Monthly Archives: May 2012

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This chair is testament to the fact that there is the construction of an Art & Design Degree Show by students going on around me at work, while I’m trying to get a mountain of assessing done.

University Campus Suffolk Degree Show, featuring work from BA (Hons): Computer Games Design, Dance, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Graphic Illustration, Interior Design and Photography courses.
Public view: 9 June–17 June
UCS, Arts Building, Ipswich, IP4 1QJ

More details and advert to follow.

Dear Apple,

On checking for recent releases this Tuesday, I found the link on iTunes’ Hip Hop page, from the rather large picture of the late Adam Yauch, goes to a page of Beastie Boys releases. The man isn’t even in his grave yet, and while I’m not really surprised by your complete lack of tact, I can’t help feeling somehow sullied by witnessing this callous act of greed.

Remembering Adam Yauch indeed, all the way to the bank.


Nigel Ball


Gold bikes have started appearing in Ipswich advertising a Bicycle Ball. To celebrate National Bike Week 2012, and as part of Switch Festival, the good people of Ipswich are being invited to take their bike as a partner to an evening of music and performance after a mass cycle ride through the town and along the quayside. It’s all happening on 23 June; more details at Bicycle Ball

It has been a bit of John Peel fortnight. Firstly, I got a call from a Shelia Ravenscroft regarding some tickets I had inquired about weeks ago. As the gig I wanted to go to had sold out in a matter of days, I had forgotten that I had left my number with the box office. On snapping up the tickets that had suddenly been found, and putting the phone down, Claire informed me that Shelia was in fact The Pig, as John Peel affectionately referred to his wife when broadcasting.

The tickets were to see Billy Bragg play Woody Guthrie songs at the newly formed John Peel Centre for Creative Arts in Stowmarket. It was a great evening, and as much a lecture about the life and times of Woody Guthrie as it was a concert. Bragg was in fine voice, and having seen him perform three time in the last 3 years, twice within a year, I can definitely state he is a better performer under a Tory government than he was under Gordon Brown’s administration. John Peel would have loved it.

The Centre itself holds a lot of promise. Still in development, the old Corn Exchange has only recently had accessible toilets plumbed in. As the Centre’s committee raise more money, they plan to put in a mezzanine floor for a cafe and rehearsal space for local bands, which will also help to improve the acoustics, as the roof is somewhat cavernous, albeit beautifully so.

My second brush with the man came when the archiving of John Peel’s record collection was announced. Initially focussing on vinyl LPs, this excited me no end, (despite meaning that the 7″ single I feature on that he played on his evening show in 1992 won’t be included). The mammoth task of alphabetically uploading 100 albums a week is a daunting one and I’m amazed they did all the ‘A’s in one go, expecting there to be more in his collection. However, it looks like the ‘B’s may take a little longer.

Disappointingly, the only tracks you can listen to are linked to Spotify, meaning that if you were hoping to hear again some obscure German techno artist you first heard on a Tuesday evening in 2001, you will probably be sorely disappointed. More exciting though, from the perspective of graphic design, is that all album artwork has been scanned, including inner sleeves. Unfortunately there isn’t a zoom function, which is frustrating, and the site works better on a desktop computer than on an iPad, but I feel churlish to complain too much considering that this historic document wouldn’t otherwise be accessible in any format.

My one big grumble though, is that the release dates of each disc aren’t featured.

For anyone who listened to John Peel’s late night shows, (or for a period in the 90s, his Saturday afternoon show), this will prove to be an enticing trip down memory lane. And as if to prove the point, David Stubbs’ trawl through the first 100 records in the collection, along with YouTube clips, is well worth a read over on Quietus.

And lastly, my final brush with Peel this week was on visiting some friends last night who were listening to Tom Ravencroft’s 6music show, on iPlayer, meaning it was one week old. It is kind of odd hearing old news repeated as if it were just breaking, especially the announcement of Adam Yauch’s death at regular intervals. I didn’t find out about Yauch’s death when it was announced last Friday evening, because that was when I was at the John Peel Centre listening to Billy Bragg. So last night I witnessed John Peel’s son, who’s voice and intonation spookily sound like that of his father’s, announcing the death of someone from a week ago, when I had actually been at his Dad’s legacy with his mother in the audience!

Strange, talk about augmented reality.

The Comic Sans dropping through my letter box appears to have eased for the time being, only to be replaced by gradients! All in aid of some woman’s diamond jubilee, and my neighbours trying to convince me to attend a street party in her honour via the medium of Word Art on A4. There’s going to be hog roast, a band, a 60s–80s discotheque, and people are being encouraged to wear red, white and blue!

As a republican and a graphic designer, I’m not sure what I object to most, the noxious event happening across the street from where I live, or the crap graphics coming through my letterbox! If this was only to be an afternoon event, then I could just make sure I take the dog out for a very long walk. However, as this is obviously going to be going on well into the evening—and knowing some of my neighbours, the small hours of the night—then I’m not sure I won’t do something rash. Maybe I should start believing in an interventionist god, then I can at least pray for rain.

There has been much said over the last couple of days about the sad death of Adam Yauch. What I have to offer is inconsequential, so I will keep it short, although I could say much.

I have followed the Beastie Boys since I first bought Licensed to Ill in 1986 as a Christmas or Birthday present for my brother—at his request, I’d never heard of them—and gave it a spin before I wrapped it up. From that moment, they continued to broaden and redefine my music tastes. There was almost no (popular) musical genre they wouldn’t attempt, either outright, or to try and fold it into their own aesthetic. I was lucky enough to get to see them live at Brixton Academy on the Ill Communications tour, and since that day they have remained the most exciting live band I have ever seen. I owe them a massive debt of gratitude.


Adam Yauch obituary in the Guardian

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