Liverpool 8 against apartheid

31 years ago today, Nelson Mandela was released from prison. In 1990 the world was a very different place; I was not long into my first job and aggrieved about local and global injustices. I’d just ‘come out’, discovered animal rights and gone vegetarian, there was an unequal age of consent, the AIDS pandemic was raging and Liverpool was just …

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Hope and resistance

At the start of 2020, Soft Octopus Design Studio was commissioned by Liverpool Hope University to work on a collaboration with Tate Liverpool. Titled Hope and Resistance, the exhibition’s aim was to present the artefacts, stories and artwork of young people living on the Palestinian West Bank who had responded to the question – What do you want to tell the …

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Episode 15 – Simon Halfon

This episode is an audio supplement to a six-page Pop Art feature I wrote for Classic Pop magazine, issue 27, published February/March 2017. This issue of the magazine is now out of print but it is available to purchase in digital format from: https://pocketmags.com/classic-pop-magazine/febmar-17 From the horse’s mouth, or the designers website: Simon Halfon has been designing artwork since the …

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Episode 12 – Bob Linney

This episode is an audio supplement to a six-page Pop Art feature I wrote for Classic Pop magazine, issue 13, published October/November 2014. This issue of the magazine is now out of print but it is available to purchase in digital format from: https://pocketmags.com/classic-pop-magazine/octnov-2014 In the podcast I interview artist and designer, Bob Linney about his record sleeve artwork for …

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Going viral

2020 hasn’t been quite the happy new year that we all wished each other just three months ago, has it? With floods verging on biblical, the realisation that Brexit is a sad reality and now a public health crisis to contend with, can things get any worse? Sadly I fear they can. Back in the eighties when I was designing …

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Episode 10 – The Cloth

This episode is an audio supplement to Classic Pop magazine, issue 4, published May/June 2013. In this podcast I interview artist, Fraser Taylor, who was part of a design collective called The Cloth (1983-1987).

Fraser was one quarter of The Cloth along with David Band, Helen Manning and Brian Bolger. The art of Fraser Taylor and David Band featured on many record sleeves in the early eighties, most notably for Spandau Ballet, Altered Images, Aztec Camera and The Bluebells. Music from these artists and others is included in the episode along with archive interview content from Gary Kemp and David Band.

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The punishment of luxury

I like it when my joint worlds of art, design and music collide. It’s a collision of the nicest kind…

Last year, one of my favourite bands, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) released a new album. They’ve been at it now since the late seventies and The Punishment of Luxury is their 13th studio album. The album’s title was inspired by a painting that I’m familiar with from my many recreational and business-related visits to Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery.

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