucial moment, I jumped out in my newly purchased purple prog wonder! "Surprise!" I exclaimed and she certainly was surprised! The T-shirt has taken the mantel of being the least liked tee in our flat! So much so that it has only made it out into the daylight twice since it's been in the collection! It's stature now is one of being a flat bound only t-shirt, due some what to it's slightly over the top nature, just like progressive rock itself it's not everyones cuppa... But like Emily in Bagpuss I still love it, It's great to sit around the flat with the T-shirt on, think back to those early Hale End days, drink a cup of tea and listen to prog... 

... and now and again wear a gold cape too!

Well... it's that time again and this week the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum is: who or what is King Crimson a synonym for?

Friday, 24 May 2013

It's T-Shirt Friday 12 !

..."Lost And Found, You Still Remain there"
So last weeks T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum was: What is Fat Face's company motto? The answer is: 'Life Is Out There' and it's true! A suggestion might be to watch 'The Sky At Night', 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind' or 'E.T.' for reassurance, or you could simply set up a telescope and check out Mars... Better still (as it's Friday and the weekend is coming) get out there and celebrate! Maybe with a nice 'fat' ice cream and if your in the mood a nice 'fat' chocolate flake too... Although you might like to have a read of this weeks T-Shirt Friday first before doing any of that...

Today's T-Shirt was originally from a company called Chaser but sadly the company doesn't seem to be around any more. You can get the tee from here though:
and Chaser seem to distribute through them still.

Sometimes everything all happens at once... am sure you have been there too? In this case though it was all good... Eagle Rock Entertainment Ltd, sometime ago now, brought out a documentary on The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson called 'Endless Harmony' it was designed by my great colleague, Creative Director Nikkie Amouyal. The documentary found itself in the DVD player 'endlessly' and what became apparent and what I hadn't really taken into account before, was just how influential Brian Wilson was and still is...
The normal music chats that my great friend Dave and myself have tend to cover a wide spectrum of bands, musicians, albums and other music related subjects all in one go. In 2010 we were out one night as usual at our local haunt 'The Royal Forest' in North Chingford when quite by chance Dave mentioned Brian Wilson, we chatted for quite a while, long into the night about our mutual interest in him and The Beach Boys. Dave told me of a book he had been reading, of which I later found a copy at the Book Warehouse in Waterloo, below where I was on a two day InDesign training course. The book is 'Wouldn't It Be Nice: My Own Story - Brain Wilson with Todd Gold' Both Dave and me believe that it's difficult to say if the book really does represent Brian's 'real' own story, but it is a very good and interesting read. Along with all of this happening Brian Wilson announced a new album and tour dates for the following year. We straight away booked up tickets and to our surprise suddenly realised that everyone is a closet Brian Wilson fan! We had nearly a year to wait from when we had booked and I began to think that it would be nice to have a t-shirt to wear for the very special occasion. We had missed the Pet Sounds 40th Anniversary gig's but the superb t-shirts (although limited) were still available in the US. I put the order in around 6 months before the gig and it has to be said for about three months forgot all about it... nothing arrived... (The gig was September 2011 it was now July 2011) Chaser were brilliant, a great company to deal with, they did everything they could, but because the tee was coming from the US, it had got caught up at customs and that was the hold up... finally the day was upon us... Brain Wilson at The Royal Festival Hall Saturday 17th September 2011! Unfortunately though the T-Shirt was not upon us! It was still mislaid somewhere between Compton CA USA and London UK. Brian Wilson didn't mislay anything though, his voice was in fine form and the first half consisted of his very fine re-imagining of Gershwin from the album of the same name. As for the second half... well he rocked our socks off and blasted us with sound rays of sunshine, surf and good vibrations! There were so many of us that we took up a whole aisle of seats and we partied with Brian and his band all night! Such great memories that will never be forgotten. I ended up wearing a rather fetching and what now seems appropriate, fantastic shirt that my Sister and Brother-In-Law got for me, which you can also see below... 

But what of the long lost T-Shirt I hear you ask?... well, it did eventually turn up, about two weeks after the gig... it didn't fit... but it was lost and then found... that is more important!

Well... it's that time again and this week the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum is Beach Boy Themed, here goes: What was the name of the dog that Brian Wilson owned, that can be heard barking at the end of Pet Sounds?

More on Brian Wilson?:
The Beach Boys?:

The Forever Delayed Pet Sounds T-Shirt!
The shirt worn on the night, Brian Wilson,
Royal Festival Hall, September 17th 2011

Friday, 17 May 2013

It's T-Shirt Friday 11 !

The Camera Never Lies!
It's Friday! which can only mean... T-Shirt Friday is here again!!! How did you all do with last weeks tenth T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum? Did you all rush off and have a look at Harriet Russell's blog for the answer? Or were you at the 'Grafici Mobili Poster' exhibition? If you were there, then you may well have first hand information... the answer is: George Nelson, he was a very interesting designer:
If you did get George Nelson, then you may consider celebrating by putting on a pair of stripy socks and going to the office / work in them? Did you dig deeper though? Are you in possession of further information about George Nelson and the Ball Clock? If so you may well know that it is quite likely that Irving Harper was the real designer and George Nelson Associates, was the overall name used for retail. Well done for digging deeper, you may well be thinking about wearing a matching stripy top to go with your socks and taking the day off from work! If you didn't get it right or couldn't really be bothered to have a go, don't worry, why not try this weeks T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum instead? It's just a couple of paragraphs away, no subscriptions or catches and it's totally free to enter!

Today's T-Shirt is from:

Sometimes, try as you might, things just don't stay like new for long...

Padstow otherwise known as 'Padstein' in Cornwall has loads to offer... it has sun, sea and Rick Stein! And so by default a huge amount of fish as well! Rick Stein owns a great deal of property in the area and there are a good couple of his restaurants the flick of a fin away from each other! We were very lucky to spend a  wonderful week in Cornwall with our great friends Archi and Asi. One day within that week we found ourselves in 'Padstein' having pre-booked to go to one of the afore mentioned restaurants. Being a little early for our meal we wandered around the shops which all seem to have some kind of link to Rick Stein, there is even a patisserie which to my surprise wasn't selling Thai fish cakes but actual real cakes! It's a weird experience going there, it's like Rick Stein take over! Which is what made Fat Face stand out... well... like a fat thumb! As we were looking around in the shop Miss Russell spotted the below tee, which she really liked, after a bit more of a look round it was time for us to get to the restaurant. As we left Miss Russell presented me with a Fat Face carrier bag, she had very kindly bought me the Camera T-Shirt. Amazing! (Incidentally we did have a lovely meal in Rick Stein's restaurant, Miss Russell and myself managed to make a carrot last between us for ages, to the amazement of our friends (who were in despair at it all...) as we diced it into smaller and smaller pieces... 
Just the very next day, we were headed to St Ives on a train, thoughts of having Fish 'n' Chips for lunch already being spoken of. I'd decided to put on Miss Russell's lovely gift, the newly acquired camera t-shirt. We had a really nice morning walking around the very picturesque harbour and then... The fish and chip craving got the better of us all, we each tucked in to a slightly over sized cod and chips lunch, lovely stuff! - As customary I smothered mine in tomato ketchup, much to my own detriment... It was as if all time froze, as the blob of delicious tomato flavoured condiment that had been splodged on my biggest chip, narrowly missed my mouth and hurtled it's way down my front to explode over and then smother the one day old camera t-shirt with all of it's mealtime ketchup goodness! The t-shirt absorbed the liquid like ink to blotting paper, forming a new mini red sea on the t-shirts surface. The stain has never fully washed out of the shirt, it's ingrained in there like the great memories that we have of our time in Cornwall, our great friends and the sachet of tomato sauce that I firstly dowsed my fish 'n' chips and then dowsed myself in.

Around February 2011 'that' letter arrived and fell on the hall way mat. I'd been called for jury service. The days passed by rather quickly and suddenly it was the eve of going to court. I'd not done much washing that week and hadn't really considered what I should wear, eyes turned to the pile of t-shirts on the side, most of the washed ones were film or music based which seemed highly inappropriate to wear to court. Within the pile though was the now faded tomatoey stained camera tee. Relief! A t-shirt that might be jury service worthy. It was only later that evening that I started to think that the shirt might not be so appropriate because of it's nature, they might think that I might be spying or that the cameras might be suggestive of me photographing things that I shouldn't in the court house? Would they think that I could actually take pictures with the printed cameras? I convinced myself of the security breach that wearing the Camera T-Shirt might lead too. I told Miss Russell of my fears to which she laughed herself silly... I opted for a patterned shirt.

It's time for this weeks T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum! Which is: What is Fat Face's company motto?

The Stain Of Doom!
(In 'Padstow' otherwise known as 'Padstein' or in this case 'PadStain!')

Friday, 10 May 2013

T-Shirt Friday is 10 !

'Owl's About This T-Shirt!
Well here we are in the tenth week of T-Shirt Friday! And there are many, many, t-shirts still to come... Before we go on to this weeks very special Tenth Week Tee, there is the small but important matter of last weeks, T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum!!!! which was: CCR recorded a cover version of 'I Put A Spell On You' but who wrote and recorded it originally? If you thought it was 'Nina Simone', then you were very nearly right as her version famously recorded in 1965 is a very definitive version. You might like to celebrate - if your 'feeling good', with a lemon drizzle doughnut! If you thought it was 'Arthur Brown', then once again your nearly right, as 'The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown's' 1968 version perhaps comes the closest to the original record, you might like to celebrate with a cream finger doughnut! If You thought it was either 'Bryan Ferry's' 1993, or 'Marylin Manson's' 1995 attempts then maybe a Yum Yum? In fact there are so many cover versions that it could have been anyone and doughnuts to match... However it was... 'Screamin' Jay Hawkins' in 1956! If you got it right then really there is no other doughnut to celebrate with other then a jam and custard one! Anyway it's now time for this weeks very special Tenth Week Tee and this one has filoplumes! It's T-Shirt Friday 10...!

Today's T-Shirt is from:

It all began as an editorial illustration job for Harriet Russell, the brief came in and she was asked to illustrate a piece about cycling at night and the safety precautions that should be taken. Harriet, as always, brought the whole piece to life in an imaginative, quirky, meaningful and thought provoking way. (If you haven't seen Harriet's work before then you have been missing out, you really must give it a look, there are links at the bottom of this post and you can see the original editorial piece for 'The Big Issue' too.) Although at the time she hadn't realised, It was in fact an editorial 'egg' that Harriet had been sitting on. It was only after a little incubation time, that it became apparent that like other eggs this editorial one might grow into a whole new creative idea...
With a flourescent banner and bike wheels for eyes 'Bike Owl' illustrates perfectly what cycling safely is all about and what could be more perfect then an Owl to promote it all. Harriet had created a whole new little character that was destined to fly away from the printed page and evolve into something new. It settled itself down in a nest of 100% organic cotton and so was born the 'Bike Owl' T-Shirt! Beautifully illustrated and designed by Harriet, initially for The Poundshop: Bike Owl has been very popular with both Children and Adults alike. It has really caught on with Cyclists too - our great friends Paul and Jenny both have one. It would make for a really good t-shirt to sell in cycle shops or on bike websites as it promotes safety in a fun way - although the tee is slightly modified from the original illustration, the under lying message is still very much in there. 
The Owl hasn't stopped there though... Harriet then decided to design tote bags, which can also be found within her shop. Bike Owl has transcended the editorial page and become something quite special with in her amazing portfolio of work.

Nearly two years ago now Harriet presented me with a small folded up white bundle, I checked to see if it wasn't a napkin, tea towel or a kitchen apron! But to my amazement it was none of those. It was my very own bike owl t-shirt! A lovely gift from Harriet and a fantastic surprise! I was very proud to add the little chap to my tee collection. Unfortunatley being on the slightly rotund side of the chocolate coin, I haven't been able to put it on as much as I would like, but it's a tee that helps with goals and aims, it's given me reason to loose some weight and enjoy wearing it even more for doing so!

As you'll see from looking at Harriet's work, her mind and imagination are boundless, I've seen her pluck the most incredible ideas out of what seems like thin air, of course it's not really thin air at all, it all comes out of her amazing brain, she is then able to take what she can imagine and put it down on the page in the most beautiful, skilled, illustrative way, that just enhances everything that she wants to communicate to the world.

Spread the 'Twit-A-Wooooooooo' of the Bike Owl!

Well it's that time again... It's the tenth T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum, which this week is:
Harriet Russell also illustrated and designed a poster for the 'Grafici Mobili Poster Exhibition'
her poster was based on the 'Ball Clock' but who designed the clock back in 1948?

More on Harriet Russell? -  have a look at her website:
Harriet also has a fantastic blog:

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Heading Into The Unknown

A New Look For Misaki!
It's not often that you get approached by an Alaskan Malamute puppy and asked to design her blog header for her, but believe it or not that is exactly what happened! 

'The Misadventures Of Misaki - The Musings Of An Alaskan Malamute Puppy', is an extremely well written and very funny blog! Everyone should have a look at it. The blog is written by Misaki herself (with perhaps a little help from her Mummy Dawn Rey) and follows the 'Mis'-Adventures of her daily life. It's always a brilliant read and will brighten up any ones day! Misaki approached me about working on some ideas for a new banner that she and Dawn had been thinking about. Although I have worked on web banners before this was my first foray into working on a blog banner. We collaborated right from the beginning as Misaki and Dawn already had some great concepts and ideas, they suggested the idea of Misaki growing up from pup to teenager - visually showing her journey through life... We then worked on the style and look, the decision was taken not to change the original colours as we felt that they were already very strong. We then began developing a new logo and then various banner layouts until Dawn and Misaki chose the one that they felt was right for the blog...

Do have a look at The Misadventures Of Misaki:

If you should need a blog or web banner designed or have any other projects in mind
why not contact me:

Music Listened to while working on The Misadventures Of Misaki:
The Mouths Of Madness by Orchid
Gorilla by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Blues + Power = Destiny by Pig Irön - Check Pig Irön out they are awesome! :
The Black Chord by Astra : Still brilliant!
Friends by The Beach Boys - The first Beach Boys album that Dennis Wilson significantly contributed too and the last for a while that Brian Wilson would feature predominantly on.

Friday, 3 May 2013

It's T-Shirt Friday 9 !

Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band!
Last weeks Floyd question was a bit tricky... did you get the answer right? Here goes, the answer to last weeks T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum is "One Minutes Too Long" or in Bulgarian "MNHYTa e MHOrO" (not sure if that is exactly right?) and it happens to be the oldest Bulgarian TV game too! Anyway hope your already celebrating? And if not why not? even if you got it wrong, it matters not, it's still Friday! Get out your tambourines, crack open a bottle of fine Bulgarian wine, maybe have a little Shopska Salata and top it all off with some Halva, Take a ride on the flyin' spoon, because here comes another T-Shirt Friday...

Today's T-Shirt was from an old friend 8-Ball. Unfortunately it doesn't appear to be available any more. Anyway here is their website :

Even if you don't think you know any of Creedence Clearwater Revival's songs... you probably do... for instance are you a Status Quo fan or know of them? 'Rockin' All Over The World' was a big hit for the Quo, but it wasn't written by them, although they have written and recorded many fine songs, it was actually written by John Fogerty (Technically not while he was in CCR but for all intents and purposes...) Are you a Tina Turner or Ike & Tina fan? 'Proud Mary' although was re-arranged by Soko Richardson in an amazing way and given perhaps a much more soulful edge by Tina and Ike, it was originally written again by John Fogerty. CCR's music nowadays has become synonymous with the Coen Brothers film 'The Big Lebowski' they are famously mentioned in the film and much of the soundtrack is made up of their music. Way before 'The Big Lebowski', the 1981 John Landis film ' An American Werewolf In London' uses CCR's 'Bad Moon Rising' to full effect in the transitional scene, when David finally becomes a werewolf. (Out of interest apparently Landis did try to get Warren Zevon's 'Werewolf's of London' as well, but failed to do so)
'American Werewolf In London' is one of those films, that like many others, we grew up watching and admiring. We would all go round to our great friend Paul's parents house on a Saturday night, cram ourselves into the front room, turn the lights off, have a few beers, in my case a bottle of Guinness in others a nice whiskey or the current alcopops of the time and watch the film. Often with a build up all night towards food, which would usually result in a late night break from the film, to order pizza, only to be told that the pizza place had run out of dough! - We would then continue, not quite with empty stomachs as Paul would always kindly rustle something up and we would continue on with the film, half falling asleep in the process... those were the days! 
My Dad, would often bring up ' American Werewolf In London' in film conversations that we would have and he always mentioned and still does 'Bad Moon Rising' I think it's very true to say that like most kids I was influenced by the music that my Mum and Dad like and still am in many ways. So just like 'American Werewolf In London' being a huge part of my growing up, so CCR's music was and is still. Both my great friends Paul, Dave and myself grew up on 'Fortunate Son', 'Down On The Corner', 'Run Through The Jungle' and 'Up Around The Bend' to name just a few of CCR's Classic songs. Who can forget their stunning version of 'Heard It Through The Grapevine' which I really feel out does the Marvin Gaye version on every level (Sorry, if you're a lover of the Marvin version, it's still great but CCR just give the track something else!) CCR were and still are a very special band, a band you can grow with and they will grow with you, they truly created bayou country music for the heart, spirit and soul!

Miss Russell often looks twice at the CCR shirt when I put it on... Not because it accentuates all of my rotund curves or that it's a t-shirt that brings out the swamp rock, love of catfish and the Mississippi in everyone that sees it. It's because she always sees elephants trunks in the logo. can you see them too? - they are there if you look close enough. It's actually very appropriate given the lyrics from CCR's 'Looking Out My Back Door' that adorn the top of this page. Many T-Shirts that I've owned have had to be retired from service due to them starting to fall apart, some after many years of excessive usage and some after only a very short time. (I had a Neil Young, Harvest T-Shirt that lasted just a year, but that is another story...)  The T-Shirt below is a bit like the Tee equivalent of an Elephant, a 'Tee-lephant' perhaps? It just keeps on going and is still very much enjoying it's old age. How old do you think it might be? can you guess? ...The shirt is actually over 12 years old! And yet there is hardly any sign of wear and tear I put it on regularly and it still looks like new! As if it were bought yesterday. To think that it's much, much older is mind blowing... Just like mythological elephants and the music that the band made, this CCR T-Shirt is also immortal!!!

Well it's that time again but before T-Shirt Friday folds and tucks itself back in the chest of drawers of endless apparel, here is the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum!!!! CCR recorded a cover version of 'I Put A Spell On You' but who wrote and recorded it originally? That should get you thinking...

More on CCR? Check this out:
& for info on John Fogerty: